Fashion: A Story of Lost Boys
I haven't talked much about my extremely influential and informative school years yet on the blog and I guess that's due to the fact there hasn't been the opportune moment to make it relevant and connect to my fashion adventures. But as I sit here and write this post I fondly remember a horrific fashion decision in my late teens that should have been a red flag from the start - when I chose to wear a size-too-small brown leather jacket from my mum's wardrobe. I thought it was rock and roll. My friends didn't. It wasn't until my close group of mates involuntarily liberated me from this jacket, by not only stealing but also burning it and later telling me, that I learned a significant lesson. You should listen to your friends more often. Not just for fashion advice, but for everything, they'll give it to you straight, and that's how any good friendship should work.
Now back to my school life. I was extremely fortunate to go to a unique private boarding school for boys called Dilworth. Instantly you'd think going to a private school means I've come from an affluent family situation, but it's far from the case. Dilworth is one-of-a-kind set-up by an early immigrant called James Dilworth from Ireland who built the school on the principle that it would house, educate and develop young men into good and useful citizens. It was for us boys who may have come from strenuous circumstances and as a result unlikely to have the resources and opportunities other boys in better situations might. The school's purpose is as unique as the student's situations, life stories and futures.
The Dilworth connection is tight, as you can probably imagine. Living with fellow mates from the age of 11 right through to leaving in 7th form, lifelong bonds were made and that school or really life experience is something I'll cherish forever. One of the best outcomes of Dilworth is the community that continues to grow even after you've left. You'll often bump into Dilworth boys who were your senior or junior and pick up conversations as if you'd been in contact daily. The Dilworth brotherhood as we like to call it also introduces you to fresh faces from the old boys club and that's exactly how I meet Joel who was bold enough to quit his full time job to follow his dream of launching his own menswear fashion label called Lost Boys Collection.
Lost Boys Collection isn't a name by chance. It holds significant weight and meaning, not only for Joel, but personally for me and every other Dilworth boy past and present too. Lost Boys was born out of the insight that many boys who've walked through the school gates for the first time were often lost. They'd come from broken families, tough financial situations, and at times faced a bleak future. Dilworth welcomes these boys in and helps give them a sense of purpose, confidence and belonging. This story is woven into the very fabric of Joel's label but it's also a clever nod to the idea that men's fashion has been watered down and that we've lost touch with what it means to be a gentleman and how quality garments are a reflection of someone who takes pride in who they are.
Joel's passion and excitement for his very first label are evident in the considered approach to every stitch and detail of the brand development and manufacturing process. Everything is made right here in good old New Zealand, where Joel often designs the pattern, hand-picks the fabrics, sources the buttons all while his very own dear Nan sows together the ties and pocket squares right on the living room table. It's a labour of love and dedication and it's not something you see often in men's fashion locally.
Joel is having a blast and you can't blame him. There's so many unknowns, challenges, small victories and exciting opportunities when you start something. It's like holding onto the raft when you go over the waterfall but you don't really know what'll happen, you just know it's the right move. Over the next few months, Joel is working on expanding his collections with a classic trench coat that every man should have in their wardrobe and for the casual line up, a bomber jacket - still one of the hottest trends as we move into 2018. Plus Joel isn't stopping there either, he's designing a leather travel wallet range which is a utility Joel spotted while working the circuit as a flight attendant a year back.
Joel is a prime example of a Dilworth success story and there are numerous old boys out there who are living out the passions and chasing down their dreams. It's so gratifying and inspiring to see and the more you hear about them, it starts to rub off on you. What have you been dreaming about lately? The future really does belong to the brave.
Check out the entire Lost Boys collection here.