Mini photo shoot for upcoming Italian shirts collection

Time for some outdoor fun! We had a quick low-key photo shoot recently in May in Geneve, Switzerland that went really well. Actually I like every photo shoot we do (even the ones that endure an entire day and night). This mini shoot was indeed the fastest I've ever been involved in. It was all over within 1.5 hours with close to 700 photos taken. The conditions were not ideal but the photos turned out exactly how we had imagined (photos coming soon). 

But, before the photo shoot there's always the enjoyable task of scouting for a suitable location. There were several options on our short list but the winner just seemed right. I love boats and love water even more so it was not a difficult choice when I stumbled upon an idyllic location that had both on offer. 

Location photo shoot Italian shirts

The weather on the scouting day was great, not at all indicative of what it would be like on the day of the photo shoot. But, as they saying goes, when you get lemons, you make the best damn lemonade you can. And, I think we did just that. We had great models to work with whose attitude and cooperation were just perfect.

Behind the scenes (models prep) Italian shirts
Behind the scenes (lens) Italian shirts

As the wind picked up and the clouds engulfed the late afternoon sun it was time to call it a wrap. Quite happy with the result. The editing part is always an enjoyable yet challenging task to take on especially when there are so many good photos to consider.

Post shoot editing (short list photos) upcoming Italian shirts (blue)
Post shoot editing (short list photos) upcoming Italian shirts (pink)

In the end though the final short list was made and the finalists queued for their future life as a banner, lifestyle shot, social media post and a whole lot more. Looking forward to the day we release these gems. Stay tuned!

Looking forward to the next shoot already. 

Sunglasses for 2017

It's that time of year again in Europe when the sun starts to reassert itself at angles that make so many of us happy. Spring is in the air and the bright, sunny weather beckons for us to organize our favourite sunglasses to be at the ready for the warm months ahead. I'm quite happy with my current fleet of sun bouncers but love keeping an eye out on what's new and what styles have been revived from days gone by. It is in this pursuit that I stumbled upon a set of articles befitting of this task for men's and women's collections crafted by a brand that makes retro sunglasses in New York City called Vint & York Eyewear.

Top 10 best men's sunglasses trends for 2017.

Top 10 best women's sunglasses trends for 2017.

These articles provide a healthy stock of pictures and examples of trending frames within a number of different categories that I found interesting and useful. Round shapes abound along with metal frames, removable metal clip-on lenses and one of my all time favourites, tortoiseshell frames (in particular the Draper Keyhole Bridge frames).

Vint & York The Draper

While perusing the Vint & York web site I also came across the following information I thought worthy of sharing. 

1)   There is a filter on the Shop page for frames sizes that are narrow, medium or wide. This is great idea for all websites selling sunglasses online to help shoppers narrow the range from the get go.

2)   V&Y New York has also produced a very useful article on how to choose the right frame according to the shape of your face. It's worth checking out and keeping handy for your next sunglasses try-on session.  

Also not to be missed in the world of sunglasses is a brand on the rise with much international acclaim by the name of 'Pared Eyewear'.  The master chef behind these creations is none other than a friend of mine, Samantha Stevenson-Baker along with her partner Edward Baker. Born under the Australian sun 'Pared Eyewear' has ventured far from its antipodean shores making its mark on the international fashion scene. Besides their creations ticking so many boxes in the aesthetics department, Pared Eyewear pursues a philosophy of quality that resonates beautifully with our own approach.

These fashion visionaries are on to a good thing and definitely one to watch. From their current collections I like the Puss & Boots (Deco corners) frames for her.

Puss & Boots sunglasses

For him I quite like the Bigger & Better unisex frames.

Pared Eyewear Bigger & Better

A few parting tips from Pared's website on how to care for your sunglasses to keep them in shape.

1) Use both hands when handling

2) Fold the left arm under the right arm when closing

3) Avoid wearing your sunglasses on top of your head as it can distort the fit and stretch the arms making repairs more challenging.

