As any denim head who utilizes Instagram knows all too well, the app is both a blessing and a curse. It allows us to share our gear and style with more people than ever before and meet a myriad of new friends who bleed blue. However, there are many issues ranging from the time it takes to stay active on the app to the fact that the algorithm is simultaneously unfathomable while continuously becoming less helpful to people who have never had plastic surgery.
To me, the most annoying aspect of Instagram, at least in the denim world, is that great photography and style are not actually rewarded proportionally. It appears that either the algorithm or the general denim head population just wants to see an endless amount of slim fit jeans, Red Wing moc toe boots, and whatever 3Sixteen and Rogue Territory have recently released.* There are people who put a lot of thought and consideration into their outfits who get overlooked due to not fitting into the mainline category of internet denim dudes.
Mikko AKA @migigp is the number one example of this. Firstly, he takes high quality pictures. I personally am not aware what camera system he uses, but the photos always look good, something I personally appreciate greatly. Adding to this is the fact that Mikko lives in Scotland, giving him some of the most stunning backdrops and shooting locations available in the entire world and certainly well-tailored to his style and use of colors.
Speaking of colors, I think that Mikko’s use of tones is my absolute favorite on the internet. There are certainly some that come close such as @cuffington, @marvaments, @doppki, @newenglandmenswear, @jeffdepano, and of course @johnbbrooklyn. The resident of Scotland, however, takes the cake in terms of color usage for me personally. While black is utilized rarely, if ever, everything else is fair game. Greys, blues, yellows, greens, orange, white/ecru, and every shade of brown on the color spectrum are all worn masterfully in an endless blend of combinations.
In addition to the colors used, @migigp also uses several items of clothing and accessories far more than most people. Firstly, while he does wear denim, he tends to wear chinos and other types of trousers more frequently. Wearing less denim means that he can wear a much wider variety of outfits because he has so many different colors of bottoms. Additionally, he wears quite a few scarves, a myriad of jackets, and more vests than anyone who wasn’t born in the 19th century. Some credit has to go to his climate. Living in Scotland is the ultimate weather, essentially being perfect layering weather for well over 95% of the year, being cold enough to require layers, but rarely so cold to require thick jackets that cover the beautiful pieces and accessories.
To be fair, Mikko takes the utmost advantage of this opportunity. His outfits not only look ace when taken as a whole, but they also look even better the more you analyze them, especially when you realize the sheer number of items he is wearing in some shots while still having the whole outfit work together somehow. His style is not one that I would want to or even be able to replicate myself, being someone who loves leather jackets and engineer boots far too much while living in an unfortunately warmer climate. With that said, my respect for Mikko’s style is endless as my gushing here clearly demonstrates. With that out of the way, let’s hear from the man himself.
1. When and how did you get into raw denim, boots, and quality clothing?
Through my late teen years I used to have a very normal and boring style and afterwards geared towards a bit more refined and formal look and sometimes I felt overdressed and therefore wanted to add a little edge and personality to my style.
I got my first pair of Red Wings (Beckman 9016 which I still have in rotation) and selvedge denim (APC Petit Standard – ”the gateway selvedge”) and liked how they developed with use and had the functionality without lacking in style. When I looked more into the well made garments & slow fashion brands and all the talented people behind them, I started to appreciate them even more.
In addition, workwear tends to be timeless never going out of style which saves a pretty penny (not really, but in theory). As I have always been a vintage & heritage fanatic and usually tend to buy second hand over new, denim & boots make sense as they’ve been around in menswear for ages without changing too much, so there are so many solid pieces out there up for grabs!
2. When and how did style become important to you (was this tied in any way to heritage menswear)?
My own style and personal appearance has been important to me ever since I can remember. As a kid I always told my parents how I wanted to dress and what colour combos I’d go for. Has to be said, looking back at the pictures some of outfits were ridiculous!
Heritage menswear kicked in maybe 7-8 years ago when I wanted to differentiate from the mass, buy quality and then started browsing alternative ways while remaining presentable without being too flamboyant. Among many others, I had a phase when I wore unstructured vintage Harris Tweed sportcoats with raw denim and a button down shirt, which served me well, too.
3. Who or what influences and inspires your style?
Goes without saying but Instagram users have had a massive impact on my style which is great but on the other hand can affect on the level of one’s uniquess (and definitely buying behaviour). I always like to showcase something fresh and distinctive rather than be just ”another fit pic bloke” in the huge sea of menswear ‘grammers. Different strokes for different folks applies to style too!
I can spend hours (read too long) browsing the feeds of creative users, which sometimes makes me wonder why the hell I even bother posting.
In regards to ”who”, James Dean and Steve McQueen were class acts. That being said, there shouldn’t be lookalikes of them, we should rather be true to ourselves and create our own flair instead.
