We caught up with one of London’s top style influencers, Martell Campbell, a menswear blogger and style expert. His self-titled blog has earned him a large following, working with top brands such as Topman and Ben Sherman, and gracing the pages of GQ, Glamour Magazine, Vogue online, and numerous publications. We met Martell (and his equally stylish sister, Donya, and friend, LaTouche) in New York during Fashion Week last year and instantly fell in love with their styles, appropriately dubbing them “the London trio” for the remainder of our trip. We talk London style, launching a career in fashion, and which famous fashion blogger he caught the attention of! (To remain true to the interview, we ask that you kindly read this entire interview in an English accent.)
WE MET YOU INSIDE THE TENTS AT NEW YORK FASHION WEEK AND YOUR STYLE STUCK OUT TO US OFF THE BAT. HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN FASHION?
It may sound a little cliché but I got my start in fashion by doing various internships and writing for blogs for different brands. I wrote for a men’s style blog, Individualism, for two years while doing a design internship with Ben Sherman. There, I learned the in’s and out’s of how a fashion brand runs, which I found very rewarding as there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that no one ever sees. I am a big fan of New York based designers like Tom Ford, Todd Snyder, and Thom Browne so I have always been curious to see the shows during New York Fashion Week.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR CITY’S FASHION COMPARED TO THE UNITED STATES?
London is very multi-cultural; although we embrace our English heritage, London also embraces other trends to create a trend all of its own. London is very eclectic and so versatile. You can get away with anything style-wise! London fashion and Londoners are definitely more eccentric and a little more “out there.” Something that stands out, eye catching in most cases – men wearing leggings! [Laughs] I think guys from London generally experiment with color and fits a lot more. As for the Americans, I feel their style can be a little more conservative; I would say more preppy and sartorial, but there are some bigger than life personalities too, so it makes for a good contrast.
YOU LAUNCHED A BLOG IN SEPTEMBER, SHORTLY FOLLOWING NEW YORK FASHION WEEK – WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION?
This is my first real attempt at my own site, where I am able to project my thoughts and bring awareness to brands, as well as to myself. I also see the platform as an opportunity to encourage more men to embrace fashion, as men are more in tune with their style now than ever. They are taking more pride in what they wear – looking at prices, fabrics, trends and quality. It is a market that is growing rapidly. It was a great time for a fresh start for my own personal project. New York really inspired me and was a great way to kick-start my site, MartellCampbell.com.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY FOR A DESIGNER / WRITER CONSIST OF?
Each day does vary, but I’m usually doing design research, consulting with brands, answering and returning emails, interviews, and going to fashion events to network and build professional relationships. At the moment, I am currently consulting with Reiss, Oliver Sweeney, and Lock & Co Hatters. I have always wanted to work with these brands in particular, as I am a big fan of their products! It’s typically a mixture of producing photo shoots, online content, design consulting, and design/blogger collaborations.
YOU’VE PREVIOUSLY WORKED WITH BRANDS SUCH AS HUSH PUPPIES, TOPMAN, AND BEN SHERMAN – WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE ON ESTABLISHING CONNECTIONS IN THE INDUSTRY?
Always being aware of brands, fashion PR, their events and what they are up to. Socializing and networking is so important because that’s how it all begins. This way you can meet the people behind the brand and chat with them face to face and – this was a great way to make brands aware of myself. Also, be sure to make yourself seen and heard, stand out amongst others through your work. The key is to stay consistent and be persistent. People will definitely catch on.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE INDUSTRY?
That it is all glamour and that’s it. That’s the biggest misconception. Really, this industry is all about business and there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. I have learned that you’ve got to keep your head down and work hard. There will be times when you get turned away but you have to keep at it and remain focused.
FAVORITE PART ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
I would have to say traveling and going to the shows. Seeing different parts of the world is so refreshing. I have had the privilege of seeing the different styles and trends at Paris & New York Fashion Weeks and have met so many different people that it is by far the best part. New york is my favorite spot right now. It’s the land of the hustle! Everybody is so hungry and competitive, just like London but on a much bigger scale.
IF WE WERE TO TAKE A PEEK INSIDE YOUR CLOSET, WHAT WOULD WE FIND?
You’d see loads of Trilby hats waistcoats, vests and grey trousers, as they are my favorite pieces. Unfortunately it’s a mess as I am constantly building outfits, but when it’s tidy I would have everything in their designated areas. [Laughs] My favorite trends for this spring/summer would have to be color blocking within tailoring, the use of mixing and matching textured prints and fabrics and print. Paul smith executes this perfectly. I’m looking forward to investing in a bold colored suit but I don’t usually tend to follow the trends; I just wear what I wear.
YOU’VE CAUGHT THE EYE OF MANY BLOGS AND PUBLICATIONS, BUT MOST RECENTLY SCOTT SCHUMAN OF THE SARTORIALIST. DO YOU ALWAYS “DRESS THE PART” AND DO PEOPLE ALWAYS SEEK YOU OUT?
I think it is important to look my best at all times; you can never be overdressed. First impressions count and people do judge you on your appearance. I do like being featured as it shows that my personal style is being appreciated by people all over the world.
DO YOU HAVE PLANS TO EXPAND TO THE US?
Yes, absolutely! I plan to move to the US to expand in years to come. For the time being though, my aim is to expand to the rest of Europe, but there are exciting things to come in the future. I am currently setting up collaborative projects with photographers and brands for when I go back to New York, as I can project my work to a much wider audience.
Stay tuned! We can’t wait to catch up with Martell and the crew again in September. In the meantime, follow him on his socials: Twitter @MrFlyyCampbell | Facebook.com/mrflyycampbell | Instagram @MrFlyyCampbell
Photos by Lily Qian and also features in GQ, Vogue, and Sartorialist