Enjoy your hunt for the perfect sunglasses! Paul

Glass water bottles over plastic

We make clothes with a passion to make people look and feel great. But beneath the surface we find it super important that people look after themselves so that they can get the most out of life. It is in this vein that I would like to start sharing some of the adjustments I've made over the years to make my life healthier and hope that others can also benefit from this information, or at least that it triggers something positive to take place. All of the information that I will share is based on research I've undertaken, products that I've bought and tried over a period of time. If I mention specific products I'm sure that there are others on the market that are equally good or even better (hope you can share your thoughts on these along the way to help others to benefit from your research and experiences).

ALTERNATIVE TO PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES:

Today I want to start with something I started a couple of years ago following my quest to reduce my potential exposure to plastic in the water I drink and to help my sister who had fallen ill with Lymphoma also avoid any potential exposure to chemicals (she's fighting fit now and in great health). So, I bought us both a glass water bottle (with a BPA free plastic lid) that I use at the gym, at my desk and at home (actually I bought two, one for the office, and the other I use for the gym and home). Sure, I still buy plastic water bottles from time to time when I'm out and about but this is minimal. I don't know for sure that there are chemicals in my plastic water bottles, but, on the flip side, I can't be sure that they're not there either (especially if I accidentally leave my bottle exposed to the sun or heat).

A number of years ago I discovered a brand of glass bottle aimed at reducing chemicals from plastics in water called Lifefactory (from Sausalito California). The brand was born in 2007 created by a team of two including a pediatric physical therapist Pam Marcus motivated by a concern over the prevalence of harmful chemicals and plastics in the systems that feed and hydrate children at their most vulnerable stages in hospital. I'm super happy with this product and have purchased a number of bottles over the years as gifts for family members. The glass is hardened and has proven robust and handled the odd fall here and there with no chips or cracks to be found (I haven't tried to test the boundaries on this one but feel free to share your experiences). I prefer the 650ml (22 ounces) bottle in terms of size and weight. With regards to the type of cap, I have both the classic cap and the flip cap. The former is ideal for my gym bag after I learned the hard way with the flip cap coming undone a few times (Lifefactory has a new Active Flip Cap that overcomes this problem). The water bottle with the flip cap underwent a sideways promotion landing an important role on my desk helping to keep me hydrated and drinking clean water throughout the day. I've noticed that I drink a lot more water since getting the water bottles and making them readily available. You can discover the full range of glass bottles on the Lifefactory website or from a huge range of online shops or stockists near you.  www.lifefactory.com 

This is the first of a number of health-focused posts that I will be sharing in the near future through this blog. I hope that you get something out of them. I think it's a lot easier to introduce small changes proactively while we are still healthy than it is to play catch-up if our health were to become compromised. This is the carrot or rewards based side of the carrot or stick approach. However, sadly, it's usually the stick that motivates people to initiate health related changes. I've come to appreciate the cumulative effect over the years that small changes to one's health can have. On their own, some of the changes don't seem like much but, when added together over time they can have a significant impact on one's quality of life. Wishing you all a very healthy month ahead!

Paul

Paul Yan health tips
Lifefactory_bottles_01

Things that inspire me

Now I don't know about you but I rarely pick up and read a book. I think I've found three pretty good excuses for that.

One, I don't really find the time to read even though I do spend at least one hour per day commuting but seem to find it more interesting to just stare out the window of the bus or refresh my Facebook feed 6 times per minute.

Two, I have been self-diagnosed with the attention span comparable to that of a pigeon. No offence to the kingdom of poultry.

Three, I'm more of a visual kind of guy, static letters don't seem to really do it for me. I'm usually one of the first people to say 'I'll wait for the movie'. I have been waiting pretty long for some movies to make it to the big screen.

I'm writing this blog overlooking Nai Harn beach in Phuket, Thailand. I'm absolutely loving this place and wanted to show you some of its beauty while you're reading through this blog.

