In Conversation with James Sleaford - Fashion Director of GQ France

We talked to James Sleaford -- Fashion Director of GQ France, long standing friend of the brand and gentleman -- about his friendship with Oli, his Paris hotspots and wardrobe basics...

Tell us about your relationship with Oli and your part in our shoot?

I really like Oli and what he's doing with his label; it's very me as well as being very GQ. Oli has found a really creative design niche for a contemporary men's casual wardrobe. It's what men want to wear and it's easy to wear and I knew that when I was invited to take part in the campaign with both Oli and Rankin that it would be fun to do to!

What are the biggest rewards of your job?

There are many rewards but the opportunity to do something creative every day and also get to travel around the world have to be the best! I also love going to the fashion shows – from London, Florence, Milan to Paris – there are so many fantastic things to see and discover.

What three things can't you live without and why?

Having passed my forties, I really am into my skin care products! Kiehl's eye cream is a great fixer in the morning. Then there's my dose of weekend football or rugby: I love sport and to go running too. Finally, my epsom style coat. Its goes with everything; one of my favourite things in my wardrobe.

Finish this sentence: 'I love Paris because...'.

... It's such a beautiful city. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I pass the Tour Eiffel when it's sparkling at night. Simply magic!

What is your definition of style?

Style for me is about the attitude that you put into the clothes that you wear; not about the clothes wearing you. It's not necessarily about spending lots of money either – it's about having the eye to pick out the items that suit you best. Of course you can mix everything together... But it's having that critical eye – even if something is in fashion to know whether its your style or not. The right t-shirt and jeans can look great with the right belt and the right trainers – it can be that simple!

Whats your go-to wardrobe basic?

Slim to straight leg denim jeans, great marl fitted t-shirt and desert boots.

3 Paris hotspots you would recommend… ?

I really love going to Rachel's, 25 Rue du Pont aux Choux, 75003 – it has one of the best selections of Cheesecake in town. The park Buttes-Chaumont, 1 Rue Botzaris in the 19th arrondissement. I love parks and in the summer this is one of my favorite places to relax and equally its great for jogging. And the Gallery Jeu de Paume, 1 Place de la Concorde 75001: one of my favourite galleries to see photographic and art exhibitions.

You can follow James Sleaford on Instagram, and see him in our SS16 campaign.

James Sleaford (2)

Oliver Spencer

From early beginnings as a self-taught tailor and shopkeeper, Oliver Spencer has built a brand around his vision: hand-crafted quality paired with stylish accents and details. In the words of GQ, a ‘uniquely British take on relaxed style’.

Read the Oliver Spencer story