Personal style cannot be reduced to one formula and everyone has a different sartorial journey. In my experience, it is always inspiring to learn from other men how they developed their style because it makes you rethink your own approach and sometimes you pick up a thing or two that will help to create your unique look.
Today, I interview Guillaume Bo from France, who loves Hip Hop and classic clothing! The feedback for the video has been great so far, so make sure you don’t miss it.
Israel Saint-Clementine says”Best guest you’ve had so farBest guest you’ve had so far”
hieuwey thinks:”This interview speaks so much about the diversity of gentlemen behavior under different cultures. Amazing guest”
Sven Raphael Schneider: Gui, when I first got in touch with you, it was because you had a Facebook page called Montreal needs more style and I was going to Montreal and so I contacted you and you set me up with people. Unfortunately, that time you weren’t in Montreal anymore. You had just moved to France. Before that, you’ve lived in New York, in San Francisco. So tell me more about how this journey evolved and where you’re at right now.
Guillaume Bo: I was born in Montreal, this is why I decided after New York and San Francisco to live there and at the time, I decided to create, to launch something free. So I created a Facebook page about style, elegance: Montreal needs more style was created. After that, I moved to France and finally became Men need more style.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Okay, that makes sense. So what I read about you, you said when you started out initially, you were into soccer and you made your first money playing soccer and then afterward you actually transitioned into music and now into men’s wear. Now, it’s not common, can you just walk us through, how you went and started out at the beginning? How you came from on thing to another, I think it’s very interesting for people to understand where you come from and what your roots are.
Guillaume Bo: When I was like 15 or 16, I was very good at tennis too and football. Step by step, It’s funny too because I was into hip-hop, I was a DJ, producer.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Wait a second, how do you get from soccer to hip-hop?
Guillaume Bo: I quit soccer because I didn’t like all this pressure and everything around it then I seemed to like, when I was 12 or 13 and step by step, first is break dancing and after that, hip-hop, I mean rap but I was like “Oh my God!” and step by step, Radio shows and after that DJ and producing. All of that in 20 years actually.
Sven Raphael Schneider: How many years did you emerge in the hip-hop scene culture and how did you then get from hip-hop to what you do today, men’s wear?
Guillaume Bo: Hip-hop, still (laughs) but less than I used to be but I would say like 20 years. It’s another part of my life. In France, at first I didn’t want to talk that much about it because you guys in the states are more aware and open about it. In France, it’s more like “oh, okay really? Hip-hop?”
Sven Raphael Schneider: It’s interesting! Did you dress the way you dress today back then when you were into hip-hop?
Guillaume Bo: Sometimes, Yes. I used to wear corduroys for example and my friends used to tell me “you shouldn’t” and I told them that I don’t give a, this is my style, period. Sometimes, I used to spin with suits too!
Sven Raphael Schneider: Wonderful! It means that you can be a gentleman, you can be interested in sartorial things, and you can still enjoy hip-hop at the same time. It is not exclusive.
Guillaume Bo: Absolutely! It’s even more than that; I do believe hip-hop helped me to be what I am right now.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Can you elaborate on that?
Guillaume Bo: For me, it’s not only about suits at all. It’s more about culture, education, the way you talk, the way you talk to women, the way you understood history. It is linked to a lot of things. The more you understand cultures, for example, hip-hop culture, a culture linked to everything around it so you can mix classical, pop, rock and it’s the same thing for elegance. If you do know that I mean, deeply the term culture for example. The Mod Culture in Great Britain back in the 60’s, you do understand better now, Tom Ford.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Yes, people understand it, they take it in and they see as child, you know you’re exposed to certain things, you’re impressed maybe by it, you idolize things and then it even later in life, even if things have changed, you still have that connection to your roots, and it shows.
Guillaume Bo: It’s the same thing for Hip-hop, soul music, Michael Jackson, I was such a big fan of him and his hats, the way he moved and thanks to him I discovered Fred Astaire and Cary Grant and Sammy Davis Jr. and Rat pack and James Brown and finally, “Wow, his pants are awesome!”, I meant to understand why his shoulders were like mine now, cos I want to be able to play tennis with my suits, you know. Everything is linked to that so thanks to hip-hop, thanks to the people I met. Now I am capable of wearing casual in a different way.
