Worthy of Bond | Brands We'd Like to See James Bond Wear

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What brands are synonymous with the cinematic James Bond? Typically they'd be British. They'd be handmade but ultimately, they'd be luxurious and denote quality. 

Today I want to talk about the brands Worthy of James Bond. I had a long chat with my friend Peter Brooker who has just launched a brand new website dedicated towards the style of James Bond, From Tailors With Love

He has also started a hashtag #worthyofbond highlighting brands he deems worthy of being in the franchise. Using brands from that Hashtag we cobbled a list together and welcome your thoughts and suggestions in the comment box below. 

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HEMINGSWORTH

A relative new comer to the fashion industry but already making some serious waves. Hemingsworth started making tailored swim shorts for gentleman looking to look stylish in and out of the pool. 

Manufactured and designed in the UK and of course modelled by my good friend Peter Brooker who surely must be in the running for a casting call by EON himself someday? 

Didn't Lazenby start out as an underwear model? 

SMYTHSON 

The heritage Bond Stationary and leather goods brand founded in 1887. Influential figures from Sigmund Freud to Sir Winston Churchill, recognised the timeless purity of their goods so why not add Bond to that list. 

Bond has used Louis Vuitton luggage before when he visited Chateau Chantilly in A View to a Kill. More recently he carries a Globe-Trotter Original Brown suitcase in SPECTRE.

I think Bond could mix it up a little. Surely a man with as many stamps in his passport as Bond would have some back-up luggage for worst case scenarios. 

LONDON SOCK CO 

As worn by Daniel Craig so I'm lead to believe. You may have also heard me wax lyrical about the London Sock Co company in a previous article on my blog. 

It's a great gifting item because you can record a 60 second video (displayed within the box) that will make you feel like a super spy. 

OLIVER SPENCER 

Oliver Spencer offers great casual wear, and features UK design with around 40% of the collection is made in England. I think Bond would have championed his plucky spirit, abandoning his education in favour of opening a stall at Portobello Market. The kind of entrepreneurial spirit on which this country was founded. 

HAWKINS AND SHEPHERD 

And lastly but leastly! Whilst we're talking about entrepreneurial spirit. Whilst we're talking luxury and British design? My Hawkins & Shepherd shirts are made of the finest quality cotton. With some of my new range being a mix of cashmere and cotton. 

I do a range of Tab Collar shirts, a look favoured by Daniel Craig in the photos we saw when Prince Charles went to visit him at the Pinewood Studios. Make sure to check out the video I did with my friend and co-host of the From Tailors With Love podcast Pete Brooker on what makes a quality shirt. (You might find an amazing discount code tucked away in the show notes). 

Outfit of the Day | Smart Tailoring

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For anyone looking to get into smart tailoring, take a look at the following combination that I'm currently enjoying. I was recently asked in an interview by Vuelio for my favourite go-to outfit and I instantly gravitated towards this. 

The flannel double breasted suit is from Suit Supply and I've had this in my locker for close to 4 years now. It's a flannel wool so has that nice texture to it. Close up you can see it's almost a marl sky blue, with some fleck which from a distance gives it that two tone look. 

It's double breasted but I like to wear it open. Because the jacket is reasonably short, almost like a peacoat, and the fabric is light it drapes well open. When it's closed it's a 2x6 construction and I have the sleeves cut to a modern length so the cuffs can pull through. 

The shirt is one of my own, a Hawkins & Shepherd Blue Stripe Luxury Shirt made from 100%c Soyella Duecento cotton. The cuffs you can see are mitred which gives it a little extra. I love how the blues marry between the shirt and the suit jacket. 

I've kept the pattern on the tie simple so not to interrupt the visuals. A Deep silk navy polka dot tie done in a four in hand. 

It's a look that you can pull off in client meetings, event dinners or even on first dates. I wouldn't personally wear it on a first date as it looks more business than smart casual. Depending on the setting of course. 

I've also modernised the look by wearing ankle socks. This shows off the tailoring of the trouser and breaks up the darkness. You could even where light or stone coloured khakis with this double breasted jacket for a nautical look. I once toyed with the idea of changing the buttons over to brass, but never got round to it. 

Someday maybe. 

SHOP THE LOOK

Outfit of the Day | My Signature Autumnal Style

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What is your go-to Autumn outfit? If you're looking down the road once we pass the summer heatwave for some Autumn menswear ideas then here is my signature look. 

The 'blogger approved' key to layering articles will be hitting your feeds very shortly. I'm looking to get out in front with this look. 

First it's the Hawkins & Shepherd Camel Cashmere coat, currently half price on the website. This coat has been a staple piece in my Autumn wardrobe for the past three years. It's interchangeable, it's light and it's perfect for those slightly chilly months on the run up to Winter. 

Underneath I'm rocking a faded denim shirt by Zara. This brings out a wonderful contrast, not only colour but in texture. The shirt has the worn in look, whilst the coat looks brand new (although it's three years old).

The Autumn look has to have something earthy, something honest. The black Superdry jeans and tee, are fairly run of the mill but keeps the look clean. 

I do have distressed jeans, knee blow outs and honeycomb stacks, but that would have been too much of a clash, I didn't want anything to break the lines of this aesthetic. It may look simple, but it's a classy look. 

Take a look at the watch. It's a Rotary GMT Henley with the red/blue Pepsi Cola bezel. The chain strap gives it the verisimilitude of a dress watch, which upgrades the entire look. Same with the Ray-Bans. 

Let me finish by waxing lyrical about these Dr Martens. Don't they look supreme? They are the Cherry Red Vegan 1460's Boot and unlike most men’s boots, don't need to be worn in. Normally I like to hire one of my lackeys to break in my boots for me to save the blisters. (Only joking). 

They are currently available for £130 and I can't recommend them enough. The colour is tailor made for autumn wear and they bring a real classy yet street finish-vibe to my Autumn look. 



SHOP THE LOOK

 

Hawkins & Shepherd Celebrates its 6th Year | A look into their future plans

Today I mark the 6th year anniversary of Hawkins & Shepherd. I want to thank many of my new and existing customers who not only support the brand, but reach out to me personally to thank me for the quality of service. 

The luxury shirtmaking industry is a fiercely competitive one. London has a great pedigree of manufacturing made to measure shirts, I'm humbled and proud to align myself (dare I say) with some of the marquee names such as Emma Willis, New & Lingwood, Turnbull & Asser etc. 

