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Oliver’s Army – Ian, Marylebone Store Manager
Welcome to another instalment of Oliver’s Army. Named of course after the Elvis Costello song (how could we not ) it’s your way of getting to know the Sweeney team – and understand a bit more about what goes on behind the scenes. Today it’s the manager of our Marylebone store. Ian. Hailing from Yorkshire, Ian began working for Sweeney at our Leeds store and recently made the jump to London. How’s he enjoying the Big Smoke Read on and discover…
Where are you from
I’m from a little place called Cudworth in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. If you’ve ever seen Kes or stone island half button jumper grey marl Brassed Off then you’ll know exactly where I’m from! After Barnsley I lived in Leeds and York, before making the move to London last summer.
When did you join Oliver Sweeney
I joined Oliver Sweeney in 2010 as Assistant Manager at our Leeds store and worked there for almost five years. Before Oliver Sweeney I worked for TM Lewin and Gieves & Hawkes.
Describe your job in a sentence.
I’m Store Manager of our Marylebone High Street store and I also manage our repairs service, which is based at a small factory in Suffolk.
Why do you love working here
Quite simply it’s the people and the product. I’m fortunate that my job allows me to meet and work with such an interesting and diverse group of people, from customers, to store and head office staff, as well as our factory workers and people from other brands that we link up with. Most of these people are incredibly passionate about footwear, but more so about Oliver Sweeney and the quality, creativity and energy behind the brand. It’s easy to feed off that enthusiasm.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned while working here
Visiting our factory in Italy and seeing how our shoes are made from the very beginning – that really was an invaluable learning experience.
What’s your most embarrassing style moment
Whilst working for Gieves I thought that white cotton trousers paired with white brogues was a good look for summer, which it definitely can be in the right environment, like the French Riviera for example… Leeds however wasn’t quite ready for it, so I only wore that once.
How would you describe your style
I like to think that it’s quite classic and simple. I always look for items that are versatile, comfortable and well made, as well as being functional, which can make up an easily interchangeable capsule wardrobe. I pay a lot of attention to materials and will always try to invest in timeless quality pieces. Grey, navy and white feature quite heavily for me!
What would be your desert island disc
Definitely Forty Licks by the Rolling Stones. Recently though, I’ve been addicted to Islands by Bears Den and Balcony by Catfish and the Bottlemen.
Which people, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party
Keith Richards, Lionel Messi, Leonardo da Vinci, Martin Scorsese, Derren Brown, Ian Fleming and Ricky Gervais.
Where’s your favourite place in the world
It’s a tough call between London and New York, but I’m going to go for the latter as NY really is a 24 hour city. Next month I’m staying in Brooklyn for two weeks and I just can’t wait. I’ve always loved exploring big cities, so NY is perfect, plus my girlfriend and I have some friends and family there. The sheer variety of people, places, events and ideas there is always completely fascinating.
What’s your most treasured possession
I have two; a picture of my two dogs and a signet ring that belonged to my grandfather.
Which living person do you most admire and why
There isn’t a specific person that immediately springs to mind here, but I guess I most admire multi-talented people, those at the top end of the spectrum who appear to be effortlessly brilliant in more than one area. For example, someone like Jo Nesbø: a best-selling author, chart-topping musician, ex-professional footballer, financial analyst, and so on. I find people like this very motivating as I realise that I can always be doing more with my time, and working harder.
What would your superpower be
As much as I’d like to fly, be super strong or have the Bernard’s Watch time control thing, I think it would be a lot of fun to be able to speak to and understand animals. I’d just love to know what they’re actually thinking.
Who would play you in the film of your life
A good young British actor (Americans might struggle with the Yorkshire accent!), so someone like Jamie Bell.
How do you relax
In my spare time I like to run, cycle and read. Since moving to London I’ve also been to see a lot of live music, theatre and exhibitions. Generally I always find exploring and discovering new things quite relaxing. Once or twice a month I’ll get out of London to visit Manchester or Yorkshire and that’s when I can really switch off.
What’s your favourite item from current season Oliver Sweeney
Our Langton cycling jacket, it’s everything that I look for in an item of clothing; simple, versatile and functional. The hidden 3M reflective panels are a fantastic detail. Hopefully I’ll be adding this to my wardrobe very soon.
Which Sweeneys are next on your list
Both the Osimo Tan luxury trainers and the Venarotta Brown Bologna boot. These two styles are absolutely perfect for my style; clean and practical with a focus on quality leathers and comfortable constructions.