An Interview With Matthew Zorpas

Upcoming face of Gucci says travelling makes him tipsy and that picking strawberries is the perfect retirement plan. 

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'Fashion excites me. What excites me is the part where I wake up in the morning and stand in front of the mirror, buttoning up my white shirt, doing my tie up and putting one of my twenty suits together.'

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Tuck Muntabhorn: So Matthew, what are you wearing today?
Matthew Zorpas: I'm mostly wearing high street fashion today. I'm wearing a coat from João Pimenta, a suit from Reiss, a shirt that is custom-made in Shanghai, a tie from Cos, shoes from Z Zegna and a watch from Toy Watch; very international.

TM: Tell me about the past five years of your life?
MZ: I'm originally from Cyprus, I came to London six years ago to study public relations, so I did my BA in PR at London College of Communication, and then I did my masters in Global Media and Communication at LSE. Afterwards, I started working for the British Fashion Council as a Press Assistant before moving to Vivienne Westwood, and then Saatchi and Saatchi. So I'm more into the business side of fashion. Later on, everything was going downhill in London as the recession started. It was a difficult time for young designers who couldn't secure jobs, and so I decided to set up as a freelancer. I started to support young designers here in London by discovering and wearing their designs during London Fashion Week and slowly started building Matthew Zorpas as a brand. In 2010, Esquire UK named me as the second best-dressed man in Britain and around 6 months ago I launched The Gentleman Blogger. Now I'm currently working as a Creative Consultant and I'm also a lecturer at Istituto Marangoni.

TM: It's nice of you to help young designers, what do you get out of helping them?
MZ: I think it's the satisfaction of helping someone, seeing young designers doing really well and getting people to realise their potential.

TM: How does fashion make you feel as a person?
MZ: Fashion excites me. What excites me is the part where I wake up in the morning and stand in front of the mirror, buttoning up my white shirt, doing my tie up and putting one of my twenty suits together. It refreshes me and creates energy for me to start my day.

TM: Sum up your personal style in three words?
MZ: Sharp, clean and classy.

TM: What's your best fashion moment?
MZ: As I was entering Somerset House for one of the London Fashion Week shows, a street style photographer stopped me to take a photo. As soon as he stopped me, another fifty of them came! I was wearing a Liria Pristine cape and a suit underneath.

TM: Do you have a signature drink?
MZ: Amaretto Sour, very classy and very old!

TM: When did you last get drunk?
MZ: I've never been drunk in my life. I don't take drugs and I don't drink too much. I believe that people get drunk to relax and escape reality, whereas I like to face reality.  Although, I like to travel to relax, which makes me tipsy in my own way.

TM: In that case, where do you like to travel and what do you pack in your suitcase?
MZ: My favourite place on Earth this year was Rio. I think the city is beautiful and the people were amazing and the energy was right for me, and hopefully I will be moving there in 2015. I packed 5 suits, which was a mistake for Rio as it was 40 degrees. I ended up having to wear my black or white t-shirts I sleep in and my swimming shorts!

TM: What do you wear on your night outs?
MZ: Suits! I just change a tie or a handkerchief.

TM: What do you wear on a night in?
MZ: I have no casual clothes, things have kind of disappeared over the years. I take off my jacket and wear a white shirt and suit trousers.

TM: What do you wear to the gym? What trainers do you wear?
MZ: I'm not a big fan of the gym. When I start a membership, I tend to cancel it. When I go, I'm always wearing full black or white, no logos, nothing - just plain. I show that I'm new to the gym. I wear my black converse as trainers as that's the only thing I can find in my wardrobe!

TM: Do you have any tattoos or piercings, or have you considered getting any?
MZ: I have two tattoos, one that was recently done in Brazil. The one on my arm was done by my best friend in Cyprus with the phrase 'Quis custodiet ipso custodes?’ which means 'Who will guard the guards?’ - a quote from Plato. This is surrounded by different patterns of the Acropolis of Athens. The second one is 'Made in Brazil' which is on my right leg.

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TM: How has your title as Britain's second best-dressed man affected you?
MZ: The title was a big deal for me because I knew the business side of fashion. Since I graduated in PR, I knew how to make the title mainstream. The right people approached me and I was constantly being interviewed. I had lots of friends in the media that helped me pushed my story, which has helped my career.