Whilst I might not have quite the history of some of these notorious ateliers, I've been inspired by their commitment to quality. As Hawkins & Shepherd continues to grow I want to give you some tiny insights into what lies in store for Hawkins & Shepherd. 

Sustainability. I'm currently looking into different fabrics that can provide a more eco-friendly alternative to cotton. The eco-textile market is an ever shape-shifting landscape and it's very much early days, but I can tell you I'm currently keeping an eye on reports out of Finland on a fabric called Ioncell that's derived from birch trees. 

The website will be getting an overhaul to enable a more slick user experience. I'm currently in talks with 3 developers that will help bring my vision to reality.  

I'm also looking to offer more style advice on what to wear for formal occasions. As you may have seen in recent weeks I've had the pleasure and privilege to be invited to some of the most prestigious events in the country such as Ascot, Goodwood and Henley

I don't want anyone to be floundered at what to wear to these events. DM me or comment below for any advice, more than happy to help. 

I've also teamed up with some other mens fashion influencers to offer unique discount codes on some of my shirts. I don't want to give too much away at this point but stay tuned James Bond fans! 

All these ideas I'm implementing to help strengthen my position in the luxury shirt market. As well as constantly releasing new seasons collections such as the New Cashmerello range, I'm also in the throes of recording 'versus' YouTube videos, pitching my shirts against other high street brands. 

If you're interested in knowing what makes a luxury shirt and the differences you should be looking out for, please check a previous post on The Perfect Shirt

The Perfect Shirt | Top 5 Ways to Know if You’re Buying a Luxury Shirt

Today I’m going to give you 5 things that make the difference on a luxury dress shirt. I’ve been running Hawkins & Shepherd for around 6 years now and have acquired a lot of knowledge and experience in the shirt making industry. Here are some things that I look out for immediately when determining the quality of a shirt.

THE COLLAR

The collar on a man’s dress shirt needs to be high quality. The first thing I look for is edge stitching. What is edge stitching? This is a term given when the stitching runs to the edge of the seam It’s harder to do as a tailor because there is less room for error so therefore it takes longer. It’s a technique that takes greater skill.

Most shirts will have quarter edge stitching.

Another thing to look out for on the collar is whether the collar is non-fused. There will be a lining in a collar that is sometimes fused to the fabric on one if not both sides. It’s a cheaper and quicker way to manufacture shirts. Sadly that adhesive used to fuse the collar can perish and react with the fabric over time and washes. You may have recognised a bubbling effect on your collars if you’re buying entry level shirts. To test whether you are buying a quality dress shirt you should be able to pull the fabric away from the lining on both sides. 

Lastly don’t forget about the removable collar stays. Entry level shirts will have them fused in which can be problematic when ironing. Plus ironing over plastic is not desirable and over time will leave nasty indentations on the collar.

STITCHING

Let’s talking about stitching on a dress shirt. Stitching is the most expensive part when it comes to manufacturing. Especially if the shirt is composed using single needle side seam stitching. (Try saying that after one too many Heinekens). A cheaper method of manufacturing is to use the double needle. But single needle leaves a beautiful finish.  

THE SPLIT YOKE  

The all-important split yoke. I’m talking about the block of fabric situated on the back of the shirt that sits over the shoulders. A split yolk means that 2 pieces of fabric lay over the shoulders. It fits better on the shoulders and there is more flow if you have a split yolk. If there is a pattern shirt then it’s more of a design aspect as to whether you chose to have a split yoke.

Personally I like a non-split yoke when its striped or checked. Watch for a split yoke on a lower quality shirt, quite often the patterns will not match up. 

FRONT PLACKET 

I love it clean no stitching. These might come down to personal preferences but there are certain features that will distinguish a luxury dress shirt.

The front placket should without question have mother of pearl buttons mother of pearl buttons, tightly sewn to the placket.

 Every buttonhole should be sewn vertically, apart from the bottom one. This needs to be sewn horizontally which will allow freedom of movement. The bottom button hole will often be the one that sees the most action and needs to flex with the body.  

Talking of movement, look at the gusset of the shirt. A well-constructed shirt will have the triangle area to allow for more movement. It also cleans the hem to a nice finish.

 Some shirts are over engineered with different fabric on the front. I personally don’t see this as a luxury choice. Just extra fuss and a distraction.

The fabric entry level for a luxury shirt will be a  cotton twin 100's. The higher you go up in the yarn count the finer is going to be and more often the softer. Lower yarn count like 40’s, 60’s will be a thicker fabric and not conducive for a dress shirt.

SLEEVES

It’s crucial that the shoulders line up pattern wise with the arms. Again there should be no fused linings in the cuff. I also look for a smaller button on the sleeve placket. I love double button cuff personally, but that it not deemed a feature of luxury, more tradition. If I have a sharp cut in the collar I would also look the same in the cuff, rounded cuffs and collar. 

The Oblique Life: The Ultimate London Community

Today I'm very pleased to announce the news that Hawkins & Shepherd are now on the Oblique Life platform. People that have subscribed to the Oblique Life membership can now enjoy 15% off Hawkins & Shepherd shirts. Let me tell you about the Oblique Life and why you should sign up. 

The Oblique Life is a lifestyle brand that receives access to an array of high-quality experiences, unique editorial content, and benefits from hand-selected partners. 

The Oblique Life was originally created around a shared vision of helping Londoners meet, connect and engage like they used to, before the days of dating apps and social media. 

London can feel quite all-encompassing sometimes. I can't remember the quote, maybe it was Pepys, but London was once referred to as being something and nothing to everyone at the same time. Meaning, London is your oyster. But it can be all encompassing too. Overwhelming. Disconnected. 

If your family is not in London you can feel like they're on the other side of the world. That's the London bubble effect. 

Life moves faster here. It's 6am starts. It's moving between the raindrops and rush hour on the tube. It's breakneck on foot and gridlock on all roads. 

Whether it’s an exclusive discount or a queue jump, complimentary tickets or special access, they have a commitment to customer service that mirrors the merits of my own brand. Personalisation. 

They have a concierge and lifestyle management service, which helps members save time on researching, planning, and booking, thus enabling them to spend more time doing the things they love. 

