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Oliver Proudlock is full of surprises. Dismantling the myth of the reality TV stereotype one project at a time, he’s an entrepreneur, designer, model and social media star, depending on what day of the week it is.
But, while Proudlock undoubtedly has many strings to his bow, men’s fashion is where his interests predominantly lie. Now a regular face on the London menswear scene at events and fashion weeks, his individual brand of dressing is hard to miss.
It’s a lazy observation but Made In Chelsea, the reality TV show that first catapulted him to public attention, is a parade of posh boys in popped collars. Proudlock stands out because he doesn’t go for the chinos-and-executive-collar uniform. He dares to do something different.
His style is a mix of streetwear and menswear staples. Distressed denim, printed shirts, statement outerwear and eye-catching accessories all play a part, and while the look seems international, it’s grounded in the Londoner’s own interpretation of classic British style.
He enjoys taking the traditional and dragging it into the 21st century, whether that’s the signet rings he designs for his own brand or the eccentric tailoring he goes for when the dress code demands: eccentric, often colourful suits, but immaculately made by the likes of London tailor Joshua Kane.
More than a clothes horse, Proudlock’s own brand Serge DeNimes has gone from strength to strength, attempting to tackle men’s collective chronic aversion to jewellery.
And now, in an exclusive shoot, we took this modern-day renaissance man and styled him in the best British design out there today (with a bit Ralph Lauren thrown in for good measure) and picked his brains about everything fashion, fitness and grooming.
FashionBeans: What does a typical day in your life look like?
Oliver Proudlock: Every day is very different. One thing I always try to keep unchanged is my fitness routine. After, I tend to split my time working on my fashion brand, as well as my own personal brand.
When I’m working on Serge, a typical day would involve a full day working in the studio with my team. We are always designing new collections, planning shoots, marketing and organising future collaborations.
Outside of Serge, I run my blog ProudlockStyle, my YouTube channel and work with fitness, fashion and lifestyle brands daily. It’s pretty full on but that means it’s hard for me to pinpoint a typical day, which I find so stimulating.
How did you start Serge DeNimes?
It was always my dream growing up to become either an artist or have my own fashion brand. I did a course at Central Saint Martins, before going to Newcastle University to complete my BA in fine art. I loved and still love painting. However, it was my love for fashion that shone through in the end.
I set up Serge DeNimes in June 2011 with the idea of creating a small collection of T-shirts that were not only the perfect fit, but also featured cool, interesting graphic designs. The T-shirts were Pima cotton, and the images for the first collection were taken from my mother’s book Carnival in Rio ’78. It’s a city that has always inspired me creatively.
The bigger dream with Serge was to eventually focus on jewellery. Seven years on the brand offers jersey and denim apparel, but our main focus is very much men’s jewellery.
Where do you find your design inspiration?
I have always said my inspiration comes from my immediate surroundings. I spend most of my time at home in London, where the street style scene is always evolving and incredibly eclectic. I am lucky to call such a dynamic city my home.
What are your favourite British brands?
There are a few brands that really stand out for me at the moment. I’d say Oliver Spencer, Christopher Raeburn and Burberry. I’ve always been a big fan of Christopher Raeburn, but it’s especially cool to see the brand dominating the sustainability conversation.
When it comes to uniquely British brands, Burberry is an obvious choice; it has so much history, but there have also been so many different stages in its evolution.
Oliver Spencer is another favourite, as I’ve gotten older I’ve become more mindful of buying classic pieces made from the best materials which the brand does really well.
Is there any advice that you would give to men who are unfamiliar with wearing jewellery?
A necklace or a signet ring are always good starting points, use these as your everyday pieces and then once you get more confident, layer up with other items and mix up different metals. Jewellery can really complete a look and give it individuality.
How would you describe your style?
I would say my style is laid-back and eclectic, with a hint of the ‘90s thrown in. Denim is always a staple for me. My mum loved dressing me in not just double denim but quadruple denim when I was younger, so it’s something that’s just stuck with me ever since.
Other than that, I like to mix high street and designer pieces, which people find quite surprising but it means you get quite a varied look.
Which current trends are you most excited by?
I’m loving the move back to tailoring and generally a more elegant way of dressing. I’m a big fan of suits that are loud and accentuated in their cut and design. In particular Joshua Kane suits are a go-to.
With menswear’s current love of wider lapels and old prints, I try to keep things classic but modern, so I’ll wear an open shirt with my suits then layer on necklaces and rings, adding high boots rather than traditional formal shoes to finish the look.
What are some style tips that should every man live by?
Definitely wear what makes you feel comfortable, as comfort will always lead to confidence. This could be a three-piece suit, or for others a tracksuit, it doesn’t matter.
I always build my look around one piece too, whether that’s a really cool bomber or blazer that I love. Once you have one item, use that as your epicentre and the rest should fall into place naturally.
You’re pretty committed to the gym, what’s the best advice that you would give?
I train five days a week: four days of strength training and one day of doing cardio or HIIT. I always train first thing in the morning at 6am, it sets me up for the day and releases the endorphins, so I am ready to attack the day ahead.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different, so do what makes you feel good. For recovery, I swear by BCAAS [supplements to boost muscle growth and enhance exercise performance], and just make sure you refuel your body with the correct nutrition.
How do you stay well-groomed?
Like most guys, I like to keep my grooming regime quick but effective. One thing I swear by is saunas, followed by ice cold showers.
In terms of products, I use a No. 7 face moisturiser for normal/dry skin. It has SPF15, which is important for me as I spend a lot of time outdoors. Then I use Palmers Cocoa Butter lotion on my body and finish with some Jo Malone English Oak cologne.
What are your plans for the future?
I have some exciting projects coming up throughout the year, including collaborations with brands that I have always wanted to work with. I’m really excited to start wholesaling Serge DeNimes jewellery worldwide too. We already have some exciting accounts launching this year in and outside of the UK.
Personally, I’m very excited to start filming the second season of my home renovation show From Crib to Casa with my fiancé, which will be airing on our YouTube channel The Proudlocks in March. I also have just started a new venture, a sake brand called Four Fox Sake. However, above everything, I am most excited to marry my soul mate Emma Louise Connolly in Summer 2020.
Get The Look
Photography by Will Bremridge
Styling and Art Direction by Luke Sampson
Hair and Make-Up by Shauna Taggart
Look 1: T-shirt, Derek Rose; trousers, Oliver Spencer, jewellery, Serge DeNimes
Look 2: Coat, Oliver Spencer; knitted polo shirt, King & Tuckfield, trousers, Oliver Spencer; shoes, Dr Martens; jewellery, Serge DeNimes
Look 3: Shirt, Basic Rights; trousers, Basic Rights, jewellery, Serge DeNimes
Look 4: Coat, Reiss; V-Neck sweater, Ralph Lauren; trousers, Reiss; shoes, Ralph Lauren; jewellery, Serge DeNimes
Look 5: Cricket jumper, Kent & Curwen; trousers, Oliver Spencer, jewellery, Serge DeNimes
Look 6: Shirt, Reiss; undershirt, King & Tuckfield; trousers, Oliver Spencer; shoes, Dr Martens