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Style Profile: Les Basics

Style Profile: Les Basics

Finding the perfect white T-shirt is one of the top sartorial challenges a man faces in life. Fortunately, Kieron Hurley, founder of not-so-basic-basics brand, Les Basics, is here with the answer. Hurley is a man for all seasons, insofar as his collections are season-less. A simple but stylish offering of cotton essentials with an effortlessly cool, sports aesthetic in completely timeless styles, Les Basics is in essence a man’s wardrobe pared back to the bare necessities – T-shirts, jackets, sweats, trousers and caps. Influenced by childhoods spent camping on the banks of the Rive Ardèche and the innately chic outlook of the French, Hurley’s third collection is simple, minimalist and, ultimately, a great foundation from which to build a wardrobe. We caught up with the man himself to talk skate culture, Alain Delon and what makes the perfect white Tee.

On the Les Basics story . . .
The brand was kind of born out of necessity really, necessity being the mother of invention and all that – I was looking to start a new project and at the same time struggling to find a killer white Tee to replace the few threadbare ones I had left. The more I looked the more I realised there was nothing that interesting out there and it dawned on me that what the world desperately needed, and the inspiration for my next project, was staring me in the face – a well designed, sensibly priced, premium, not-so-basic-basics collection. Et voila, Les Basics was born.

On what the brand stands for . . .
Quality, simplicity, functionality, originality and value for money.

On his fashion background . . .
My first fashion brand was RedDot which was probably best known for the trompe l’oeil prints we pioneered (headphones around neck, sunglasses and gun in jeans probably being the most notorious). Before that I had a proper job and was a partner in a record label called Acid Jazz.

On the role of basics in his wardrobe. . .
They’re key, you (or at least I) can’t really function without a good stash of easy pieces you can throw on in the dark and know will work with whatever else you happen to be wearing.

We’re all exposed to so much music, film, art, fashion, you name it, 24/7, which we have limited time to process, so I try not to waste any time on anything unless it’s really good, then invest some time enjoying that properly.

On French influences . . .
It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why but there’s something undeniably cool about France and the French, for me anyway. A Bout De Souffle, Alain Delon, L’Etranger - all very evocative of an effortlessly chic state of being which I like to think is reflected in at least some way by the easy to wear nature and good look of Les Basics.

I spent a lot of time in the Ardèche as a kid. One of the few benefits of having hippy teachers as parents is that we used to spend the entirety of the school summer holiday camping “sauvage” on the banks of the Ardèche. We’d load our Mini and its roof rack up with enough food for 6 weeks, a camping stove, a tent and a change of clothes each, drive for 2 days then spend the next 6 weeks exploring the river (in our leaky rubber dinghy) and local villages.

It would have been between the early and mid-eighties so you can imagine how fantastically the locals were kitted out, it looked like one of those random seventies French movies set on the Cote D’Azure you sometimes stumble across late at night in a Paris hotel room. And those Orangina and baby-foot afternoons spent honing my skills against the local kids in a nicotine stained river side café . . . I can smell that strangely sweet aroma of Gauloises mixed with coffee now.

So my personal and very fond memories of the south of France as a kid, mixed with Gainsbourg, Belmondo and the other celebrated proponents of the French laissez faire attitude we’ve all been exposed to, have certainly influenced me to a degree, and through that Les Basics.

On London’s effect on the brand . . .
It’s difficult to say because I live here and when you’re immersed in a place you don’t really see what’s going on like you would from the outside. Having said that, London’s arguably in the top 3 greatest cities on the planet so by absorbing everything that’s going on here, the product I design should at worst be current and relevant. I’d like to think it’s a bit ahead of the curve but I’m biased, of course.

On the brand’s alternative inspirations . . .
Sportwear is very relevant because I try to fuse sportswear with more formal sensibilities when designing, like for example Le Short Pant, Le Roll Neck, Le Sports Coat and Le Peak Cap as an outfit which is a real mix of like I say above, sportswear and more formal sensibilities. Skate culture is relevant just generally. I was a very average skateboarder but like everyone else, absorbed the style that went with it by osmosis. I have a love of music but it used to be my job so that’s a slightly different relationship to what it was when I was just a fan. I think generally speaking the secret is to edit out the junk and focus only on the good stuff . . . we’re all exposed to so much music, film, art, fashion, you name it, 24/7, which we have limited time to process, so I try not to waste any time on anything unless it’s really good, then invest some time enjoying that properly.

On what sets Les Basics apart from other brands . . .
I’d like to think the choice and use of fabric is always interesting and the design is well considered, sometimes unexpected. I also think you get a lot for your money comparatively speaking.

On what makes the perfect casual, capsule wardrobe . . .
A full Les Basics collection would do it, failing that a good pair of sneakers, a neutral pant, your favourite Tee, a good sweat or knit, an easy wind cheater or blazer and a hat.

On what makes the perfect white T-shirt . . .
Fabric and fit, and a Les Basics label.



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