Like watching Love Island. Wait, what happened? I meant going to the National Gallery, and stuff. 

Members of The Oblique Life can access their Make It Happen (concierge) service 24/7 via the live chat built into The Oblique Life mobile app.

They organise over 150 experiences a year across all areas of lifestyle; Food & Drink, Music, Culture, Fashion, Travel, Health & Technology. 

How is Hawkins & Shepherd involved with The Oblique Life? 

Yes let me get to that now. Plenty of information is available over on the Oblique Life site about the experiences but here are some of the other benefits you can receive through the Oblique Life platform. 

As a member you'll be offered exclusive discounts with over 70 carefully selected partner brands. 

These include: Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour | 20% off drinks every day. Goat Chelsea | 20% off total bill every day. Little Yellow Door | 15% off total bill every day. Anami London | 20% off all treatments and packages. Elliot Rhodes | 15% off products in store. Appleyard Flowers | 20% off all bouquet deliveries. Laundrapp | 10% off Laundrapp services. 

The Oblique Life Digital Magazine is also an online lifestyle publication. (I'm sure you guys are already aware).

From in-depth editorials and curated guides to videos and podcasts, it's quite something that these guys are doing over there and I'm excited and honoured to be invited into the community.

They accept membership applications throughout the year. If you would like to apply, please visit the following URL to submit your online application: www.theobliquelife.com/apply

Introducing the Luxury Shirt Collection by Hawkins & Shepherd

Today I'm very excited to announce the launch of The Luxury Collection by Hawkins & Shepherd. It's been in the pipeline now for a long time. This collection of luxury shirts uses the finest fabrics in the world and the highest level of handmade shirt tailoring.

Within the collection I have two different kinds of luxury shirts; the Cashmerello shirt which is a luxurious blend of 15% Cashmere and 85% two fold 120's Swiss Cotton and the Soyella Duecento shirt which are a Two-ply 2/200 fabric.

Tell me what makes these shirts luxury?

Mens shirts have become something of an obsession for me. I have to have the best quality, the best fabric, the best cut. The finish on these London shirts are just beautiful. Look at the stitching on the collar, it's as close to the edge as you can get which denotes the quality.

Now look at the stitching on the collar of a Charles Tyrwhitt shirt. You can immediately see how safe the stitching is because they've brought the finish in at least 10ml from the collar edge.

Please note this is not an attack on Charles Tyrwhitt shirts. From online reviews they provide adequate shirts at an accessible price. I'm merely attempting to clarify and distinguish what makes my shirts superior and where the extra money is being spent.

The cuffs on both shirts are double buttoned only the Cashmerello shirt comes with curve edges, whilst the Soyella Duecento shirt features cut edges. Both are adorned with mother of pearl buttons.

For what occasions can I wear these luxury shirts? 

These are not dress shirts, the colours are not conducive to black tie events. Unless you buy them in white of course. However, men’s formal shirts are not quite as formal as they once were. With the advent of casual Friday and the up rise of men working from home, men are no longer restricted to wearing white shirts to the office. 

Luxury shirts brands such as Hawes and Curtis, Thomas Pink and Turnbull & Asser have also cottoned on to this (pardon the pun) with their recent capsules introducing dress-down collections. 

I'd recommend these UK shirts for most formal events. If you're looking to make a statement and want to feel confident when walking into a room. 

The Colours of Summer: Hawkins & Shepherd Spring Summer Pastels Collection

I'm taking a quick time out from the travel log and want to bring to your attention some new Spring/Summer Pastels available on the Hawkins & Shepherd site. 

We're emerging into that time of year when you start looking at your shirts and thinking they look a bit tired. They call it a Spring clean for a reason right? There's no better time to rejuvenate your wardrobe with a shirt subscription service through Hawkins & Shepherd

Current Shirt Trends 

For me I'm really trend-led. I do believe in producing quality timeless shirts that have a proven track record of not just fawning to flavour of the month clubs. 

I've intergraded some strong bold stripes and into the H&S Spring/Summer shirt range this year. Pink pastes and fresh colour palettes are also available. 

There is something for everyone not only in the varying types of colours, but the collars also come in curve tab, cutaway, pin collars etc. 

I'm very excited about this collection of ready to wear shirts. The fresh pastel colours for this Spring/Summer season is a reflection of where my head is at right now. Clean lines, positive radiant colours. 

I want these shirts to be worn with confidence. I want you to be bamboozled by the quality of these shirts. I want you to question why some shirt makers get to charge double the price for only half the end result. How some brands get to exist purely on their name. 

The pastel hues of pink, lilac, blue, mint etc, these are all neutral Spring/Summer colours that are interchangeable with staple garments you probably already own. Dark blue jeans, Navy blazer, the tan shoes etc. 

Spring/Summer sees the return of drinks by the river, smart-casual garden parties, the Henley Regatta, Race meetings, first dates in the beer garden and so on. We don't just want you to own one Spring/Summer shirt but have a modest collection on a revolving carousel. Take a look at the shirt subscription package to see how you can save money on upgrading your wardrobe.

You'll keep your friends and your work colleagues on their toes with how new and refreshed you look every time they see you. 

I've worked hard on the designs and it's taken time to bring the concept to market. I'd very much appreciate you leaving a comment on what your favourite Spring/Summer shirt is in the comment box below. 

https://www.hawkinsandshepherd.com/collections/spring-summer-collection

 

The Marc Darcy Look: Level up without breaking the bank

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Today I'm going to wax lyrical about the brand Marc Darcy. I've actually had an interesting relationship with Marc Darcy. We shared some floorspace at Moda Gent a few years back. (A trade show in Birmingham). 

The show was a great experience for me, showcasing my Hawkins & Shepherd shirts. I no longer do the show but I was invited back as a guest speaker to talk with the head of design at Marc Darcy. 

Cut/smash to a few years later and I'm still enjoying a great working relationship with Marc Darcy, modelling one of their ready-to-wear pin stripe suits as you'll see in these photos. 

This is the LEWIS Navy Blue Pinstripe Suit features a double button fastening to the front, single vent on the seat with two flap pockets on each hip with additional mini welt pocket to the right.

I'm wearing two different waistcoats. One is noticeably double breasted with two flap pockets to each hip. The other my personal favourite, a brown five button waistcoat. Yes I've done up all the buttons, they don't call me the Carl 'five button' Thompson for nothing you know. 

