On the Hunt for Style
"It is not about vanity, a true sense of style is about authenticity and dignity."
- Carla Criminsi, founder of Charles & Hunt
There’s that awful old stereotype of men not wanting to ask for directions, and I mean, for the most part it’s true, but hey, it’s 2018 and I have a mobile attached to me at virtually all times and Google can just tell me what to do if I really need it.
There is merit to the argument that it has much more to do with the traditional expectations of masculinity, that the man should be able to know/handle all things and handle them well. That he can be depended upon and can come through whenever, however.
But it’s bullshit right? The expectations, not the argument, that is. Even things that you can do well, it’s always learned, help from another person/party/resource was offered at some point in time.
Now consider that in the realm of fashion and style, a realm that many a modern man seems to struggle with based on stupidly reinforced gender norms, and you have a whole other challenge.
I’ve gone into this challenge a couple times, so I’m not going into it again here suffice to say that rife with hyper-masculine fallacies, slobbery, and at best, laziness.
Enter Carla Criminsi.
Carla is founder of Charles & Hunt, a Hamilton based men’s style consultancy. Essentially, Charles & Hunt is a place to go to have your sense of style refined, developed, or even discovered. Carla makes it easy and educational, if not fun.
Founded in 2015, Charles & Hunt focuses on style consultancy for men in the GTHA and throws in a bit of well-curated retail, and group services for the likes of wedding parties etc. Located in Hamilton’s historic Lister Block, Charles & Hunt has a storefront that perfectly reflects its brand’s sense of classic style reinterpreted in contemporary ways.
Carla, an effortless class-act, started the business because of her love for men’s fashion.
“I used to work retail and always found men’s fashion, the culture, structure and history way more interesting than women’s.”
However, while discovering this interest, Carla also discovered the inclination for men to be trigger shy about their own sense of style, acting on it, owning it, or even approaching it. And if not shy, then occasionally outright resistant, as though it was a bad thing to take an active interest in their own presentation.
“Though some men have an immediate sense of personal-style, many can use at least a bit of nudging.”
This seems especially true in Canada, which still doesn’t have necessarily the highest men’s fashion profile in the world, and with an identity that’s traditionally, if not stereotypically, casual in its approach to men’s style.
Luckily, Carla says she sees a marked increase in the interest that her clients take in themselves and their own sense of presentation, let alone the marked increase in her body of clientele.
“The most important thing I notice, and have always believed, is that it is not about vanity, a true sense of style is about authenticity and dignity. Vanity is showy and about pretending. What I do with my clients is work with them to authentically show who they are in dignified ways.”
So next time you’re downtown Hamilton and want to talk menswear or undergo a personal-style tune-up, check-in with Carla. Fashion and style for vanity gets seen, fashion and style for dignity gets believed, and that’s what Charles & Hunt does.