We casually strolled into Milan (Lounge), that Friday morning. Suit in hand and a bottle of Martell to spice up the mood. With the Blue Swift Logo all over the screens and the #BeUnapologetic hashtag smeared in all the right places, we couldn’t help but feel awed by all the French Spirit in the air.
You see, Martell isn’t just any other drink. Since 1715, the Swift logo has been the spirit that treasures taste and honours expertise & craft. The beauty and pleasures of every moment celebrated through the French Art de Vivre (Meaning: Art of Living. French accent please, lol)
What better way to experience this brand than to combine centuries old craftsmanship, distilled through the fine pointed needle that weave every cloth that emerges from Genteel’s bespoke process.
We met up with Ugo Messi, the brand Ambassador for Martell Kenya, being of French origin he didn’t shy away from sharing with us his Art de Vivre. Having lived in Kenya for almost 2 years now, he shared some pretty interesting style tips. Follow through. . .
7. Tell us a bit about yourself and your career, how it has influenced your style and the way you dress: “
I’m a 30 year old Frenchman, working in the alcohol industry in Kenya for almost 2 years now. My style is disruptive, but I must say it is very “French” and it would blend better in Paris.
I’d define my style as being urban casual: always a pair of sneakers, but as I witnessed when I was living in the Netherlands it is totally possible to match this with a business outfit! In Amsterdam most people wear sneakers to go to work and I just loved this trend, even before it hit France.
(Btw Ugo, be sure that the same vibe & style has hit the streets of NAIROBI just as hard)
6. What is the one thing that you are most passionate about, besides your job?
Besides my job I am very passionate about music, especially French rap. Quite interestingly a friend of mine is a music producer, and during a recent trip to Paris I’ve had the chance to write and record a track with 3 other friends in a studio. This was a first and I liked everything about it, from the creation process to the emulation between friends during this sleepless night. I must admit the result is quite bad, but who cares?
Listen to, Ugo’s Mixtape down below on the closing commentary. His verse is at 0:39. 1:43 & 2:25. It’s all in French, but hey, isn’t it the vibe that we’re all after?
I try to travel as much as possible. I really love discovering new countries, meeting new people and getting to understand how they think, how they behave. A recent memorable trip was to Hong-Kong, because everything was so different to anything I had experienced before!
For example, they have a really nice sense of fashion and everyone is quite proud to express it in a unique way. They are very big on sneakers, so I had to bring a pair back. I went for a reedition of a classic: Nike Air Span II. I like bringing a new pair whenever I travel, so every time I wear them I remember the good memories.
4. Best destination in Kenya and what’s your travel essentials?
I would definitely say my favorite destination in Kenya is Lamu. This place has such a cool vibe. It is the perfect option to get out of Nairobi. I do not go there for shopping, but when I am there I make sure I carry a few essentials: a good book (Flowers for Algernon for example), “espadrilles” shoes (Le Slip Français – France), a pair of swim shorts (Orlebar Brown – UK), a fancy T-shirt (Maison FT – France) a nice pair of shades (Ace & Tate – the Netherlands), and a cap (24 apparel – Nigeria).
3. What do you read in your spare time and what impact has it made on you and your career? Has it had any impact on the way you dress?
I like spending time with myself, exercising at the gym. Ever since I started focusing on this I must say my level of confidence has really gone up… But this is not just a question of muscles: I genuinely feel better, since I also modified my diet habits. Even though it obviously did not change my personality, all this changed the way people see me.
When it comes to dressing up I am indeed more confident to wear clothes that are more fitted thanks to this.
You’ll never be able to please everyone when it comes to dressing, so at least do it for yourself. Be Unapologetic about your style.
2. What was the highest moment in your life and what were you wearing?
I’ve had the chance to celebrate some successes, but I also really love celebrating my friends’. My most recent high moment was one of my best friend’s wedding happening in Normandy, France. It was quite special as it was a multicultural union – my friend’s wife being Moroccan – also with different faiths. For this purpose, I decided to wear a custom tailored dark grey suit, with a discreet kitenge printed lining (We’re still waiting for the pics Ugo, wink wink). Being half French / half Cameroonian myself, this combination means a lot to me in addition to being elegant, stylish and different.
It also shows that dressing up can serve a greater purpose, and I like the fact that anyone can share a message and express her/himself in such a simple way.
1. What advice would you give someone who would want to freshen up his wardrobe and look more stylish?
Get inspired by others but remember to add a personal touch. You’ll never be able to please everyone when it comes to dressing, so at least do it for yourself… Be unapologetic about your style!
Ugo, works for Pernord Ricard East Africa as the Brand Ambassador for Martell, Mumm & Perrier-Jouët. Fine drinks in their own right. He is an avid football fan and supports Barcelona FC, well at least he says it’s because the G.O.A.T (Lionel Messi) plays for them. In his Mixtape he sings about Hatem Ben Arfa (plays for Ligue 1 club Rennes), deserving the Ballon d’Or. “It’s basically non-sense but that’s what makes it fun!” he added. You can listen to the mix-tape on this link here . You can keep tabs with him on his Linked In page or his Instagram handle @ugo_messi .
Let’s interact and get Energetic down on the comment’s section below. Let us know what you think about his style.