Media Symposium – The debate

Wednesday, June 20th 2018
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Our debate at the Media Symposium last week covered everything from influencers to Interview, story-telling to Supreme. It was one of the best discussions we've had, and probably the one with the broadest appeal.

The audience was made up of largely brands, PRs and press, and it was interesting how many of the first two said they found it both interesting and useful. One brand commented that they were going to make sure their CEO saw this, as they've been trying to convince them of the same ideas for months.

What were those ideas? That influencers are dead; that print is not dead; that authenticity is the future.

Don't worry about those magazines or Instagram accounts churning out paid-for rubbish: time is not on their side. The future is about genuine beliefs and personal story-telling.

Quite optimistic really.

The video of the talk is below. It was only on a phone - our priority is always trying to create the best experience on the night.

The 'Scott' referred to by speakers, by the way, is Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist. And the two questions come from Mark Cho and a reader from South Africa (both pictured above).



Below is a list of our speakers, so you can identify everyone easily.

Thank you to all our sponsors: Stefano Bemer shoes, Thomas Mason fabric and Fox Brothers cloth.

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

David Coggins, author
Jonathan Daniel Pryce, aka @GarconJon, photographer
Jeremy Kirkland, podcaster, Blamo!
Me (Simon Crompton,
Wei Koh, founder, The Rake magazine
Tom Stubbs, men's style and luxury correspondent, FT How To Spend It
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Fantastic fabric for your jacket. Can I ask where it’s sourced from?



Is it from a previous season? I can’t see it in the current season bunch.


If you do’nt mind me saying so,I think that a group of men on stage displaying hairy legs does not look very smart or sophisticated.It also gives the unedifying impression that you are all trying to look terribly trendy.Personally,I would have worn a pair of long cotton socks,jacket and open-necked shirt if it was very warm.Going sockless,of course,looks more appropriate in casual surroundings and perhaps is really the only elegant option sometimes……but please not at formal events.

William M

I am pleased by you reply that you would not have gone sockless whilst wearing a tie in normal circumstances. I looked wrong to me,


what’s worse is the no socks look with those ‘hidden’ socks that everyone can see…


But you are an influencer?


I’m afraid I would disagree
There is a reason certain brands / companies / tailoring houses would give you a space to have a supper, host certain events with you, give you (almost certainly) much higher level of attentiveness and customer service. Through you they gain a huge amount of influential marketing. Whilst you might try and counter-act this by being very selective in what you review, you are certainly still such a thing?


What the hell has Tom Stubbs got on?!


It’s called style.


I wasn’t being sarcastic. Stubbs is dressed in the height of forward fashion, and in the best of men’s style. He is, by these standards, well-dressed.

It’s just not classical sartorial style. The mistake that’s being perpetuated by sartorial writers is precisely this: that the two are compatible, or even one and the same. They’re not. It’s a lot like music magazines putting classical music together with jazz, and claiming they are similar, just because the same intellectual people listen to both.

Once you let street style into sartorialism, you’ve opened the door to potential uglification. Call me a fuddy-duddy conservative if you wish. So be it.

Mike G.

I love the topic and range of panelists. Well done.


David Coggins and Simon Crompton are the only two presenters I would take seriously at the seminar. The others are a Hawaiian refugee, an extra from a Mad Max movie, badly unpolished shoes and lurid turquoise pants.

Gentlemen, please refrain from allowing yourselves to slip into sartorial madness by trying to be too edgy to the point of silliness.



I agree with your comment 100%


I disagree with your comment 100%


The only well-dressed man, and the only one whose comes across as a grown adult male, is Pryce. Not to belabour the point, but this website, a few weeks ago, discussed the vexed question of menswear and effeminacy. I think we need to take a long hard look at ourselves.

I haven’t got all the answers (short of unleashing a flame war, that is), but socks and lace-up shoes would have helped. That’s just for starters. Also, someone should tell some of the uber-stylish audience members that one takes off one’s hat indoors, in this kind of place.

