I met Khaled in Florence, at my first visit to Pitti Uomo. It was an overwhelming first day as I battled fatigue, delayed baggage and press registration. As I stood quietly observing the congregations by the wall, I could see Khaled's presence being felt as countless people approached him. I wasn't in the frame of mind to work the crowds but I saw my opening and took advantage, seeing as I may not get the chance again. We spoke very briefly, due to his commitments, but his demeanor made you feel very comfortable - a form of elegance not to be forgotten. We met again over the course of the week but in brief moments, unable to find time to chat due to the whirlwind events and meetings both of us were engaged in. We finally did have our chat recently, long after the dust settled from Pitti 89.
Your thoughts on being an influencer?
It's easy to label oneself an "influencer" these days, partly because of the number of followers you may have or how many likes you can garner off your posts on social media. This may mean a lot to a few and absolutely nothing to others - it's about perception after all. To truly understand who an influencer is, I feel one must be influenced first - and in the right way. To that end, I don’t consider myself as one and dislike the term. If someone is influenced by what I wore and how I put an outfit together, than I of course appreciate that. To put it aptly, I'm simply a man with a love for bespoke and a style that has evolved through my experiences with people. It is the artisans who teach and influence through the remarkably creative products they make - not just the products themselves. I'm often asked about my suits and jackets and more often than not, I am wearing a Sciamat commission - a sartorial house that has influenced my style a great deal.
Tell us a bit about Sciamat?
I saw one of their suits in a promotional email and it was love at first sight. The jacket was perfectly proportioned and aggressively cut, with a beautiful silhouette. This is the style I'd always been looking for in a suit and I wanted it, so I got in touch with Nicola, one of the founding partners and ordered my first piece, a green notch lapel blazer. I would later meet him in Florence at Pitti Uomo, along with his brother Valentino. Both brothers have a unique and focused idea of what tailoring is, which I understood and connected with so naturally.
Sciamat's tailoring really drew me in. It's not to say that other Ateliers don't make a great product - they absolutely do. I've worn Kiton, Attolini and Orazio Luciano and I'm still honored to wear them but Sciamat checks off all the boxes for that jacket I always wanted. It honestly comes down to personal preference in the end and even though each of the ateliers above make truly masterful products, Sciamat had an added flair and design features that worked well for my body - nothing like I have ever tried before. I love the aggressive tailoring that they do, with beautifully shaped large lapels showcasing intricate handwork along with zero canvassing yet draping so effortlessly. It's a special feeling when you first put it on, akin to a second skin literally.
Who are Sciamat?
Nicola and Valentino Ricci run Sciamat. Nicola is definitely the more extroverted of the two, often times openly marketing and exposing Sciamat to the world. His sartorial tastes are eclectic, with a show of patterns, colors and textures that I appreciate. Valentino is the behind-the-scenes conductor and not one for the spotlight. His style is very traditional and reserved, with navy's and grays dominating but still very classic and timeless, unique in his own right.
How did your relationship evolve into friendship?
We went out for dinner and spent hours endlessly talking and learning about each other. I felt an immediate bond with them as they told me more and more about the process behind their brand, their mentality and the dedication behind it all. Our love for fine tailoring really sparked the friendship and even more so, we discovered other shared passions - wine and travel. Not to mention, the mutual respect we had for each other helped the friendship evolve very naturally.
Describe your experience with Sciamat.
I loved the world-class wardrobe pieces they were creating for me on such a personal level, something they do for all their clients. One has to understand that the making of a bespoke item is very personal. The atelier wants to get to know you, understand who you are, what you like, where you live and what you do. This is a natural process when you meet for fittings and you just get to know each other, by building a solid relationship. As you go through the process, you develop an attachment to the product and an atelier should never push or create an environment where you feel obligated to buy, something I feel Sciamat truly understands and is inherently in their DNA. They are extremely professional and put their heart and soul into what they do, with the best of intentions so that their clients are happy with their purchases.
A suit is not something that is simply purchased without care, it truly is a thought-out process from the choice of fabric, lapel, buttons and so on. In addition, their choice of fabrics is second to none and they're not afraid to search out unique and vintage pieces to make a one-off works of art. It's that mentality that constantly keeps me surprised at what they come up with.
How have you been influenced by Sciamat?
I am constantly inspired and influenced by Sciamat as well as all others who create unique bespoke pieces with respect to tradition. I am fascinated with artisans who always dare to push boundaries and this challenges me to try new things constantly and evolve my own style. It's my intention to show, not only Sciamat, but the traditions of bespoke in the best light and for others to be inspired, just like I was.