by Tara Franco photography by Norman Wong
The second instalment in our suit series shot by photographer Norman Wong, creative guy Matt Rennick talks about suits, style and what he has in common with coal miners.
Sydney’s: How did you find out about us?
Matt Rennick: I actually met Sydney when he was working at the Royal Theatre. Looking back that was probably almost two decades ago… He was a couple years older than me and had tattoos peeking up onto his neck a bit (in a time when that kind of meant something) and I just thought he was a really cool dude — funny, sincere, a bit irreverent… He left a lasting impression on me from our few, brief encounters way back in the way back. Since then, I’d bought a few pairs of jeans at the shop and always really liked my experiences there. Fast forward many years later and my now wife / then girlfriend, Yvonne (who works in fashion), re-introduced me to Sydney and Rose.
What was your suit for?
This suit was for my wedding last July. Yvonne is one of the founders of Loversland on Ossington and I knew she was going to look super-legit and I wanted to feel good standing next to such a beautiful woman.
We went with a blue tuxedo, shawl collar, some nice little hits of colour in accent thread, high cropped pants and some black Officine Creative shoes. Those things were so sexy and tied everything together just right. I needed someone to fill in the blanks and help guide me; to put fabric and thread to a vision I had but might not be able to properly verbalize. I couldn’t imagine trying to explain that I wanted the bottoms of my tuxedo pants chopped off to an older sales guy at the mall. I just wouldn’t even know how to explain it. So working with Sydney is perfect because he’ll just say ‘got it’ and then give you the guidance you need to look and feel fucking fantastic!
What does your every day "look" look like?
I find it hard to talk about my look because of how critical I am of how people often describe their looks. You know... There’s always some guy who’s like “I’ve got this retro-space-cowboy thing going on” and I’m just like… You cock. You just sound like a total cock…
I tend to gravitate towards things that are pretty rugged and feel purpose built. I care a lot about the things I wear but try not to be too precious about it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that fashion, like art, like design, like anything creative is pretty important to me but I try not to take things too seriously lest they become ridiculous.
With all that said… Today I’m wearing a pair of high-cropped United blue twill chinos, a black t-shirt and a pair of black Flyknits. I’ve got some meetings tomorrow so I might wear a nice canvas button-up with a wool vest, the same pants in a different colour and a pair of black boots… You know, kind of like a guy in a $1,000 outfit trying to look like a coal-miner earning 1.70 a day at the turn of the century.
What would you tell folks about Sydney’s that they might not know?
Well, a friend at work was asking about a pair of pants I was wearing and when I said I got them at Sydney’s he shared this with me… His brother bought a shirt there years ago and something had happened to it, thread fell out or whatever, typical stuff that happens with clothing from time to time. You hear all these horror stories about customer service in retail but this was the opposite. He brought the shirt back in and rather than simply replacing or refunding — Sydney offered any other shirt he wanted in the store and pulled every one of the offending shirts off the racks. Sean’s brother left the place knowing that Sydney really gave a fuck about the product he makes and/or sells and if it were my shop, that’s a story I wouldn’t mind having out in the world.
Established in 1784, John Smedley is known for making the Worlds Finest Knitwear. They are the oldest manufacturing factory in the world.