When it comes to savoir-vivre, elegance and men’s style (concepts that are often overused but still hardly investigated in their countless nuances), Matthew Zorpas is the perfect person to examine the state of the art of everything relating to modern gentlemen’s customs and habits. Exactly ten years ago, this multifaceted Cypriot creative entrepreneur, Londoner by adoption, launched the site ‘The Gentleman Blogger’, which quickly became a touchstone for menswear and lifestyle in general, addressing outfits (often formal and highly recognised, for instance Esquire UK magazine included him in its annual ‘Best Dressed Men’ list in 2010) as well as travel (another passion and atout of the founder), wellness, tips for a community of passionate, demanding and cosmopolitan people.
In short, Zorpas proved to be a true forerunner of the matter, focusing on men and their interests well before the crowds of male influencers (or self-styled ones) on social media today. The numbers attest to his success, together with all the brands with which The Gentleman Blogger has collaborated over the years, from IWC to Tod’s, Fendi, Bentley, Nespresso and many others.
We had the chance to talk with him during his shooting about what distinguishes true gentlemen today, the impact of Covid on men’s taste in clothing, the changes affecting the men’s fashion industry and society as a whole, from the transformations in the communication scenario full of influencers up to the metaverse.
For several years now you have been considered a role model for contemporary (and aspiring) gentlemen, as the title of your – very popular – blog suggests. What distinguishes a true gentleman in 2022, what are his qualities in terms of style and otherwise?
I have seen the definition, attitude and form of the term change over the last ten years. At the end of the day a gentleman is pure, it is all about soul. It’s not an act or a lifestyle but a living. It’s not a forced, well-thought-out bespoke suit, but a casual choice of dressing up. It is so much easier to dress like a gentleman today and yet so much harder to carry the qualities of one.
‘The Gentleman Blogger’ crosses the ten-year line this year. This platform allows you a privileged view of everything related to the male universe. In your opinion, what are the main changes that have affected menswear and, more in general, men’s lifestyle over this period of time?
I founded The Gentleman Blogger in 2012 and have been on this wonderful ride for ten years. I have seen the industry shift its attitude from arrogance towards influencers to embracing us, cheering us and choosing us. I have seen men’s lifestyle shift from proper and standard to relaxed and diverse.
You prefer a personal style marked by sophistication, elegance with an ‘old school’ flair for tailored suits, patterns and motifs in the best British traditions, tuxedos, perfectly cut garments. Yet the lockdown, remote working and other consequences of the pandemic have deeply changed (and often negatively) formal attire, which had already been affected by significant transformations caused by changing consumer tastes and habits. How do you think formal wear will change in the future?
Change is welcomed here. Fashion is an industry that must follow consumers: it is for the diverse and knowledgeable consumer. It will continue to reflect movements, political or environmental crises. It is our job to make sure it moves and changes, it predicts and follows. Sadly, those who hold back will fail. Don’t translate this as an expansion in offering choices and options, but more on doing what is true to the DNA of the maison and doing it well.
Covid also impacted influencers between restrictions, closures and other disruptions, prompting them to change the tone and type of content posted on Instagram, Facebook & Co. Not to mention that this industry was already grappling with unprecedented challenges, from the ‘saturation’ of space to the pitfalls of virtual ’competitors’, the metaverse and other innovations that could soon change social media as we know it. What can you tell us about this, what is the state of the art in influencing?
Influencers as an industry will be here to stay for many years ahead. Just like the publishing industry had its run, we will need to allow the digital space to expand, grow, develop and when the right time comes it will clear and decline. We have not experienced the peak yet, as we are only now experiencing the years of transition from offline to online. The upcoming generation Alpha is developed and dedicated to online only.
Speaking of the metaverse, what’s your take on this? Could – and should – gentlemen also carve out their own space in a virtual reality based on pixels and avatars?
I am aware of the metaverse, it is not my personal space or choice. I am aware of TikTok too, it’s not my space though. We need to remind everyone that we have a choice to be anywhere we want to be. New platforms or worlds shouldn’t be there to replace the old but to satisfy and please the consumer.
Travelling is one of your great passions, you have always cared about the world of hospitality and you have also collaborated with the Ministry of Tourism of your country Cyprus. After the Coronavirus ’storm’, do you think there will be structural changes in this sector?
With the beginning of the pandemic, every sector or industry had to implement structural changes, especially in the western world. From deliveries to production, to tourism and hospitality. With my team and the Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism, we managed to put together the first open air social distancing ‘RoundTable’ event in 2020, followed by the ‘7AM campaign’ in 2021 and ‘ImagineBeingHere’ in 2022. We needed to rebuild the dream when there were no flights to the country, rebuild the need for people to visit when flights opened up again and now we are reminding visitors of both as we go back to normal.
Can you name at least three garments/accessories that should never be missing from the wardrobe, the ‘never without’ of every self-respecting gentleman?
There is absolutely no basic garment that anyone must own. We break every rule and every single one of us needs and should own whatever is necessary to them. I used to always say a double-breasted suit and a tuxedo. Now you can have a plain white t-shirt and Levi’s jeans and be a gentleman. Let’s move on with the times.
Although making predictions is risky, how do you imagine The Gentleman Blogger in ten years’ time? What might characterise the gentleman community in the near future?
The Gentleman Blogger has been a wonderful adventure. I’m quite pleased with the change, the innovation, the creativity, the passion and community that has loved and surrounded this amazing project for ten years. I have no predictions about how my next project will develop but I’m excited to embark on the next adventure with the strength, purity and health to fight for it to become a success.
Talent Matthew Zorpas
Photographer Georgios Motitis
Styling Giorgia Cantarini
Stylist assistant Federica Mele, Emma Thompson, Mariam Ajami from MA Fashion Styling – Istituto Marangoni London
Location The Dorchester
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