Nai Harn Beach

Sometimes I do feel bad about not reading much, in particular when I talk to people who are reading books as fast as they blink. While I'm hearing them listing the inventory of their portfolio, I'm anxiously trying to think of anything insightful to say. My standard reply in most cases is to refer to the book I last read, that was a little while ago. Don't get me wrong, I do read and try to continue to learn new things, just not through books full of lengthy pages.

A few weeks ago I was engaged in a fun conversation with a lady I had just met in Berlin. When we started talking about books, alarm bells instantly started to ring inside my head. Taking a huge risk of potentially ending our conversation very suddenly, I bluntly said that I just don't have the time to read... bam! And then there was silence... but not for long. By miracle she replied: 'Thank god, I haven't read a book in ages and I thought that I was the only one who didn't read'. A bond was instantly formed, we were on the same page.

When I do read - once in a blue moon - I prefer to read things related to communication skills, entrepreneurship, personal growth or motivation. I'm not saying that I'm a star in all of these areas but I do aspire to be good at them. One of the things that frustrates me sometimes though is that these books often tend to be way longer than they should be. I'm sure that in many books, the same insights could be conveyed in a much more to-the-point way that people will actually remember. Maybe when a writer finishes a book, they should be like 'right, let's now get rid of all the bla-bla and reduce the content by at least 50%'. I just started using the Blinkist App, it provides excellent summaries of many popular books. For people like me this is a blessing in disguise as it allows me to learn new things in the nick of time. Yey.

I have come across a few books that did succeed to keep my attention to the very end, or almost, and have given me inspiration in how I manage my personal life, enjoy things, operate at work, come up with ideas for my fashion label Staunton Moods, or simply new business ideas.

I wanted to share a few examples of inspiring things I've read, seen or heard that made an impact on me and which may get your interest as well.

RICH DAD, POOR DAD BY ROBERT KIYOSAKI & SHARON LECHTER, 1997

In a nutshell, this book talks about a kid who's been influenced throughout his childhood by two kinds of Dads. His own Dad and the Dad of one of his best friends. His Dad, the 'Poor' Dad, is pretty risk averse. He has the belief that life is about working hard, ideally in a safe government job, paying bills as soon as they come in, buying a property to live in, saving money and finally reaping the benefits of all that hard work upon retirement.

The 'Rich' Dad is a risk taker, an entrepreneur who believes in having money work for him. He has his own business and also invests in various properties. Rich Dad pays his bills as late as possible, usually on the due date so that money can stay in his hands as long as possible and can be used for investing in the meantime.

There is no right or wrong in both Dads' approaches as it all depends on who you are as a person and the level of risk you are prepared to take to achieve things in life. I recognised parts of myself in both characters and got a better understanding on the Rich Dad vs Poor Dad balance that works best for me. Another key lesson is to focus more on advice taken from people who have actual experience in the area in which they are advising you.

The time put into reading this book was certainly well invested as I got heaps of new ideas for businesses.

Flowers
Nai Harn Hotel

THE SECRET BY RHONDA BYRNE, 2006

I can hear some teeth grinding by those who have read this book or watched the documentary and didn't like it. I love positive thinking and this is what The Secret is all about. Your thoughts should focus on what you want in life and certainly not on what you don't want. What you think about, you bring about. If you think positive thoughts such as your ideal lifestyle, physique or social life, you will attract more of that into your life. The same applies to thinking the opposite of what you want, that's what you'll attract.

Even though I thought that the documentary was great and I have watched it several times over the years, there are a few instances where it does come across as a bit too high level and gives the impression of lacking a little scientific substance. However, if you have watched 'What The Bleep Do We Know', The Secret makes perfect sense as it talks about 'behavioural' changes manifesting into tangible results. The process of how that works is scientifically explained in the next documentary.

WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW!?, 2004 AND WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW - DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE BY TOO MANY PEOPLE TO LIST, 2006

I'll keep the summary of this one very brief as I could lose you down the rabbit hole as well trying to explain it. In addition I'm not an expert in this topic so it could become messy. I encourage you to watch both documentaries that talk about the manifestation of change through a very fancy term called quantum physics! The way in which you think has an influence on how you feel and ultimately has a real impact on your body and even it's smallest cells. Golly!

THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK BY TIM FERRISS, 2007

I have to be honest, I haven't entirely finished this book yet but I like what I've read so far. Tim talks about how you can get the work equivalent of a 5 day week done in just 4 hours per week by taking a smarter approach to how you work. FYI, can you notice that the further you progress through the book overviews in this blog, the shorter the summaries are becoming? Maybe I should produce a movie as well out of this blog just to cater for my own attention span needs.

More flowers
Sunbaking

AND THEN MY FAVOURITE OF ALL - TEDTALKS!

Being a little bit ignorant again, I thought that TedTalks were a very recent thing, maximum a couple of years old. To my surprise, TED was actually founded in 1984! I also just Googled what TED stands for, it's not just a cool name but it means Technology, Entertainment and Design. If you didn't know that, there's your insight of the day.

Two TedTalks have truly caught my attention in the past few months.

HOW GREAT LEADERS INSPIRE ACTION BY SIMON SINEK

This guy could be reading the phone book and I'd probably remain on the edge of my seat till we reach the letter Z. This talk covers what makes companies successful and how they inspire action. The approach to success can be summarised into three simple steps; what you sell, how you sell, and why you sell.

When most companies communicate with their customers, the usual approach is to firstly focus on what they sell, could be either phones, computers, t-shirts, holidays. Then they go into how they sell it. Think about where you buy your products, in a fancy store, online, or how it's packaged. Finally they conclude with the why - why do they sell this?

Every company should cover each of these three steps in their communication with customers. However, the time dedicated to each and how they are being prioritised usually is in the wrong order. Simon's key message is that what people 'buy' is the 'Why' and not the 'What'. Therefore companies should be thinking about their why, their purpose, and lead with this as they engage with their prospects and customers.

Companies that have been very successful in this approach are Apple and Tesla. We can also think beyond companies, some people have excelled at this. Martin Luther King is a great example as he managed to inspire many people through a dream he had.

Watching this TedTalk has also given me time to reflect upon the purpose of Staunton Moods which is not just about making shirts and scarves, it's about making people look and feel great.

YOUR BODY LANGUAGE SHAPES WHO YOU ARE, AMY CUDDY

I sometimes receive compliments when I speak in public but personally I do not enjoy it that much - the speaking in public part that is - whereas the compliments I'm very excited about. Being on stage often makes me feel self-conscious and I get shocked by the sound of my own voice blasting through a speaker. It's not my favourite sound.

Watching Amy's TedTalk has taught me some tricks to overcome this unease and enjoy speaking in public a lot more.

It's very simple but note that you may feel extremely silly the first time you do this and check the room for any hidden cameras. The thing to do is to take on a few power poses prior to your performance, just for a few minutes and most certainly not in front of the audience you're about to talk to. I've used my hotel room for this and even public toilets that can be a pretty discrete location for this. The simple act of taking on these poses creates a chemical reaction in your body and translates into a change of your behaviour and how people perceive you publicly.

I tried it and it works for me. Going to keep this one up my sleeve and always be at the ready when it's needed.

Dieter DK
Nai Harn beach 2

Time for me to wrap-up this blog, I hope you have enjoyed it and if you did, I'd be very grateful if you'd share this with anyone you think that could benefit from reading this.

Life is good.

Dieter De Keijser

 

 

Bern Christmas Market

As Christmas approaches each year, an activity that I get a lot of enjoyment from is to visit the Christmas markets in a beautiful European city. This year a bunch of friends and I descended upon Bern to experience what they had to offer and they did not disappoint. There's often a similar feel to the types of Christmas stores and items for sale across many of the markets I've been to over the years. This I've discovered doesn't really matter at all as it's the kick I get from being with close friends in these settings that motivates me to visit them in the first instance. When you think of it there's a level of discomfort in being in a crowded place outdoors with the winter chill biting away at you. But, any thoughts of discomfort are quickly overcome by the buzz in the air brought about by the hordes of happy market goers zigzagging through the stores and narrow passage ways or huddled around together keeping warm over a hot mug of glühwein. 

