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Interviews

Meet the stylist: Freddie Kemp

Meet the stylist: Freddie Kemp

We get that our stylists can be a bit enigmatic. If you’re a Thread customer, you’ve been at the receiving end of a fair few messages from them, and maybe you’ve even sent them a message or two yourself. But what you likely don’t see from these exchanges is just how skilled, stylished, and impossibly well dressed they are. (It’s hard when the photo we send you of them is smaller than a fingernail.) 

We’re keen to change that – cue our latest series “Meet the stylist” where we introduce you to one of the style experts on our team. Up first is Senior Stylist Freddie Kemp. A vet by startup standards (he’s been working for Thread for more than six years), Freddie always brings a distinctive eye to everything he styles. We chatted with him about everything from the style rules he breaks to the trends he’s ready to forget.

How did you initially get into styling?

It was through an internship at Mr Porter – I had no previous experience in fashion. I had bounced around a few jobs from software sales to event management in a desperate attempt to prove that my decision not to go to university to study history was the right one. It was a stroke of luck that they took me on and a time I’m grateful for. You have to really love the industry when the first couple of your years in it are spent unpacking stuff onto a rail and then putting them back again. 

Tell us a little about your experience before Thread?

After Mr Porter, I did the same at GQ. Across both of these internships, I learned a lot from some talented people – but I needed to start earning some money. (You can’t brag to your mates that you work at GQ if you can’t afford the drinks in the pub.) So I did as most who want to climb the fashion ladder do and started working in retail. I’d always romanticized Savile Row and managed to land a job at Gieves & Hawkes. I was still assisting on a freelance basis whenever one of the stylists I had met during my time at Mr. P and GQ needed someone and knew this was eventually where I wanted to end up. 

A few weeks in, I was considering training to become a tailor when I saw the job for a styling role at Thread. I applied and after seven interviews (yes, seven), I sadly didn’t get the job due to my very obvious lack of experience. I was told to stay in touch though, and I knew it was genuine so I did and a few months later I started as Thread’s first Junior Stylist. (I’m now a Senior Stylist.) 

How would you describe your personal style?

Smart but casual, modern but classic, and trendy yet timeless. 

Who are your biggest style icons?

Harry Styles, Skepta, and Thread stylist Millie Rich (but don’t tell her).

What is your favourite season when it comes to style?

Hmm that’s a tough one. I always look forward to the season we’re not in when it comes to style. But if I had to choose, I’d say A/W. Summer is more of a uniform. Tucked-in t-shirt with tailored trousers and converse for me. There’s more to choose when layering in the winter.

Do you have a style uniform you wear most days?

Historically no, I’d say I have quite an eclectic taste when it comes to style. Lots of different things inspire me. It would normally revolve around how I was feeling that day or even what I watched or listened to the night before. Some days, I feel like Harry Styles, some like Skepta. But I’m starting to move more towards a uniform, especially for work. 

I think being a stylist can come with an added pressure of having to look really stylish all the time. People can make a snap judgment about how good you are at what you do just by looking at what you’re wearing. I’m getting better at not caring about this. And that doesn’t mean I’m caring less about how what I wear makes me feel. I think it’s helping me to dress even better. Come back to me in a couple months when the uniform is locked down. 

Has your style changed at all since lockdown?

Yeah, a little. I’m definitely not the type to get fully dressed when I’m working from home all day, so I’ve invested in some more comfort pieces, but as we’re starting to get out more and more, I don’t see them working their way into my everyday wardrobe. 

What’s the most sentimental piece in your wardrobe?

Probably a light blue, unstructured jacket from Boggi. I’d seen it in store but exercised some self-restraint and didn’t buy it. A few weeks later my girlfriend and I were going to a fancy black tie event and I didn’t really have anything to wear jacket-wise. She turned up and asked me to go and get some earrings she’d left in the boot. You guessed it, there weren’t any earrings but a beautifully wrapped Boggi jacket. Pretty smooth. 

What’s the most worn item in your wardrobe?

A pair of black Converse trainers

What’s the most stylish film or TV show you’ve seen recently?

I enjoyed this more for the inspiring and mind-blowing insight into true creative genius: I finally got round to watching the Mcqueen documentary. For anyone disillusioned by some of the frivolity in the industry should watch it. It’s now on Netflix, so no excuses.

Any style rules you tend to break?

Honestly, I try not to pay too much attention to them. They haven’t really kept pace with the changes in menswear over the last decade or so, and there’s always exceptions. Especially when you work with as diverse a customer base as we have on Thread. There’s always someone who can pull it off. Don’t get me wrong, it’s invaluable knowing what doesn’t work for you as an individual, but that doesn’t mean slavishly listening to a set of rules that don’t really apply to contemporary dressing. 

Tell us about one of your favourite brands?

At the moment, I’m a huge fan of Stan Ray. The cut and details of the 80’s and OG Painter Pants are just what I'm after. 

What’s one style or trend you’d like to see go out of style?

Skinny tailoring and anything muscle fit. 

What’s been your most memorable Thread photoshoot thus far?

We shot an editorial in the Lake District last year. We worked with a crazy talented photographer in Mark Saunders and the most down to earth model in joe. On top of that, there were also loads of great dogs.

What style or trend are you most looking forward to wearing this autumn?

I’m enjoying the continuation of moving towards a more holistic way of dressing – not paying too much attention to seasons or formality. For example, there are loads of great pastels coming through in AW20. Colours that are traditionally associated with the spring / summer season. 

Looking to build a wardrobe that works year round just makes sense. It means brands can stop producing so much so often and consumers can stop feeling the need to buy all the time. Good for your wallet and for the planet. 

What are some of your favourite types of questions you get from clients?

I enjoy when clients are really trying to find their style. When someone’s trying to stamp their personality on something and is engaged with the process it’s really cool to be a part of that journey. 

What do you like to do outside of styling? 

I love walking my dog, Muay Thai, reading, and dabbling in film photography. 


Words: Allison Pavlick
Styling: Freddie Kemp