I suppose the name of the magazine that defines the iGent generation – “rake” – says it all.


What is wrong with a bit of effeminacy? I think we all ought to accept that caring about one’s appearance enough to read style blogs is considered slightly effeminate by most people in itself. I would hope that of all events, a fashion symposium would be free of the usual fixation with masculinity.


Funny how much more apropriately and beautifully dressed the audience was. Usually it´s the other way around.


Hi Simon,

First I have to apologise for commenting without watching the video.

I think a lot of the readers come to your site for what could be called “corporate sprezzatura”. That is – I wear suit to work and I would like to look like this is the most natural thing in the world rather than a uniform imposed on me from above.

What is on display is what could be call “fashion sprezzatura”. That is – I wear cutting edge fashions and I would like to look like this is the most natural thing in the world rather than a uniform imposed from my peers.

The trouble is I live in a dull grey world where Florence is the matronly accounts clerk rather than a golden city in Tuscany. While I would welcome a bit more corporate sprezzatura, I am afraid fashion sprezzatura is not something I have a reference to in my life.

My 2 cents on the negative feedback you are getting in the comments. Hope it makes sense.



Simon, you didn’t publish my comment on this! Just wanted to say I agree with the above. Sometimes I think you receive backlash because your style / world has changed so drastically to be much more “iGent”, and much less accessible to non fashion people? Not a criticism, just an observation


I think the original ‘corporate’ comment prompts a really important point about the diversity of PS readership and the way we tend to assume that everyone is ‘like us’. I’m sure there are plenty of ‘corporate’ folk, but I’d bet there are also plenty that enjoy menswear and choose to wear it because they want to. I’m certainly in the latter and find it a little funny when, from time to time, someone on here comments that they never see anyone actually wearing something like cotton tailored trousers and a sport coat. I assume they’re in finance or law and surrounded by ‘corporate’ suits?


Sprezzatura is the new black.

This sprezzatura hype is a load of nonsense, and largely driven by the media (so it’s right on the subject). The word has been abused, deformed and mystified beyond recognition.

It doesn’t mean deliberate slovenliness, or the addition of deliberate imperfections in one’s outfit to make one look ‘down with it’. You can ooze sprezzatura in regulation military dress that’s fully canvassed, padded and structured, wearing regulation socks and bulled shoes, clean shaven with a short back and sides.

Ditto for office wear.

In its original meaning by Baldassare Castiglione, sprezzatura meant ‘effortlessness’, which is all it is really. If you can be effortlessly squared away, then you’re doing sprezzatura right.

Fashion sprezzatura is not sprezzatura at all, and quite frankly many of the iGents are trying too hard, which is the opposite of effortless. In the 1990s we would have called them nerds.


Thank you. I have been telling people every chance I get that this use of Sprezzatura by the fashion world has nothing to do with Castiglione. They use it to add a bit of artificial gravitas to their sub culture.


Thank you for posting a video of the talk for those who weren’t able to attend the event. I must say, I found David Coggins’s comments the most heartening, less so the argument put forward by Wei Koh that the answer to print media’s survival is e-commerce. From my limited perspective as somebody who is pretty much completely removed from the fashion journalism world, the move to promote e-commerce alongside long-form/carefully curated pieces seems to be punting the real issue of how print media survives into the long grass.


Hello Simon,

Thank you for the effort to constantly produce great contents for us reader. Love the choices of panel speakers as they show different perspective from the standpoint of their respective media outlets, old and new. Do you think with this number of speakers, in the future, there is a possibility of making an audio only version to record the speeches better?


I too use Falke invisible socks. I’ve found them to be excellent. You can usually get them a bit cheaper on Amazon.


Which no-show/invisible/slipper socks do you prefer to wear with Sagans?


A podcast/audio version would be highly appreciated to listen to while commuting or running! Thanks

Brian Lehang

It was a great pleasure and honor to attend such a gathering of greats. Informative conversations and very interesting views. It’s a pity there was not enough time to ask more questions as I had a question for all the speakers. But it was a blissful evening overall.


