Luke Martin on storytelling, the allure of vintage and bold silhouettes
In such a saturated and heavily contested space within the menswear world, it’s hard to find your niche and develop a visual language to go along with it. This is something that Luke Martin has been able to carve out for himself, with a sense of style that harmoniously blends old and new, and with a photographic aesthetic that reveals the desired emotions. He recently introduced our Original Belt in Walnut Brown into his wardrobe and answered a few questions for us.
Hey Luke, thanks for taking part in this. Can you tell us a little about yourself, please?
Absolutely, I am a 29-year-old agency owner and photographer (of sorts), my marketing work focuses on SMEs, helping them grow and progress in an ever-changing and competitive business world. Whereas my photography work focuses on working with larger businesses and their social media content, creating stories around their brands and products. In addition to the above, I run my own social account which shows people a slice of my lifestyle.
Storytelling is the main factor in what you do as a creative. In your opinion, what makes a good story and how do you go about creating one?
To me, a story is all about the journey and please excuse the cliche! I feel it’s important to find a narrative around a subject and build a journey around that subject which consequently creates your story, with an introduction, a middle and the end… a comforting conclusion.
With your line of work, you’ve gone on many exciting trips with brands. Can you pick out a favourite for us?
A couple of weeks ago I had a pretty exciting trip to Barcelona with Citroën to test drive their new Plug-in Hybrid, however, one of my first and favourite trips was to the Devon coast with Talisker Whiskey and IGO Adventures and some pretty influential people. We took part in a coastal challenge of an 11km coastal run, open water swimming, military fitness training and plenty of whiskey.
How would you describe your photography aesthetic and what’s your process when creating compelling imagery?
I still feel like a novice when it comes to photography, I am always watching other people and finding new things to learn but my approach is very clean and more recently focuses on the use of colours and emotion within images. As mentioned above, I want to tell a story with the photos I take. To do this, I heavily rely on planning and timing. Planning mood boards before shoots that I then memorise for shoot days, and the timing of the shoot often helps navigate the emotion and story.
Who are your creative and/or design heroes?
Personally, I wouldn’t say I have creative or design heroes, I like to note certain elements of different people that influence my way of thinking and my work. A few names off the top of my head are - Ouigi Theodore, Gauthier Borsarello, and Alex Lambrechts. It can be anything from how Ouigi ran 10 to 20 businesses before he established The Brooklyn Circus or Gauthier’s expertise in vintage and vision toward Fursac, the French fashion house he’s creative director at.
Moving toward menswear, how would you say that the landscape has changed in recent years?
I feel a lot has changed thanks to the pandemic. People have learnt to care a little less with an immaculate outfit as they’ve spent the past one to two years working from home. As soon as the office-work dynamic changes so do their ideas on ‘dressing the part’. As such, the menswear industry has had to cater to this and we’re seeing a great focus on working comfort. For example, the collaboration between Drakes and Aime Leon Dore by mixing tailoring with tracksuits.
My personal style has always opted for comfort first, so I feel like the menswear industry is now a bit closer to my ideal!
How do you go about curating a wardrobe? You invest in a lot of vintage clothing, particularly military, why is that?
I have always had a fascination with the military, from reading books and watching films or documentaries to going on a motorbike trip around the French war graves and visiting my great grandfather’s grave. From this and my interest in menswear stemmed an interest in vintage and military clothing. Not just the stories to be told with each piece but the practicality and technical designs of the pieces.
So when curating my wardrobe, I focus on comfort, practicality and well-designed pieces. From this, I’m able to find a good level between modern and vintage.
How would you describe your sense of style and how has it evolved in the last two years?
It’s hard to describe my sense of style but I guess practical and well designed. I haven’t been in the menswear space for very long and feel it’s been a slow journey to identify my sense of style. As such, over the past two years, my style has shifted from heavy denim and slightly more commercial focused to a more curated and considered approach.
What are some ways in which menswear brands can be more socially and environmentally responsible?
Transparency is probably the most obvious, ensuring they market their sustainable efforts. Brands should also place importance on their customers having to buy less but buying better. Investing in quality pieces goes a lot further and it’s important to talk about. They should also consider loan samples. I know a few brands are already doing this but it’s a good way to limit mass production.
What does good design look and feel like to you?
For me, good design is built on textures and bold silhouettes. I like to wear products that are physically durable and reliable. Products that are built well, made to last, and effortlessly fit into my lifestyle.
What does Made in England mean to you?
Heritage comes to mind when I think of Made in England. We are a very proud country and the brands that manufacture in England often have well-crafted products and a history behind them.
What were your first impressions when you received your Awling belt?
I was chuffed when I received my Awling belt. I am pretty selective with my accessories and the only other brown belt I own, I have worn to the point of deformation. So it's refreshing to receive a product of such a high quality that I know will last.
How are you going to be styling your Awling belt going forward?
The Original belts from Awling are very universal and I’m able to match it with pretty much anything. When selecting a look, I tend to stick with either a navy or earth-tone colour palette and my walnut belt will effortlessly fit into that.
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