Kindness, Honesty and Good Manners

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Meet Mr. Fernando Nafría Ascolizaga (@fernandonafria), a basque living in Barcelona. He’s the co-founder of GALEA BESPOKE, a bespoke and RTW shoe brand.

Fernando, what does it mean for you to be a Modern Gentleman?

First of all, let me say I don’t consider myself a gentleman. I´m just a guy who enjoys dressing in a particular way and that tries to be kind in every moment.
I guess being a gentleman nowadays isn’t different from being a gentleman in the past. A gentleman is a man with good manners, kind and honest. Reliable.

Then there is the aesthetic aspect, obviously. The word gentleman has cultural connotations. Being a gentleman implies dressing in a particular way, maybe in a more classic way. A guy in jeans, sneakers and a cap might be a great guy, he could be exceptionally well educated in multiple areas and kind… But I´m not sure many people would consider him a gentleman.

When it comes to style, where do you mostly get your inspiration from?

I don’t consciously look for inspiration. I just take a look into my wardrobe and decide what to wear, usually thinking first about the shoes I want to use that day. However, on Instagram or in movies, I might see combinations of colors that I like or a particular piece that I find interesting.

What’s your personal style signifier?

Shoes, always! This is pretty funny because, when I was young, it was almost impossible to find me wearing something different from Doc Martens boots.

Shoes are, indeed, the first thing I look at when I analyze somebody’s outfit. And even the first thing I look at when I meet somebody new. Professional deformation, obviously.

Within shoes, I would choose full-grain suede shoes (I don’t like split suede too much; indeed, we don’t work with it). It doesn’t matter if oxfords, split toes, chukkas, loafers. Always suede. Suede is, by far, my favorite material. Love the smell and the texture. Maybe my real signifier is just suede.

What are your favorite wardrobe essentials?

Shoes, obviously, would be in the first place. Except for the summer holidays, when I can be spotted using white canvass sneakers o espadrilles, I always use shoes. I may even use jeans, t-shirts, but always with shoes or chukkas.

Although living in Barcelona, I´m an Autumn and Winter guy, so, as for the remaining items, I will focus on my cold season staples.

Thus, behind shoes, coats are my favorite items by far. Barcelona isn’t the best place for using them, but I have no problem in leaving the jacket aside and using a coat if not cold enough for both. I have plenty of coats. Loden, polo, peacoats raglan… My favorite will always be a raglan sleeve one, in navy, in a cashmere and wool blend. Elegant but with that informal spirit raglan gives to any garment.

I love cashmere roll necks. They are cozy, comfortable, and if you have enough colors, easy to combine with any outfit. Easy to choose in the morning, even more now that I don’t use ties anymore.

Well-cut pleated trousers, preferably in flannel or corduroy. I love the designs of Lopez Aragon and the absolute perfection of Gimeno Chollet.

Sport jackets in soft tweed-like clothes, unlined and unpadded. I like the “cardigan” feeling and the easy-going elegance of that kind of jacket.

What are your main passions and how do you cultivate them?

Literature and sports.

Reading is essential for me. It isn’t just something that I enjoy doing. It´s a need. I´m pretty nervous and active. The kind of person that watches a movie while texting a friend and surfing the net. Reading moments are just for me.
When I read, I read.
I don’t talk to anyone, I don’t comment on what I´m reading; just read and relax.

Can´t remember a single day in my life in which I didn’t read, except for those days, when I was young, in which I was camping with family or friends.

I read exclusively on paper, which implies that, when I travel for more than a couple of weeks, I need some extra space for my books (I read, and I read a lot).

As for sports, they are something I practice to feel good. Enjoy getting exhausted after a sports session.
I train at the gym four days a week. Functional training, basically.

As for disciplines, I´m into cycling, boxing and cross-country skiing, although boxing is the sport I practice more often. Due to COVID, I haven’t skied the last two years and cycling has been left aside the last year due to some knee issues, so boxing has been the only sport I have practiced lately. Hopefully, I´ll be able to ski this winter.

Thus, I would say reading and sports are for me more a need than a hobby.

Tell us what can never miss in your liquor cabinet.

Vermouth. Only vermouth and just vermouth. Single, please. I can enjoy a Negroni, but will always prefer humble vermouth with ice. At home we only have wine and vermouth and, at the workshop, we have different vermouths to treat our clients.

Tarragona, where we have our weekend house, produces a huge amount of niche vermouths, so we are always looking for something new to try. Also, when our clients come to the workshop after holidays, it is not unusual that they bring us a bottle of rare vermouth they found. Indeed, every Saturday is vermouth day at the workshop. It’s the day in which we open a new bottle to share with friends and clients.

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