Sven Raphael Schneider: So, the starting point for you was hip-hop and then Michael Jackson and without it you may have never or maybe much later discovered that part. So sometimes you know, every person is unique in what they do, influences, the way they look and what they are interested in. So, you’ve done all of this, you’ve done the soccer and the hip-hop but today, your bread and butter job is definitely men’s wear, tell us more about what you do.
Guillaume Bo: I’m at the same time a blogger, consultant, a fashion icon, a model.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Would you say that it’s fair to say like the consultant, you said you work with brands so it’s important that you don’t just work for one brand, you work for many of them and you help kind of purvey their brand image in a way that is connected to aesthetics and say, it’s not just about having more Facebook fans or new collections but it’s about the whole vision of the brand and what it stands for, is that more what you would say you do?
Guillaume Bo: It’s between marketing, true business and image actually. I do work with brands I used to wear too, this is how I started working with brands actually. Sometimes, it’s more about merchandising, in all the world we have a lot of makers and they don’t know how to sell actually.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Just to distinguish themselves and help them to create a brand aesthetic that is in line with their history and their core traditions and what it is about them. Sometimes, they’ve been doing something for so long that they don’t realize what they do is really special in the marketplace today and you kind of help them rediscover that and say “Hey, this is a unique selling point to have here” and try to push that forward, correct?
Guillaume Bo: Perfect, yes indeed sir! I would add something else, this is why I work only with brands that I like, I must be moved by that. If an american brand for example two days ago called me and no it wasn’t possible at all because it was crap and I cannot suggest that to my fans or followers or likers by saying to them “You must buy this for 300 bucks and trust me, it’s good” cos it’s not true.
Sven Raphael Schneider: If it’s not true, you don’t want to do that.
Guillaume Bo: No I cannot make it!
Sven Raphael Schneider: You said you are a blogger and this Facebook page, Montreal needs more style has now become Men need more style because you could keep the abbreviation which was very clever. What is your Instagram handle? Is it also Men need more style?
Guillaume Bo: It was Men need more style but finally I decided to change the name it’s @Gui_Bo. Basically, men need more style is more about my vision, I do help people to, I give people advises, good spots, ideas and I do share things that I like too. For example, about you, about Fabio because I am not selfish at all. When I like something, I do talk about it. It has nothing to do with money. MNMS is about good advises, ideas, my point of view about this brand, about these shoes, about whatever, even art sometimes and about Pitti because I am not afraid to talk because you know, lately it’s been different. All these bloggers, they don’t talk at all. They do sell products but that’s it, they cannot tell anything else about product because they want to work with them later. I don’t care at all.
Sven Raphael Schneider: So you take a different approach, you want to work with brands if you like them. You are just more true to yourself like you said before and just share what you like, and it comes from the heart.
Guillaume Bo: I don’t know, I want to be free, that’t it! Totally free and it’s kind of weird maybe for you but I want to be free period. MNMS is about all of that, my Instagram is more about my own outfits, combinations and I used to post two or three pics a day about me. Real life, no effects, no filter because if you want to be able to talk about elegance, shoes, fragrances, you must be able to show that. We met and I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, so many “bloggers”, so many “gentlemen” who talk so much but where are they? You don’t see anything about them, you know.
Sven Raphael Schneider: It’s easy on the internet, to build up a profile and a persona and then when you meet people in real life, sometimes, it’s a little disappointing because you know, you read what they have to say, you think “this must be a very elegant person” and then you meet them and you’re like “maybe not quite”
Guillaume Bo: Especially with all this internet, I realized and I talked about it last week too. The ones who used to comment and to say bad things about all this were the worst dressed ever, like ever. So shut up, learn first, work and after that, you will be able to talk. I hate that. If I don’t like something, why should I talk about it?
Sven Raphael Schneider: So you focus on the positive things, and you leave out negativity. I am very much the same; it’s all about doing something better rather than just bashing out others. It’s more about what can I do to improve things rather than saying what you do is bad.
Guillaume Bo: I do love debates. Actually, I say it all the time on my Facebook page and I’m not the only one to have the right to be right, if you don’t agree with something, just prove me why I’m wrong. I love that.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Have a point, show me why. Don’t just say “Oh, I feel…” but explain
Guillaume Bo: Too easy. I used to be a football player, tennis player, to get involved in sports, I am a competitor. I’m wrong, prove it! If you do, WOW! I am a gentleman, I am fair play, good job! If you don’t, do not, please.