What I definitely do appreciate on IG is discovering small inspiring independent brands and makers, whom I’m always happy to support when I need something long-lasting and if I can!
4. How would you describe your personal style?
No clue, it’s what I feel that suits me and works for my lifestyle! With a gun on my head, I’d say ”slow fashion with a dash of utilitarian heritage”.
5. How important is color and fabric/texture to your outfits?
Colours play a huge role (earth tones and indigo) and I should trifle much more with textures even though I won’t shy away from using them once in a while. One of my favourite textures were my Pure Blue Japan jeans which unfortunately never fitted me properly. On a positive note, they went to a good loving home!
6. Do you have a favorite season for clothing and why?
Autumn used to be my favourite due to the beautiful colours (still obviously adore it) and the mild, yet crisp temperature but when we moved to Scotland the seasons pretty much lost their meaning. Here it’s jacket and layering weather, more or less, all year long. Aces!
7. What is your favorite/signature piece of clothing?
Hmm tough one. Probably my green reverse sateen Orslow Fatigues as they have an assocation with adventure as I usually pop them on for our road trips because they’re utilitarian, comfortable and rugged!
8. Do you have a favorite category of clothing (boots, chinos, t shirts, etc) and why?
Boots and shoes definitely, as I enjoy beating them up and then polishing them up afterwards. Nothing better than a well earned patina and comfort! If I could and it would reasonable, I could spend a fortune on handmade boots.
9. What is your favorite clothing brand and why?
I knew this question would come up eventually and I’d struggle. So many absolutely killer brands out there but for me it’s not all about the name but of course it matters to some extent. The ethos, manufacturing methods and materials are key, and if all those things are tied together – magic.
10. Are there any items that you are looking to purchase soon or are on your wish list?
Oh man, ever growing list which I try to keep under control in addition to my preposterous spending (with the help of my girlfriend). At the moment I’m on the look out for a nice denim jacket (type 1 or 2 style with a twist) and my utterly rugged and badass denim brother Illya (@illcutz) has convinced me to source the Mr. Freedom Ranch Blouse. If only I can rock it as well him!
Rather than buying it new I’d prefer to find it second hand as I live for the hunt (and appreciate saving some $£¥) also making it feel much more earned!
11. Describe your favorite outfit that you have worn or plan on wearing.
It usually consists of boots, denim, waistcoat and a short jacket but I usually dress for my mood! At the moment, I quite enjoy wearing my TCB 50’s jeans, Orslow denim shirt, a deadstock H.W. Carter & Sons Rustler jacket (inspired by Paul @bothrops1) and to cap it off, my Truman Coyote Roughout boots.
12. Are there any other people in or out of the denim/heritage menswear community that you think have great style?
To just name a few of the many outstanding people (so sorry if I forgot to name someone), one of biggest influencers in the beginning and today is definitely the master himself, Paul @bothrops1, as he was the first to like and comment on my photos and has impeccable sense of humour and taste. Paul combines workwear and more tailored pieces together seamlessly and has an astonishing eye for boots & shoes. He has also been a huge help for me to get some American made goods over the pond!
The before mentioned rugged king Illya, @illcutz, has a stunning wardrobe (and an incredible beard and motorbike) with a variety of handpicked goodies from the world of workwear and is also a true gent! He is also very supportive and we chat almost every day regarding interesting pieces we come across on our feeds! Ps. I would like to raid his wardrobe.
Another feed I enjoy very much is from London’s coolest and nicest guy Oli @olicongress. He has a passion for RRL** and Japanese brands and he sports them very nicely with a unique touch. He was also one of the first persons who I shared comments with when I entered the world of IG.
Two of the most consistent accounts must Brent’s @whaleysworld and Cory @corymahlke (a creative extraordinaire) The tones, fabrics, gear and the shots are always spectacular. Nate @cuffington also needs to be mentioned, dude’s class!
Devin @outlinedcloth, Matt @shibooee and Mike @marvaments also know their way around a camera in addition to awesome boot game, workwear & casual menswear. Their feeds ooze style and long lasting clobber!
If you want killer fades and rugged galore, Jonathan @yonagrinberg is your man. He presents his wardrobe in a very aesthetic fashion combining killer quality pieces with a robust taste.
Jaesung @jaesungxlee also has a fantastic feed filled with great outfit combos.
And obviously yourself, Jake. One of the most distinctive styles out there. You’re pure breed stallion, my man!
Thank you for the great insight as well as the very kind compliment, Mikko! For the record, my style is not nearly on his level by any means. Please make sure to follow @migigp to see more of his style and stay tuned for the next article.
*I must admit that I myself have been guilty of posting far too many moc toe pics, especially when I don’t even like to wear the boots.
**I personally strongly disapprove of RRL and their outsourcing policies and advise people not to support the brand, but I believe in free speech absolutely so I have included the mention of the brand despite my supreme dislike of the brand.