Marc Darcy is a fantastic, accessible brand for those that are interested in levelling up their wardrobe, but are a few financial steps away from Savile Row. 

For off the peg suits, I find the cut very flattering. I'm not your standard block size when it comes to trousers. Normally ready to wear trousers always need hemming no matter what. For some reason these come up perfect on me. I'm 31-32" waist, 5'9 and a bit. 

With every suit order you get a complimentary handkerchief coordinating to the inside lining and lapel pin badge to complete the look.

I'd say if you're getting married, or going to a wedding but can't afford Tom Ford prices. This is a perfect place to look for a wedding suit.

There's also an abundance of styles and patterns to choose from. Windowpane, over check, POW etc. Whether you're the guest or groom you'll have a lot of fun getting lost around the website. 

If you've shopped with Marc Darcy I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts in the box below.

Why You Need a Cashmere Coat in Your Lives

Today I want to talk about the emergence of Spring and the Hawkins and Shepherd Cashmere coats. It's one of the perks of owning a pirate ship, I get to call the shots. I get to promote my own brand if I want, so sue me! 

Wait don't. I looked into suing that nimrod(s) that wrote that Medium article the other month. It's a costly business. 

That aside let me give you 3 reasons why you need a Hawkins & Shepherd cashmere coat in your life.

1.     100% Cashmere. Quality guaranteed and the fabric is supplied by the renowned Harrisons of Edinburgh. You'll find an abundance of overcoats on the market currently. However, very few will be made from a fabric with this much quality.

If you're looking for a cheaper price point then expect to cut corners on quality like most things. It will more than likely be a synthetic blend, won't drape as well and won't be as soft to the touch. 

2.     100% customer service. I'm right here guys, very accessible if you have any problems with your product or delivery.

I won't be dropping names here but one of my best customers is an actor in Hollywood who reached out to me after ordering a quote. He was so happy with reaching out to a human being and having that one-on-one service that he has since ordered regularly through the site. 

As much as I'd love for Hawkins & Shepherd to become a monolith of an e-commerce site and make me rich beyond my wildest dreams, knowing my customers have access to me if they have any questions is very rewarding. 

3.     It's not quite summer yet! I know we have all enjoyed an awesome February so far, but don't be fooled. It's not quite bikini weather yet in London. The beauty of a cashmere coat is that it is light and can be worn throughout the Spring months. 

 They are also currently reduced to £800 and we have immediate stock. No time like the present and why not inject a new lease of life into your Spring wardrobe.


SHOP THE CASHMERE COLLECTION

 

It's Time to Talk About Carl

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I was made aware of the defamatory article anonymously and callously published on the medium.com website, which has named my e-commerce business Hawkins & Shepherd and myself personally amongst other businesses and influencers.

I'd like to take this opportunity to clear a few things that have circulated some social commentary since the article was published. It's been a very traumatic week for me personally having to be on the receiving end on what I consider to be a pernicious article, published on an open platform without approval or checks for authenticity.

It's been very tough keeping emotion out of this. Some of the scathing consistent attacks I would even categorise as cyber-bullying. I'll do a follow up article to this about that in due course.

Now I'm a 38 year old man. I've developed a thick skin and can rely on a certain muscle memory to get me through this kind of onslaught. I don't suffer from depression but I feel anxiety pangs like anyone else. 

When my phone pings, my heart races. I don't even want to look at my phone right now.

But some of the bloggers I've spoken to that are implicated in this article have only just turned 20. I've had private conversations with them who are on the verge of having a break down. 

Now I don't want to advocate for one second the flagrant use of ‘Insta fraud’ as it’s been labelled. I think the industry is on the mend. I think it's right to highlight where the regulations need to serve the industry better. I can speak about this because I have reformed. I used to follow and unfollow around two years ago but that's not my scene anymore. 

However, I think this article is more a personal attack, laden with spite, resentment, with a pernicious undercurrent and I want people to realise that we're still dealing with human beings.

People that share and retweet thinking they're throwing a spotlight on the issue of Instafraud, are actually sharing an article that was removed, with unfounded accusations from an anonymous source. It's cut deep into the people that are implicated, and is still having a profound effect. 

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I've not risen to any of the comment threads on social media that are continuing a very aggressive media attack on my name and brand.

Instead I've been spending my time talking to the brands and management companies of whom I've had the pleasure of working for and alongside as an ambassador for many years, reassuring them of the inaccuracies in the article, of which I'll get into soon.

I have a very open and honest relationship with these brands (there names I will refrain from disclosing for now) I've been honoured to work for and I've been overwhelmed with the support I've received in return. You can see some of the messages of support I've received below. 

From one brand:

"A member of our team did see the article, but I’m aware that we’ve already spoken to you about your historical follower pattern. We were satisfied with the conversation we had with you and are happy to continue working with you on projects that we feel you are suited." 

From an agency: 

"Hey Carl. We were made aware of the article last week and having read it we agree it comes from a place of spite. The “facts” presented are heavily laden with opinion, conjecture and are overall slanderous to everybody mentioned.

We also realised it was quickly removed. I think your statement on the article is strong and unemotional which is more than can be said for the original author of the article itself. It’s a shame that you’ve been put in a position whereby you need to address it.

On a personal level it doesn’t change how we view you nor alter how we’d like to work with you moving forward.

If you need anything from us to help support you then just let us know."

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Some of this might sound like lawyer talk, because I wanted to detach my emotions and just deal with the facts.

ADDRESSING COMMENTS IN THE ARTICLE

“Allegedly another one of the biggest cheats in the Men’s fashion space, Carl Thompson is one of the biggest frauds out there in terms of inorganically growing his account. His cheating goes as far back as records go, which is January 2016. From January 2016 until July 2017 he aggressively followed and unfollowed hundreds of people per day, cheating his Instagram and cheating his way to over 54,000 from practically nothing.”

Back in 2016 it wasn’t unusual to follow a lot of accounts. I personally followed thousands of people - every blogger, friend, fashion enthusiast etc, who I knew as part of the Instagram community and who helped to shape my own style.

From around April 2016 to April 2017, I used to follow some accounts and have engaged with them, later unfollowing.

I want to note here that despite what the article says, by that point, I have already amassed around 20-25,000 followers from my consistent men’s fashion Instagram posts, presenting and TV appearances.