There are two main areas to Bern's Christmas markets, the larger part takes place in the Waisenhausplatz with the second area set up in the smaller Münsterplatz in front of the impressive Berner Münster (cathedral). The Münsterplatz area is well worth a visit for a more intimate (shoulder to shoulder) experience. I tried my first 'white' based glühwein that I'd never seen before. The taste was pleasant, slightly on the sweet side, but not superior to the traditional red-based variety that I gravitated towards for the rest of the evening. The ambiance in this square was magic. The air was heavily scented with the pleasant vapours of glühwein and yet drowning under the acoustic weight of conversations ping ponging across the square edging upwards in volume as the tightly knit groups competed to be heard. 

Bern Christmas markets Münsterplatz_02
Bern Christmas markets Münsterplatz_01

I'm not an avid shopper for arts and crafts but I must say that the stores here were full of quality crafts that were well worth a visit. In particular, I was drawn to a colourful candle store lured by the impressive arrangements the owner had concocted with great skill. It was like a symphony of colours carefully arranged like notes with nothing out of order just begging you to come and visit. 

Bern Christmas markets Münsterplatz_03

Next we migrated back to the larger part of the markets in the Waisenhausplatz where we were drawn to the bar at the end of the stores. Housed within a wooden barn-type structure, the bar's top floor boasted impressive views over the markets below. It was a perfect vantage point to take in the happy vibes of the Christmas markets below and to just enjoy being in the moment with great friends in a great city. Paul

Bern Christmas markets Waisenhausplatz_04

Best of Dubai

We've had the opportunity to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) already a few times this year getting to know it a little better each time. So, I thought there was no better time for us to share our list of 'top things to do and see in Dubai' for those of you looking to visit, or for inspiration to visit, this impressive destination. Enjoy the read!

Burj Khalifa
Dubay by Night

FAIRMONT THE PALM

Fairmont The Palm is the hotel I've been most impressed with in the UAE so far in terms of delivering exceptional customer service. The hotel staff are super nice and a little clairvoyant as they anticipated with great precision answers to whatever questions I would throw at them. Oh and yes, the hotel itself is not too shabby either - it's rather big to say the least. A labyrinth of luxury! As the name of the hotel suggests, the Fairmont is built on The Palm - a 5 by 5 km (3.1 by 3.1 mi) artificial island built in the shape of a palm tree. The five star Fairmont is located on the trunk of the Palm. To help me celebrate my birthday while a guest of the hotel, the staff gave me an excellent room with stunning views over the Persian Gulf.

Oh, and if you'd be planning to spend some time on the beach, you must order something to eat or drink while chilling on a sunbed. Not because of the exceptional food or drinks (which is great anyway) but because it's such a thrill to get your order delivered directly to your sunbed wherever you find yourself on the beach! Everything gets delivered to you by smartly dressed waiters on all-terrain Segways! It's fantastic to see the waiters racing around on the beach pivoting here and there on these very impressive machines that autobalance like sophisticated rocking horses. Personally I still have a bit of a fear of Segways (when I'm at the wheel) after I got catapulted in the air last year when hitting the side of a curb on one. I didn't think that they could crash so easily (Google it).

Beach

One of the great things with hotels the size of the Fairmont, is that they usually have a variety of restaurants with different cuisines to choose from. If you want to have an exceptional Chinese food experience, fusion restaurant 'Bā' is your place to go. If the weather allows it in the evening and it's not too hot for you, ask for a table on the deck outside where you'll have some very nice city and water views. The food is sensational as was the service to match. Interesting fact Bā means '8' in Chinese and symbolizes wealth, prosperity and good fortune.