Hi Simon,
Just a quick note: it would be great if you could really improve the recording at such events.
One shouldn’t have to listen more than twice.


Re David Coggins, author of “Men and Things – things that they can teach me, things that I feel entitled to; things to buy, or to buy tickets to, or to otherwise consume.” (see RJ de Mans’ book review of ‘Men and Style’ on the Mans No Man Walks Alone blog).

Having now heard Coggins speak I’m no more inclined to read his book. How many times can you refer to people ‘responding’ to various things before your public begins to wonder whether you’re saying anything at all meaningful?



I thought this talk, and the comments it has elicited, to be pretty interesting. There are many tensions between style and fashion, craft and industry, conversation and media, and in various ways the talk, it’s attendees, and this very site, encapsulate those tensions. These tensions all go to the heart of the question – why do we dress the way we do? For ourselves, for others, to make a statement, to be seen to fit in, or to stand out? All of us will have different answers to that question (and perhaps different levels of self knowledge).

Pitti seems to stand at the apex of the “dress to stand out/fit in with the fashion set” (stand out to fit in, itself a telling contradiction) so it’s predictable that not all (many?) of the readers of this site will approve of it.

Simon perhaps you now also embody that contradiction to an extent, having started this blog as a talented “amateur”, and now very much part of the “industry”. But fundamentally, your idea of sticking to the things that you love, and exploring the margins around them, seems a good model for the times.



As you just noted, the poster above (TokenGesture) made a nice, substantive comment. I would like to add that, that I agree with his point about the tension of fashion and style, or I would call it “realistic vs fantasy.” While I would certainly appreciate it if more people around me would dress more nicely, it’s a fantasy. I choose to dress more nicely than most of my peers, but not all of the time. I do it about 40% of the time, because it’s the only way I won’t go insane from the lack of attention to detail or level of formality that I sadly believe is permanently missing.

In fact, this is why I think Permanent Style is so important, because even though the more stylish and formal era of dressing is now bygone in mainstream life, it still somehow never looks awkward or bad if done well by the wearer. That is Permanent Style. And just because we live among many who choose to embrace “casual Jerry Seinfeld Friday” every day, doesn’t mean we all have to. So wear your damn cream trousers instead of the high-twist light-grey ones, and enjoy it.


I guess it is in the interest of most speakers to lead us to think that influencers are dead, isn’t it? Which does not mean they are not right of course.


Well I think Wei is onto something with his e-commerce gig but to be honest, ater trying/buying a few things off Rake’s site I’d question how well he undertands what a really, really smooth and satisfying shop on an e-commerce site actually means. In short, the photos of the items for sale are appauling – low res, incomplete, without showing how they look like on a model or at least a maniqueene (let alone using a slightly overweight, middle aged male to show how it will REALLY l wears..which would help to those who actually buy these things…). The help on sizing is useless – thre is no measurements done and brands sizing varies hugely. Customer service is even more useless – getting an answer or information on a refund is almost impossoble via email, I had to resort to calling the number in UK (and I live in Asia) multiple times before anyone actually bothered to pick up. SO there you have it – if you say the print is dead, and switch on the e-commerence thing on, at least make sure it works, or hire someone who will make it work, within the costraints of your budgets and operating costs.


I’m sorry, I will have to watch the video properly but I just had to turn it off after the first couple of minutes.

I follow you, Tom Stubbs, Scott Schuman etc on Instagram and Facebook, buy the books, got several of yours, Scott Schuman, Hugo Jacomet, David Coggins.

The reason I turned the video off is because of Wei Koh interrupting you, I followed him on Instagram, I subscribe to The Rake Magazine.

I’ve stopped following him, and my subscription has come to an end. I stopped following him because I find him so arrogant and over confident.

Don’t you feel that way with some of the people you meet especially in such a vane business?

PS, I love your stuff, don’t always agree with you but at least you post when someone disagrees with you.


Hi Simon,

Please could you provide the details for the trousers you are wearing i.e fabric, who made them etc.