Instagram at that time was mainly to promote my business Hawkins & Shepherd, where I invested over £100,000 of my own money, and for the love of the industry and the fashion.

During that time I did not know where the Influencer marketing would go and if I would be a part of it. It was a very new industry with no guidance.

In summary, with all due respect to the anonymous authors, I’m a massive part of this very much nascent industry and I have earned the respect from multiple fashion designers, business owners, journalists, PR’s and other Influencers.

“After the scandal of July 2017, he then appeared to have stopped, and his account has been in decline since, which is no coincidence. His Instagram name comes from the brand he owns (which also has manipulated Google reviews), but he uses this to promote himself as a blogger, and has a blog in his own name, carlthompson.co.uk.”

I have stopped following and unfollowing in April 2017 when I realised that this form of marketing had a serious influence on consumers and that it was something that I wanted to be a part of for the long-term.

In addition, I have been building trusted relationships with brands and wanted to offer a great ROI. My Instagram account did slowly decline for a while, however, I actually have perceived that trend as a good thing because real followers who may have just followed me because I followed them, decided to unfollow.

As the rate of decline was very slow and gradual, I have still been gaining followers and have been retaining ones that truly wanted to engage with my posts. What the article fails to mention is that my Instagram account is growing again and has never been more engaged. I would like to comment here that I have never bought fake followers.

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I would like to point out that the comment regarding my e-commerce business Hawkins & Shepherd being a “complete slander” is based on no evidence whatsoever, which again just highlights  the fact that this article is a personal attack.

Hawkins & Shepherd has 400 reviews, all 100% verified customers that have to be legally registered on the Yotpo review platform that I use. Below is a screenshot of this:

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The Google Reviews that the article has suggested were also manipulated in fact are genuine reviews, most are customers and some are from friends/family that I’ve gifted product to and they have kindly written a review.

“He is one of the most disingenuous and fake Influencers out there. The perfect example is working with several shaving brands, pretending to use their razors and products, then his beard magically stays on his face in the next photo, despite claiming that the razor is good and he’s apparently shaved it off.”

I regard the opening statement  as defamatory with the purported “supporting evidence” taken out of context.

My captions and images have been consistently well received, I have invested  a considerable amount of time and effort in creating these images and in ensuring that the content is exactly what the brands expect and is of an exceptional quality.

“This was comically seen when he posted about Harry’s and more recently Gillette and their razor blades, foaming up his face with razor in hand, and in the very next photo, his facial hair magically re-appeared a day later. Either the razor is not very good, he grows hair like a werewolf or he’s lying. We’ll let you be the judge.”

Whilst I applaud the anonymous author on his/her diligence in finding the one inconsistency from over 1,800 posts on my Instagram channel, posts on my Instagram grid rarely correlate to a physical date/time timeline.

When working with brands many posts have to be vetted and authenticated weeks, sometimes months in advance. The consistency of my beard between posts is arbitrary.

“He holds almost no authority, no influence and is disliked by many of the other men’s fashion bloggers and influencers, for cheating with his Instagram and being incredibly fake. His Instagram engagement is currently at 2.06%, and has been manipulated.”

I have no comment regarding this other than I have evidence to the contrary available to brands on request.

“FAKE INFLUENCER PARTY”

The Hard Rock Hotel invited me as an unpaid guest to create content on their behalf. After seeing the results of the engagement and the quality of the content provided, I was invited to promote their newly opened Hard Rock Hotel in London.

“He has now set up a new ego website, to showcase his arrogance and for people to believe that he’s kind of a big deal. “Who Is Carl Thompson .co.uk” is a website telling you who he actually is.”

The website https://www.whoiscarlthompson.co.uk/ serves as an online visual Media Pack/CV. It serves no other purpose other than to provide detailed information on my portfolio.

“According to it, he’s a TV presenter, model, influencer, photographer, YouTuber, business owner, blogger.”

Each of these are correct and accurate. I’m happy to forward on examples of each on request.

“It seems he craves the fame, being on First Dates along with Dinner Date.”

I make no apologies for appearing on these shows that are watched and adored by millions of viewers.

“According to his Instagram, he’s currently an ambassador for Haigclub, Jo Malone and Kobox. He has worked with Debenhams, House Of Fraser, Panasonic, ECCO Shoes, 360 Coffee, tk Maxx, Lab Series, Kronaby, Starbucks, Philips, Reiss, Burton, Mazda, and many more.”

That is correct and I’m extremely proud to have worked with each of these brands.


FURTHER READING

VOTED TOP 6 MEN’S LIFESTYLE BLOG IN THE UK 2018

https://www.vuelio.com/uk/blog-awards/shortlist/

TOP 10 UK MEN’S LIFESTYLE BLOG 2017, 2018, 2019.

https://www.vuelio.com/uk/social-media-index/mens-lifestyle-blogs-uk-top-10/

These are all based around official Google blog statistics, domain-authority, quality of writing and imagery. Voted by industry professionals.

MY OWN BLOG STATISTICS PUBLISHED

Earlier this year, I have published my Blog Statistics with screenshots of Google analytic data (I note the extremely low 1.03% bounce rate for the year of 2018).

https://www.carlthompson.co.uk/further-reading-blogs/2019/1/18/carl-thompson-all-the-stats-from-my-blog-revealed

YOUTUBE

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7saYubGIW4nDfajCS9Kkqw?view_as=subscriber

My channel has around 8,800 Subscribers with a very engaged following and has almost 1million views on the videos published.

 

 

 

5 x Best Christmas Box Subscription Gift for Him

Today I'm going to highlight some of the best Subscription Services I've earmarked for Christmas gifts. A subscription service is truly the gift that keeps on giving and every month someone gets reminded what a good egg you truly are. 

DiscoverBrew

You might have seen me Vlog about DiscoverBrew where I talk about the benefits of being a BrewBox subscriber. Each month 6 of the best beers arrive on my doorstep, complete with personalised vids that will describe each beer and what food you can pair it with.

The merits of the brands rest on its fantastic selection of beers. Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about craft beer you get presented with a new one and you fall in love all over again. 

Each beer in the box is hand-picked from hundreds that are tasted by the DiscoverBrew team, and only great beers make it into each box. 