Ba
Fairmont

BUDDHA BAR

If you're looking for a trendy bar, definitely check out Buddha Bar inside the luxurious Grosvenor house, right in the heart of the Dubai Marina. Apparently the place to be for Dubai residents.

Although we rocked up with five people without a reservation, we managed to get a table surrounded by comfortable couches - begging you to put your pyjamas on and slumber away - in a more private section of the bar. The good thing about this spot was that we were able to still talk to each other while the music was roaring in the background - and managed to stay away from the heavy smoking going on at the bar itself. If you're a bit peckish, definitely try some of the delicious food on the menu. And if you're into a nice Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region in New Zealand, it will be your lucky night.

Some of the cool features of the bar are the overhanging red and gold chandeliers. Quite bling bling.

Buddha Bar R
Buddha Bar L

BAHRI BAR

Want to enjoy a refreshing cocktail, sip champagne or eat some delicious middle-eastern cuisine 'tapas style' while being blown away by a stunning view of the Burj al Arab? Well no need to look any further. Bahri Bar offers you all that. The chic decor is very Arabian with its Persian rugs and dark wood highlights. And if you go by night like we did, the ambiance is just awesome, simply absorb the stunning views while you're on the balcony and lap up the relaxing music from the DJ playing in the background.

Bahri Bar R
Bahri Bar L

SIGHTSEEING FROM THE AIR

I'm a huge fan of hop-on hop-off busses as in a relatively short amount of time you can get a good view of the size of a city and its main landmarks. However, on this occasion I got pleasantly surprised for my birthday and the hop-on hop-off bus got traded in for a scenic flight in an Agusta Helicopter over Dubai. Only one word that described my impression: WOW!

Seeing the 828m (2,722 ft) tall Burj Khalifa, sail-like Burj al Arab, 'The Palm' and 'The World' by air is simply incredible! This was definitely the coolest birthday surprise ever which has given me great memories for life. Dubai from the air is a visual delight. Images tell a thousand words, take a look at these shots. 

The world
Heli L
Burj al Arab R
Atlantis L

THE CHERRY ON THE CAKE

We were very lucky to have a close friend of ours who lives in Dubai to take us on a private tour around the city. The highlight of his custom made program was going in his four wheel drive into the desert along the highway. Now if you're not a fan of risky things, you definitely want to avoid this tour guide. I saw my life flash by a few times but had the thrill of a lifetime going up and down the dunes while trying not to do a roly poly (forward roll) with the car.

Bubbles
Desert

Cheers to an amazing holiday! 

The Artist Inside

This short film produced by our friends @SoMoney features our newest Staunton Moods ambassador, the upcoming English landscape artist, Alex Inchbald.

Alex sums up everything we stand for: creativity, elegance and a belief that we can adapt to every moment. Shot high above the French ski resort of Chamonix, right in front of Mont Blanc, it's one of the most extreme tests we've put our shirts through. Alex told us afterwards "... if it hadn't got so cold I'd have covered the shirt in paint too!" 

Painter 3
Painter 1

Check the entire video on Alex's site. The video showcases some breathtaking views of the Alpes while real art is being created.  We love the parallels between the Purple Wonderland Mood shirt Alex was wearing and the coloured theme of his stunning painting. A great talent and a MUST see!

Painter 2
Painter 4

Making of a new photo shoot

Ghent, Belgium - Saturday 7 September 7.00 am. There's a torturous beeping sound bouncing around the bedroom, time to wake up and get ready for our second photo shoot with our brand new Geneva based model from Jersey: Rob.

Rob's a great friend of ours and helped us out at short notice by being a Staunton Moods model when we urgently needed to get new images taken of our entire Staunton Moods collection for an upcoming department store launch. Stay tuned! 

Fast forward to 8 am, car stacked with croissants, pastries and coffee, Paul, Rob and I head off on a one-hour car journey en route to our photographer's studio in West-Flanders. Peter is, in our opinion, the best photographer we could work with and we can proudly say that he took every single professional picture you can see on stauntonmoods.com

At 10 am we're in the full swing of taking pictures in one of the biggest photo studios we've ever seen. 19 shirts each have to be shot in five different ways: 1: from the front with the top button closed, 2: then open, 3: frontal with the sleeves rolled up, 4: and sideways with the top button closed, 5: then open. 

