He may not be putting pencil to pad as a designer, and nor is he the male Natalie Massenet, but Gavin Crossland has arguably been Notting Hill's most influential style figure in recent years, as menswear buyer and store manager of Woodhouse Clothing. The company dates back decades as London's leading premium online menswear retailer, but it is its Notting Hill boutique store on Westbourne Grove that's really drawing the attention.
Originally from Sheffield, Gavin has a northern charm that wins you over the moment you meet him. It's this warm, laid-back attitude that pulls you into his world of fashion and makes you understand and appreciate it just as he does. With a love of expertly made clothes, high-quality fabrics and outstanding craftsmanship, Gavin dresses with a beautiful style that he passes on to his customers, who keeping coming back for more.
It's often hard to believe that the boutique is not his own when you consider how devoted he is to it and to the customers he serves every day. And what a boutique it is; as well as stocking some of the UK's leading brands, including Penfield and Made & Crafted, there is also a record and book store and a barber space downstairs on the basement level. A male heaven, we think, is probably a better description.
Previously UK sales manager for two footwear brands at Four Marketing, Gavin used to spend much of his time travelling around the country. It's only now that he feels he has found his place in Notting Hill in terms of work and home. Gavin says, "Portobello Road is hands down my favourite road in London. It has everything from high-end retailers to the rich character of its market, people and history."
Discover more about Notting Hill's best-dressed man...
Gavin, what inspired you to work in fashion?
I would say it's my hobby, for which not many people can say that they work with their passion. I especially love customer facing and building strong relationships.
What does fashion mean to you?
Right or wrong, I think fashion is the first thing you judge on when meeting someone for the first time while it's also a way of having a bit of fun and standing out from the crowd.
London is often heralded as the world's top destination for fashion. What do you make of it?
I travel a fair bit and nothing comes close to the diversity and the buzz of London. We might not have the weather all the time but there is no place like it.
More specifically, what do you think of Notting Hill and its fashion?
Notting Hill is like a city in its self so the fashion is very diverse. It's also home to professionals in their twenties, young families, retirees and teens still living at home. With this, Woodhouse Clothing is able to cater for every man whether 16 years old or 60 plus. If you look at a brand such as Penfield, it's priced perfectly for the younger guys but then we also sell Hackett London which appeals to the older gent which also holds a more premium price.
What should we all be wearing this summer?
Colour. Pink and turquoise have been beautifully executed recently by Made & Crafted. Large prints are definitely cool too. A lightweight but functional wardrobe is key, so look to lighter, more breathable fabrics. Invest in a few quality staple pieces that will see you right through the season: simple yet fail-safe rules to live by.
What fashion trends can you foresee for 2014?
It's all about transitional style at this point in the year. With the weather so unpredictable, knowing how to pull an outfit together is key to any successful look. My simple tip? Just be yourself.
Who would you most like to dress?
It has to be David Beckham now that he is a Notting Hill resident, but saying that he would probably be the one teaching me a thing or two. He's been into the store a couple of times but I'm yet to meet him. Maybe I'll get another chance one day.
Whose style do you admire the most?
Patrick E Grant. He plays with traditional tailoring with an unbelievably good modern twist. I admire anyone who stands out on Saville Row.
Who are your fashion icons? Designers, music stars...?
Sir Paul Smith, Steve Mcqueen, Frank Sinatra, James Dean and George Best.
Where are you based in London?
Notting Hill. Why would anyone ever leave...?
What inspires you daily?
I really like to run marathons but I also love to run abroad; it combines my two passions of exercise and travelling perfectly. Over the last few years I've completed marathons in New York, Stockholm, Berlin and Melbourne.
What do you do to relax?
It sounds strange but I love running around Hyde Park at 7am in the morning and attending British Military Fitness bootcamps. I'm really into my cycling and pilates too at the moment. Basically anything that doesn't involve sitting still for too long!
What are your plans this summer?
In June I'm cycling to Amsterdam for Men United Prostate Cancer. If you're feeling generous and feel like sponsoring a good cause through Virgin Money Giving...
Discover Woodhouse Clothing on the Domus Nova Fashion Guide
Woodhouse Clothing, 189 Westbourne Grove, London W11; woodhouseclothing.com