Coffee 

My favourite scene from Pulp Fiction is when Quentin Tarantino gives a thrift monologue schooling Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta and indeed the entire audience on why quality coffee is so important. (Unfortunately the dialogue is far too colourful to transcribe here, but I'm sure you get my point). 

If you have someone in your life that is serious about Coffee then introduce them to Pact Coffee.

Their coffee is bought directly from the best farmers across the world then roasted in small batches at Pact HQ in Bermondsey, to ensure the very optimum quality.

Grooming

A lot of us feel begrudged leaving the house at all these days. Especially in this inclement weather and for something so perfunctory as razor blades. 

Why not save someone else the hassle as well by treating them to a razor blade subscription service by the Bearded Colonel. Made in Germany, the high water mark for quality razors.

Delivered direct to your door and small enough to fit through the letterbox so you needed hang around waiting on the postman. 

Music

A promise I've made to myself in the new year is that I'm going to rekindle my passion for vinyl. Really Carl? You're such the go-getter trend setter. 

I know, it's about 20 years too late, but I'm a sucker for nostalgia and I've already got the beard so I feel like I'm halfway there. 

If you know someone that is an avid music goer or has seen High Fidelity and   on a regular basis why not sign them up to Flying Vinyl.

They're a company that sends its members a monthly box filled with the best new alternative music printed onto beautiful 7” vinyl records. 

Shirts 

Ok well you know I'm no shrinking violet when it comes to self promotion. I like to think I tread that fine line of eagerness and persistence. My Hawkins & Shepherd shirt subscription service is the ultimate gift for that man in your life that is career driven, professional and scrupulous about his personal style. 

Save him the hassle of going out and finding new shirts every other month and keep his wardrobe enlivened with new design led, sophisticated hand crafted shirts every month 

Delicacy

Finally, avoid the hustle and bustle of the farmers markets by signing up to the Neals Yard Dairy cheese subscription service. 

Treat your palette to a wonderful myriad of different British farmhouse cheeses. If anyone is looking to get me a gift for Christmas I'll be pleased as punch to receive this. 

Ideal for people who enjoy entertaining or those who like having a few hearty pieces of cheese to hand for both cheeseboards and cooking.

*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with DiscoverBrew

Hawkins & Shepherd Navy Cashmere Coat | Men's Style Edit

We're all starting to feel the bitter chills of the cruel British Winter. This year we saw the beast from the east demonstratively smash its way through the UK, causing a significant slump in consumer spending and causing the British economy £1 million pound a day. 

Not only was this catastrophic for the fragility of the British high street, it was bloody cold! I've stocked up on a few coats this year as you may have already seen with the French Connection Pile Coat and the Green Maroon check overcoat from ASOS. 

If you are the type of guy who invests in statement, timeless pieces of clothing a coat is the perfect choice.

This limited edition double-breasted (also available in single-breasted) 100% British navy cashmere coat, is the unsung hero of the Hawkins and Shepherd collection. Perfect for this winter and what's more, it's currently half price at £800. 

What I love about this coat is how the cashmere offers an impeccable texture to the look. You'll also notice it has a contrast under collar. The grey felt panelling brings a fresh modernity to the piece and just looks ace in photos. 

The cashmere is sourced from Harrisons of Edinburgh, and is a design collaboration between myself and Savile Row trained woman's designer Calder London.

It comes fully equipped with soft silk lining, stylish buttons and is an incredibly versatile signature piece. Perfect for wearing over dark casuals as seen in the pictures, or traditional day to day suits. 

I believe with the ubiquity of the cashmere camel coat (also available through Hawkins & Shepherd) the future trends for autumn/winter will see a pendulum swing towards the Navy look.

SHOP HAWKINS & SHEPHERD CASHMERE COATS

Hawkins & Shepherd Camel Overcoat | Men's Style Edit

If there was one staple piece of autumn/winter wear that's been a flag-bearer for my Menswear E-Commerce store Hawkins & Shepherd, it's the 100% British Cashmere Overcoat. It's a collaboration garment borne of a long working established relationship with myself and Savile Row trained woman's designer Calder London.

Hey Carl, what are the benefits of Cashmere? 

Thanks for asking. Firstly, it's a sustainable fabric, it has various insulating properties - in the winter it will keep you warm and insulated yet it will ensure you stay cool in the summer.

I personally like the textured look of Cashmere and the luxurious feel.

The finest details

The coat is crafted from Harrisons of Edinburgh and finished with a soft silk lining, tortoiseshell buttons and a dark grey felt on the underside of the collar. A keen eye will detect the coat is cut slightly tapered to cater for a modern silhouette.

Style over traditional suits in formal attire or with dark denim if you are going casual.

How do I style a camel cashmere overcoat? 

I often team my beloved overcoat with traditional suits in formal attire or with dark denim if I'm going casual. A lot of people have been commenting on these awesome Goodwin Smith classic leather brogue boot, so I'll do another style edit and talk more about those in a later blog. 

The best bit about this Cashmere coat

Well one of the best bits, is the price. It's currently on sale exclusively through my Hawkins & Shepherd website listed at £800. Don't have to wait for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thongs on a Thursday, this 100% cashmere coat is available in 38" and 40", also in double breasted. 

SHOP HAWKINS & SHEPHERD 100% CASHMERE COATS

How to Dress for a 20’s Theme Party

The word you'll hear most associated with the 1920's is 'roaring'. It really was a period where more than ever in our history, people were conscious of having a style and more importantly, being able to express themselves through their individualism. With the uptick in secret club events evoking the clandestine nature of 20's Speakeasy's, I thought it would be appropriate to put a style guide together. But first a quick bit of information on some of the reasons on how the 20's earned its roaring reputation. 

In 1914, there was the Great War. For the first time in British history women were asked to join the British war effort and around 1917, American forces would come to Britain and with them they brought the wonders of jazz and stimulated a dance culture not seen before. Men would discard their naval and military uniforms and look to impress the ladies with their chalk line suits, spats and braces. With that said, here are a couple of tips that might help you with your 20's styling from top to bottom. 


Hats

A great era for hats; the Homburg, the Boater, the Panama were just some and all very popular at the time. With the success of Peaky Blinders the Newsboy Hat will be a safe bet for your party. If you're going gangster fedora, then make sure it's a wide brim and be sure to accurately do your hair because gentlemen take their hats off indoors. As Jamie Foxx mentions in Django Unchained. 'You don't wear a hat in the house white man. Even I know that'. 