Sven Raphael Schneider: It sounds like to me that, basically now your work life and your personal life are intertwined in a way that you, you know you love what you do, you do it all the time. Your outfits, you wear it regularly, you post them everyday. Where do you draw the line between work and private life? What do you do when you don’t work?
Guillaume Bo: I still play tennis and football. I still scratch sometimes but most of the time, I am traveling, I am trying new things. I think about what I should do, what I should wear, what I could mix with that, how I could upgrade this line of shoes. Everything is linked o you wear it totally right.
Sven Raphael Schneider: I think you mentioned before, you talked about elegance as a whole. Just to pinpoint again, how would you define style?
Guillaume Bo: It’s about the way you move with your clothes and how your clothes express what you are. It’s true that, I do believe that classic style a good fit because it flatters 90% of people. This is why I’ve always said to my friends and everybody else that you should try classic because it will flatter you.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Yeah, you are the perfect proof. You are hip-hop, heavily influenced and you said you know, this still looks great on me, and it just flatters me, and so I wear it.
Guillaume Bo: It’s easier to dress this way because classic style has been tried and when you wear a nice suit, a nice blazer, you look your best. You wear baggies and Jordan and caps and all, it can be great on one percent of people and it’s also for women. Some women with sneakers, it can be great, only some, 2 or 3%. You know what I mean.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Yeah, on others it just does not look right. It depends on the built. If you have like a very big thigh, maybe a skinny pair of pants is not ideal. If you have very thin legs, maybe the skinny look will be flattering.
Guillaume Bo: But if you do wear a nice blazer, a nice dress, it works! That’s it!
Sven Raphael Schneider: The style usually most people, they don’t find their style until they are in their 20s, 30s and sometimes later. What was your evolution and your style?
Guillaume Bo: I would say that when I was 20 of course, I especially dedicate it to hip-hop. I wasn’t break dancing with suits. But it does not mean that I didn’t wear suits when I was spinning or even touring with my group back in the days. I would say I used to wear more casual outfits but I was talking about it with friends a few months ago and actually they used to call me “Papi” because I was like the oldest with this style, with my corduroys, with my blazer and they were teasing me about it. I did not care because I loved it. At the same time, I used to wear too, Phat farm, polos, cargos, pants and sometimes timberlands. I haven’t changed much actually, maybe now my shoes are nicer because I have more money and maybe my taste is better too and I was able to buy nicest things that last, you know.
Sven Raphael Schneider: You mentioned like, from Michael Jackson to Fred Astaire and Cary Grant, these are maybe like style icons. Who or what would you say most influences your style today? Is it still these old figures or is it different things and different people?
Sven Raphael Schneider: What is your staple suit or your staple shoes? Do you have that or you always wear something different? Do yo have some items that you wear more often than others?
Guillaume Bo: I don’t have so many suits actually, I do play more with sport jackets, casual and knit wear.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Oxford or Derby?
Guillaume Bo: Oxford
Guillaume Bo: Oh my! Flannel
Sven Raphael Schneider: Necktie or Bow tie?
Guillaume Bo: Both!
Sven Raphael Schneider: Belt or suspenders?
Guillaume Bo: Suspenders.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Barrel cuff or french cuff?
Guillaume Bo: Both! I’m sorry it depends on a lot of things. Casual or formal.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Undershirt or no undershirt?
Guillaume Bo: Usually no but sometimes yes.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Are you more off the rack person or a more bespoke person?
Guillaume Bo: Off the rack I would say.
Sven Raphael Schneider: What would be like on tip or piece of advice that has been given to you that you would like to pass on to our listeners and viewers today?
Guillaume Bo: You can buy accessories for nothing, pocket square, you can find a nice piece of fabric even a tissue, and you cut it and you create a nice pocket square. You can find a nice flower everywhere. You can find a nice scarf everywhere.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Final question, where do you see Men need more style and Gui Bo in five years from now?
Guillaume Bo: I want to change the game, I have to become bigger and bigger to change what I didn’t like first.
Sven Raphael Schneider: Thank you so much, Gui Bo for your time. If you want to go to his Facebook page, you can visit it here and Instagram here. Go check him out, he’s very stylish, has a unique style and as you can see he’s very true to himself, speaks his mind, and that’s what I appreciate about him.