• Idle Hands Collective

Jakub Karn – Quality over Quantity

Jakub Karn is one half of the Bistro Boys and is a champion for quality over quantity. Having always respected clothing for the fabrics and fits, he has navigated style changes without creating waste. He makes decent clothing the norm and gives tips on how to adopt this mentality without an extortionate budget.

What do you look for when you are buying something new?

It’s definitely the way it feels. When you buy something cheap there’s no shape to it, it’s just whatever. When you spend money to buy something decent, you can feel quality in your hands and it fits over your body properly. The one thing I stay away from is high street style, I like a piece of clothing to be a statement in its self.

How would you describe your shopping habits?

Dreadful, haha. No, I’d say practical. I don’t buy anything cheap so I budget myself well but it will only buy me one or two things. Instead of having £30 and buying loads of stuff, I’ll go and spend £300 to get a couple of things that are bang on what I want and will last me.

Why don’t more people shopping quality over quantity?

Because it’s just more accessible to go down the high street, that’s the thing. Whenever you talk to anyone about quality over quantity, they don’t grasp the concept. They will say they can buy 5 T shirts for £30. But I say I’ll buy one for £60 and it will last me forever and fits properly. I think a lot of people that buy from the high street don’t have a personal style as they just buy things that are styled for them.

What image comes to mind when you think of sustainable fashion?

I see it as minimalism, Nordic kind of style. Whites, Greys and bone colours- I love it. I don’t see the whole hippie thing.

Having gone through a lot of style changes, what is your experience of getting rid of clothes?

I find it quite a challenge at times because of my size which is a bit of downfall. Also, not a lot of people would dress the way I have in the past, for example trying to sell a kimono is quite hard, haha.

I have made so much money from reselling pieces like my Stone Island and other designer brands. Other times I’ve made a loss, either giving it away or it’s still in my wardrobe. I never throw anything away though. I’ve even got t shirts that are threadbare in the bottom of my cupboard but I won’t get rid of them because I’ve paid good money for it- that’s my ethic. Because I spend more money on clothes I care about them more.

Do you think the way you shop makes you care about your clothes more?

100%. If I’m spending a lot of money on something, I’m going to take every precaution to look after it and not damage it. That how things last, put a bit more money on it to buy the better materials and look after it. It will weather and age properly and look great.

What are your tips for looking after your clothes?

Don’t wear them on a night out, that’s the main one.

Always take all the steps you can. With things like boots, make sure you wax them and condition them. Use dry cleaners and not just washing machines as they suck the life out of clothes.

Understand that ageing is a process, it can make things like better.

What makes you love clothes?

Looking different.

What makes you hate clothes?

People who copy cat. Or, the one thing I hate with a dying passion is fake clothes. If you want to buy something expensive, save up your money.

What’s your advice to someone to have a better relationship with their wardrobe?

When you go shopping and find something you love, you get that buzz in your stomach and you know you look sick. Buy it- don’t walk away because when you do you will feel so comfortable and yourself when you wear it.

What do you think of Fast Fashion?

Cancerous. It is, it’s destroying it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had to buy stuff in the past- a quick fix T Shirt or pair of pants, it happens. But it destroys everything for some Tom, Dick and Harry to look the same as his mate.

The one thing that freaks me out is going into a fast fashion shop and seeing clothes thrown on the floor. That shows the disregard and level of respect for that clothing so why would you buy that?

How can we be more sustainable consumers?

Just be sensible with your buying. You don’t need to buy the fanciest clothes but just go for quality.

Stop buying quantity over quality. Don’t buy something you know you’ll throw away in a month’s time because it’s fallen apart. Buy something you’d want to hand down to someone, I do that. I’ve bought some stuff I know I want to hand down to my kids.

How else do you implement quality over quantity in your life?

Food- it’s always local produce when I cook. It’s what I try and push with the blog I run, The Bistro Boys, because we want to show people that you can just go down the road and find someone making some local pickles or chutney. It’s so much better because it’s been made with passion with ingredients from the local area- it’s not flown all the way from Brazil or somewhere. Spend that £5 more on your weekly shop and have a better week.

IG @jakubkarn