Ties

I'd recommend printed ties with thin stripes. Don't allow them to hang too low, if it should hang below the waistcoat then tuck them into the trousers. You can opt for a bow tie, make sure it's self-tied. 


Suit

It's important to have the suit matching. With that I mean ensure the jacket, trousers and waistcoat are the same fabric. You should plum for baggy pants, known either as Knickers, Plus Fours or Oxford Bags. Ensure they're bagginess looks right and if possibly, brought up to the naval. Be sure to use and held up with braces or suspenders, as belts weren't prevalent in this time period. The jacket should ideally have 3 buttons, wide lapels, without falling fowl of bilious or cartoon-esq. 


Shirts (Pin Collar or Tab Collar)

During this time there was an Oasis/Blur style war breaking out over stiff and soft collars. Both are acceptable, as are detachable rounded collars, as seen in The Great Gatsby. For dress shirts the collar could be pure white like the cuffs, whilst the body would be striped. The popular cuffs could be double cuffs. Fabrics were mostly cottons or linen, silks were becoming a little pricey for the common man by the 20's. For my money I'd go for a Pin Collar, the collar bars hit the scene in the late twenties and I believe will give you the edge at the party. Attention to detail my friends. 

Shoes

Steer clear of anything square capped. Two-toned wing tipped derby’s were everywhere on the dance floor back then and has enjoyed a resurgence since with the likes of Boardwalk Empire, La La Land has carried on the Gatsby mantle. The uppers should be a blend of leather on canvass and I'd mute the colours to tan/beige which will be more versatile with other items in your wardrobe. 

 

How to Wear a Pinstripe Grey Suit 5 ways | Men's Style & Fashion Lookbook

Every man's wardrobe should include a grey suit, versatile tonal greys are easy to style but there are some colours that work well and some not-so-well. The pinstripe gives the suit blazer a touch of class to what otherwise can be quite a traditionally boring colour tone. So if you are heading to the office or want inspiration for what to wear at a wedding or special event then this is the blog for you.

This grey pinstripe suit jacket is from ZARA and comes with matching trousers, although I've mixed and matched the blazer with a plain pair of grey trousers which I already had in my wardrobe. Alternatively a pair of black trousers or even dark blue jeans would also work.

Please find all 5 looks below and links to shop each look.

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UK Shirt Subscription Service | Hawkins & Shepherd


I've been asked on a variety of occasions to explain the minutia of the shirt subscription service on Hawkins & Shepherd, so I'd like to walk you through it. 


Why do I need a shirt subscription service? 

Reason One

Shirts are the most used item of clothing a man could own. Unlike our American counterparts, us Brits rarely wear a vest beneath the shirts so the garment is in constant contact with our skin. Meaning it should be washed or dry cleaned more regularly. 

We also wear out our shirts quick. The elbows start to perish as they meet every day demands of being rubbed on our desks. The collars start to deteriorate and discolour. It's important for someone who wears shirts daily not only to equip oneself with a decent supply of shirts, but to have them on rotation. 


Reason Two 

You also don't want to be the guy in the office that is Mr Predictable. You don't want your co-workers to think 'he's wearing his Monday shirt' or 'he's wearing that shirt still with the toothpaste stain on the chest'. 

You're redoubtable presence in the office will not go unnoticed if you appear fresh and well-groomed for the workplace every day. 


Reason Three

Save time, save money. You don't need to shop around and look for discounts, waste weekends fruitlessly maundering the high street in search of your correct size. With the Hawkins & Shepherd subscription service we take out all the heavy lifting and ship direct to your door. 


How does the shirt subscription service work? 

We have broken the subscription service down into 3 tiers, dependent on budget and how demanding your lifestyle can be. 


Enthusiast - One Shirt per Month 

If you are a business traveller or maybe you just love the feel a crisp new shirt gives you, then this is the package for you. You can either opt for a 6 month or 12 month subscription package. UK Customers Only. You'll be asked for a few details such as collar size, colour and fit and once selected we'll be sending a shirt out to you every month at 40% off the price of an average shirt. 



Executive - One shirt every 2 months

If you wear shirts every day for work, they can become stiff, discoloured and worn. Keep up your sartorial game with this package. 

With a 12 month subscription package you'll be able to get 6 shirts a year at 30% off. 



Essential - One shirt every quarter

Everyone should to be able to wear a Hawkins & Shepherd luxury shirt. Split the cost of one shirt over the period of 3 months with this package. This is a great deal for those that are on a limited spend, but still want to have the option of getting a fresh look with an investment piece. With the Essential package you'll be getting 4 shirts a year with a 20% discount. 

If you have any questions regarding this service then please do not hesitate to ask. We aim to answer all questions within 24 hours. 

 

Hawkins & Shepherd Turns 5 Years Old | The Mistakes I Made

The critical mass will tell you it takes 3 years before you generate any profit from your online store. With Hawkins & Shepherd we sold on our first day of trading and I'm pleased to say have enjoyed a healthy trajectory. However, it could take another 10-20 years before it reaches a level that I would be happy with.

Today Hawkins & Shepherd celebrates its 5th year in business and in this article I will tell you all about the mistakes I've made and what you need to be mindful of should you be looking to start an e-commerce store. 

 

SINGLE POINT FAILURE

AW17-SS18 has been the most challenging year for me. I've suffered great losses through supply issues.

With Hawkins & Shepherd the shirts are all handmade so it is extremely hard to find a factory that has skilled workers who will deal with the relatively small orders that I'm placing.

We have always used the same supplier for 5 years and there lies a problem. Looking back to my IT Networking days, that would be classed as a 'single point of failure' which needs to be avoided at all costs.

 

HOT-STANDBY

The same applies with fashion/clothing, by having one factory making your goods is bad business. You always need a 2nd option which will take over if one factory experiences issues. In the world of IT we call this a hot-standby. (I know it sounds like a rolodex of page 3 girls' phone numbers that Charlie Sheen would have on his night stand). 

Alternatively, you could place your orders between two factories known as Load Balance. 

 

£10,000 DOWN THE TUBE? 

For around 9 months I had ZERO shirts being made and I thought my investment of around £10,000 in cotton fabric was going to be lost.