Shirt Front

Taking pics

Floor markers are put in place to ensure that Rob's position remains the same in every single shot. Each time a new shirt is put on, or worn in a different way, we  double-check if the shirt looks impeccable and folds or creases are minimal. Rob has to maintain a consistent pose with his head, shoulders, and hands always in the same place, at the right angles. 

Marks
View.JPG

Once we are happy with each look, a single image is taken with a pretty impressive piece of camera equipment and instantly relayed via cable to a computer screen so that we can verify the image without delay. If the result is good we are ready for the next shirt shot, if not, we continue to redo until we're 100% happy. 

Prepare shot
Image control

By the time it's 1 pm we're just over half way with the images and deserve a lunch break. Peter's wife Hilde knows how to spoil us and treats us to some of the best Belgian sandwiches outside on the terrace. We are accompanied by Hilde and Peter's daughters - possibly the most IT savvy kids I've ever met in my life!

A bit later on - and with a full stomach - we are back on track inside the studio and shooting away. Finally, after a six-hour shoot our mission is complete. Quite a marathon effort for Rob who did a tremendous job, a true professional who made sure that our photos looked perfect! 

Green Ghoulies

Light test

In total, we took around 400 pictures on the day of which 95 were selected for display on stauntonmoods.comPinterest and the online store of a major department chain we'll shortly be retailing at (to be announced soon). All pictures are handed to us by Peter on a precious external hard disk I'm guarding with my life and we are invited to some lovely wine tasting (my favourite part of the day!).

After handing my car keys over to Paul (I may have enjoyed the wine tasting a little bit too much) we head back to Ghent and treat Rob to a well deserved dinner at one of our favourite restaurants in Ghent, 'Domestica' followed by drinks at the factory-like Limonada bar.

11.30 PM, not of our usual habit on a Saturday night but it's time to turn off the lights. We had a ball.

A very big thank you to Rob and Peter for making our shoot a success. I also want to say a massive thank you to my dad André and his better half Lin for preparing all 19 shirts for the shoot. They invested hours at their place in Ghent to wash, iron and pack all of the shirts for the shoot so that they would look fantastic. 

comic 2

Shirt on Rack

Want to see the images we took during our 6 hour shoot? Check the Staunton Moods Shirt Collection Board on Pinterest.

The secret behind our Moods

Our designs are truly exclusive and aim to bring a touch of art into a men's shirt to arrive at a unique product that literally stands out from the crowd.

A lot of research, thought and hard work has gone into the intricate and unique printed patterns that you see on the inside of our shirts, in particular the collar, cuffs and placket. We call these patterns 'Moods'.

Our designers receive a general brief for the direction of a design and are then given a 'carte-blanche' during the design phase allowing them to express their emotions, creativity, and mood when crafting their unique designs.

Once the Moods have been designed, we need to bring them to life. To ensure our shirt fabrics are all made of natural fibres, we select fabric that is 100% cotton. Printing a high quality product onto cotton with such fine detail and colour brightness requires a labour intensive, artisanal printing method. The Moods are printed with ink on finely woven Italian-made 100% cotton with a satin-finish which really boosts the colours of the Moods. We have selected water-based ink for printing to reduce our ecological footprint (but don't worry, the ink will not wash off due to the treatment it undergoes during production). 

After a long and thorough printing process, the fabric needs to dry for many hours and is then treated to ensure that the ink attaches 100% to the fabric. It is then washed and dried again. This is why we can guarantee you that, when washing your shirt over and over again up to 40 degrees, the colours will remain strong and bright.

The entire process of printing and treating 10 meters of fabric takes over 9 hours. We print in high-resolution which is why there are so many intricate details in our Moods.