TM: Why do you think you came second?
MZ: I'm not British!

TM: Women are usually more pleased to get such an award, but men in the UK are supposed to not care about such an award, what are your thoughts about this?
MZ: I would say it is shifting the other way around. In London, more men are dressing up and taking care of themselves and the opposite is happening to women. More women are exposed to high-street stores and many are beginning to believe a cheap dress looks good on them.

TM: Some menswear designers have been putting women on the runway, what are your thoughts on cross-dressing?
MZ: I think it is an expression of culture and designers are driven by this change in culture; it is no longer womenswear or menswear.

TM: What do you think about men in skirts? Would you consider wearing one?
MZ: Yes! I have worn a kilt twice, one for New Year's. I will also be wearing a long skirt for The Gentleman Blogger soon.

TM: Why do women ask men for fashion advice?
MZ: Women are exposed to so many ideas among themselves and the message of what they should wear is lost. Men direct women back on track by telling them whether what they're wearing looks good on them.

TM: Have you had any negative comments from the press or people due to your success?
MZ: Sometimes people criticise me on The Gentleman Blogger and sometimes you hear gossips and stories. I think it's all part of the journey and at the end of the day it's my journey.

TM: Do people think you're vain?
MZ: I don't think people think I'm vain, I try not to give an attitude. Outsiders seeing me for the first time may think I'm vain, but people who know me and follow my blog will not define me as vain.

TM: What was your time in Cyprus like before you moved to London?
MZ: I had a happy childhood in Cyprus and I also spent two years in the Military. Sometimes I feel that my time in Cyprus was a waste of time since it is a very conservative country in terms of fashion, but I didn't realise this when I was there because I was in this conservative bubble and didn't know what was out there.

TM: You were in a uniform during your entire service in the army, did this constrain you in any way?
MZ: Since I was in this bubble I didn't feel constrained. I didn't have a desire to wear something like a skirt for example, because I simply didn't know men wore skirts. The Internet wasn't something I accessed years ago.

TM: What are your fashion rules?
MZ: My fashion rules keep changing in terms of my expression. But the one that remains is to always keep a clean white shirt.

TM: Where will you retire and what will you be wearing?
MZ: I would like to retire by these fields in Belgium where you spend the day picking strawberries. Hopefully, I still have my entire wardrobe and the body to wear the same suits. I'll be an old man in a suit with grey beard and hair, picking strawberries.

TM: What would you wear on your last day on Earth?
MZ: What I wear everyday. I'll open up my wardrobe, pick up my white shirt and wear a suit that I love. I will not plan my final day.

TM: I recently came across your interview for Stylelikeu, where you wore garments from young designers such as a silver beaded Marios Alexander shirt and a leather Pietro Franch top, why have you moved away from these cutting-edge styles on your posts on The Gentleman Blogger?
MZ: I don't think I'm moving away from them, I just think I'm softening my look down but still engaging elements of their designs to my look today. Before it used to be very unique to wear designs from young designers, as the industry was new to it. When you enter Somerset House, you were spotted to be wearing something different, something which is not a suit and people were interested in you. Then Lady Gaga comes along, and along with that comes a scene of young people who are trying too hard to look like Lady Gaga by breaking limits and pushing boundaries. A season after Lady Gaga, everyone at Somerset House was dressed up in this way.  It was also a shift in my energy and mood, which moved me to sharp, clean and classy suits.

TM: Finally, what upcoming projects do you have?
MZ: In May I'm launching a book about fashion and tourism. In March, I'm collaborating with Spiros Halaris, a graphic designer. We are launching limited edition handkerchiefs which will go live on The Gentleman Blogger and on sale in March, twenty of them will be produced in five different designs. I will also be the face of Stella Artois, the beer, which should be out at the end of February or the start of March. Lastly, I will be launching loafers with Gucci on the 12th of March and be a part of their international campaign. Gucci will be celebrating fifty years of their loafers and I will be representing the UK as one of the ten influencers around the world.

 

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www.thegentlemanblogger.com

Photography: Claudiu Berechet