I run out of my most popular shirts around the AW17 season which is my biggest profit turner and also SS18 which is wedding season.

It hurt, it hurt bad. Not just on the business but on my confidence in people and my ability to continue to run Hawkins & Shepherd.

Over the last month, I've got all of the shirts made and I've also found a second supplier who are currently making samples for me and are in the state of approval to move forward with either taking over production or sharing it with my current supplier.

 

TURNED THE CORNER

Looking back this lesson has been hard but it has taught me valuable lessons and in the long run made the business more robust. At the same time, we've been working on a complete website redesign to showcase our products and services better.

We've been developing new shirts and searching the world for the best fabric to use in a new premium shirt range...we'll be using Alumo fabrics, renowned throughout Savile Row and the world for being the best (*expensive though!).

We've gone live with our first outdoor advertising campaign in the form of two black taxis fully wrapped and branded with Hawkins & Shepherd promoting our Shirt Subscription Service 'The Collar Club'.

For anyone thinking of getting into clothing and an e-commerce business there are so many challenges and things to overcome but taking advice from someone that has been there done is is crucial.

 

KNOW YOUR MARGINS

In fact, the other week I was discussing this with a friend who wishes to start something up. In short, he was going to make a product for say £25 and sell for £50. This just doesn't work; your margins are way too low.

For someone starting a business who has no experience may think that is good, you are making 100% on everything. Incorrect!

If you cost in every single penny, your profit will actually be a lot lower. For example what about the costs for, start-up, designs, pattern-cutting, warehousing, packaging and depreciation of stock value over time (the latter being the most important). Don't even get me started on wholesale! 

 

BUSINESS 101

I'm starting a new Business series on YouTube which will take you on my journey of creating Hawkins & Shepherd, how I got into blogging and crammed with my tips to be successful. So subscribe below to make sure you don't miss it.

 

Great Suits and Shirt Pairings | Men's Style Advice

It's not always the simplest of tasks to pair the right suit with the right shirt. Depending also on what side of the fashion spectrum you sit on, some shirts that could be construed bilious, have little chance of being tempered by a suit, no matter the quality. Here are some simple style pairings that might help you.

Pin or Tab Collar Shirts = Double Breasted Suits

The 20's were considered the high water mark of men’s tailoring. The pin collar shirt was introduced as a mode of rebellion. The young fashionistas of the day didn't connect with the formality of the stiffened starched collars and migrated over to the soft pin collar shirts. A problem arose however when the relaxed silky fabrics were too delicate to support a tie without looking unkempt. Hence the introduction of connecting the collar to a pin, allowing the wearer a more defined shape.

During the 30's the Double-Breasted jackets were becoming more prevalent, popularised by the Duke of Kent, hence why the four-button construction that buttons at the lower button is eponymously referred to as the "Kent". A suitable marriage for the pin collar shirt would be a double breasted jacket. With the double breasted jacket comes the broad peaked lapels which offers the verisimilitude of a large chest, a look that would certainly augment ones masculinity. A look that has survived in the UK thanks to modern renaissances of London Speakeasy's and Gangster series such as Boardwalk Empire and Peaky Blinders. 

Grandad Collars and Waistcoats

Grandad Collars are considered less formal because of their unconventional look. With a few different interpretations to the origins, from foundry workers to New York wives cutting off their husbands' collars to clean, it has a colourful narrative. Most bloggers will tell you that a simple neutrally-hued blazer will do the trick, however I gravitate towards a waistcoat only, or if the climate is conducive, simple accoutrements such as braces will suffice. 

Mix and Match

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The one unsubtractable rule to mix and matching the suit jacket and trousers is to keep the shirt simple. Anything too ambitious in the pattern or motif department and the entire look will unbalanced. A tieless button down shirt will maintain a clean look. 

Ivory Tuxedo - English Spread

Whilst black and midnight blue dinner jackets have silk facings to primarily differentiate them from ordinary lounge jackets, the Ivory Dinner Jacket does not need such a distinctive mark. Not only should the IDJ be a statement in its own right, silk facings invariably pair and precipitously clash with black silk bow ties. A classic pleated-front shirt with soft turndown collar is traditionally paired, although if you're looking for something more contemporary, David Gandy's interpretation using the blue cotton English Spread collar is a suitable act to follow. 

 

Shop These Suit & Shirt Combinations by Hawkins & Shepherd

Win a Cashmere Coat & Why I’ve Invested in Outdoor Advertising for Hawkins & Shepherd

It's time to put the great, in the great outdoors. What am I on about? Outdoor advertising! This month I've launched a new advertising campaign, promoting The Collar Club, a shirt subscription service from Hawkins and Shepherd. For the next 12 months I'll need you to keep your eyes peeled when out on the streets in central London as two black taxis will be donning my brand and the face of the campaign, the flame haired viral master and Mr Body Transformation himself Gwilym Pugh.

GIVEAWAY!

As part of this campaign I'm going to be giving away a 100% Cashmere Coat (the one in the image above) which retails at £1,600. To enter the competition draw you'll need to take a photo/selfie of the taxi and tag on social media #HawkinsAndShepherdTaxi which will automatically enter you in the draw. It is that simple.

Why outdoor advertising? 

As part of my business I'm heavily invested into all areas of digital marketing. I've ran many digital campaigns for other brands on my blog, but only have a modicum of experience when it comes to outdoor advertising. With that in mind I wanted to experiment and have a little fun with the campaign, making it more fun for me and the man on the street. 

'There is undeniable and enduring power and purity in a great idea, articulated with a striking image and pithy copy line – a Classic poster. There is, perhaps, a perceived simplicity to this task that makes it a less alluring creative challenge in a world of one-to-one communication. The fact is, simple is hard and we must do more to acknowledge and celebrate this among the creative community.' Glen Wilson - Campaign

 One of my favourite billboard advertisement stories of all time is the story of Tommy Hilfiger who released a teaser billboard in Manhattan’s Times Square cryptically declared, “The 4 Great American Designers for Men Are: R—— L——-, P—— E——, C——- K——, T—— H———-.” I couldn't afford to be as subtle as Tommy at this stage, but there's no doubting how persuasive a good advert can be. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on outdoor advertising, do you have a favourite campaign other than the Eva Herzigova Wonderbra advert of the mid 90’s? Leave your comments and thoughts in the box below.