Red Ghoulies shirt
Red Ghoulies fabric

Madrid in 3 days

We've just returned from a brilliant long weekend in Madrid and wanted to share some tips with you on where to go if you're planning a visit.

A very big thank you to our amazing friends who recommended some of these places to us.

Madrid is an amazing city and here's why:

  • People are very friendly, hospitable, outgoing and they know how to party
  • The food and wine are to die for
  • The architecture is stunning especially when lit up at night
Madrid by Night 1
Madrid by Night 2

Location, location, location:

We rented a stylish little apartment from Madrid4Rentals in the Chueca district. This lively neighbourhood - or barrio - is right in the centre of Madrid, just off the famous Gran Via, and known for its night-life, trendy bars, clubs, restaurants, coffee-houses and designer shops. Definitely the place to stay if you want to be based in the heart of this buzzing city and surrounded by literally anything you can think of.

Madrid Flat 1
Madrid Flat 2

Attractions:

We kicked-off our first day by exploring the city with the best new type of transport in town: a Segway.

Our guide Fran from Madrid Segway took us through the streets of Madrid on a 90-minute guided tour.

We explored some amazing locations including the beautiful Parque del Retiro filled with its stunning sculptures, gardens and mix of lakes, ponds and streams, as well as the busy shopping streets throughout the city centre. Mental note not to drive too close to pedestrians in the future as I think I may have scared the living daylights out of a few of them.

It was a very enjoyable experience as Segways are great fun and can cover much greater distances than you can on foot seeing a lot more sites in a very short timeframe. Ask for Fran as your guide, possibly the best and friendliest guide Madrid has to offer.

Segway 1
Segway 2

We were very happy to walk in the footsteps of Nicole Kidman, Michael Douglas and many other celebrities whose photos adorn the wall of the entrance hall to the Corral de la Moreria who have all experienced their famous Tablao Flamenco dance and dinner show. It's been featured in the '1000 Places to visit before you die' book and awarded the 'World's best tablao Flamenco'. We couldn't agree more. The combination of dinner and show was a very good choice. The food was divine and the dancing was just incredible. I was impressed to see the dancers perform with such passion, detail and speed. I caught myself unconsciously tapping along with my right food under the table - albeit at a slightly slower pace.

Flamenco 2
Flamenco 1

Culinary treats:

At Mercado de La Reina you can have delicious tapas right at the slick bar or opt to dine in the restaurant at the back of the establishment. We really recommend you try the Jamón ibérico croquettas, Padrón peppers and grilled octopus with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Best served with a nice bottle of Rioja.

Mercado Reina 2
Mercado Reina 1

Talking about gastronomy. If you want to experience finger-licking food in a unique setting, this reinvention of the Basque tavern 'Orio' is your place. A very cool feature is the 12 metre fishing boat suspended from the ceiling. Instead of dining at the more traditional 'Pintxos bar' we occupied a table in the restaurant upstairs. I recommend the Getaria anchovies with olive oil, "Orio" salad, Mussels in txakoli wine sauce, and pretty much everything else that's on the menu.

Orio 2
Orio 1

Mercado de San Anton, is not only a treat for the eye but also your stomach. Fresh produce of meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, and 'you name it', are all on display and presented in the most artistic and inviting way. Go to the second floor of the food market where you can instantly try the delicious food at the various boutique kitchens.

Mercado San Anton 1
Mercado San Anton 2

Trendy bar:

The new hot spot in the city, 'The Roof' is located on the top floor of the Melia Hotel and offers stunning views over Madrid from a massive and contemporary designed wooden terrace. The evening was rather frisk and a tad too chilly for me so we enjoyed some drinks in the comfort of the funky bar inside. We couldn't help but imagine how much fun this place would be on a hot seductive summer's night.

Roof 3
Roof 1

En route to Barajas airport this morning I reflected on what a great time I had. Madrid was absolute bliss and I would recommend to anyone to go there. Te quiero Madrid!

Madrid by Day 2
Madrid by Day 1