To tell this in its entirety, I first have to tell you a bit about how the journey started. The idea of the company Qollars LTD (pronounced ko-llars like Qatar) came about in 2013 after a phone call with a friend. We talked about a subscription like business model to deliver shirts on a schedule to people who work in regulated industries. Industries like finance which includes banking, the military, schools, law firms and the like. This was after dissociating from a fit food, smoothies and juices company started in 2011 Birmingham, UK.
I thought about a name for the company and wanted something easy to remember, something simple, something explanatory. Collars came to mind. It was the perfect name in my head so I had to work round making it work because collars.com was not available. I thought about kollars.com, still not available and finally I searched for qollars.com, which was available. The logo came to me almost immediately after I decided to go with qollars.com. I could clearly see how a capital ‘Q’ would be edited to look like the collar of a shirt.
Sqollars, the word, was derived from school of qollars; basically, the whole ideas was, if you graduate you then become a sqollar, a gentleman (plural = sqollars = gentlemen).
For the sake of the series I have going on the Qollars BBM Channel (C00122EC9), I thought it’d be better to make school of qollars its own thing – while sqollar could become a synonym for “gentleman”. It might not all make sense to you right now, but after you’ve said each of the words repeatedly, it’ll sink in. Fingers crossed.
I started adding fresh sqollar as a hash tag on posts for the bbm channel; this was coined out of another regular hash tag used on the channel, #stayfresh. A fresh sqollar is now simply a modern gentleman. He is today’s gentleman; thinking positive and making things happen despite the odds against him. He is the new gentleman in an era where a lot of traditions are becoming history; an era where being proactive is key to adapting. You always have to think ahead. This includes how you dress – some guys will tell you, they’ll have a style makeover when they are called for an interview, get a new job, a pay increase or a promotion. This is being reactive – the proactive man agrees with the saying that you have to dress for the job you want, not the current one you have.
It was quite easy to decide on what to call the blog – fresh sqollar came naturally after using it for quite a while as a hash tag. It had to be differentiated from the retail website though. It had to breathe its own air and both sites could feed off each others energy.
Here is some knowledge – men’s style tends to recycle itself every decade; it has two concepts: propriety and eccentricity. In style terms, propriety being traditional craftsmanship and tailoring while eccentricity is the ability to experiment and undermine fashion with a bit of personality – a bit like Sprezzatura.
Below, you’ll find 10 things that define a sqollar. Some of them are backed by quotes from style icons you’ll likely know about.
In simple terms, a Sqollar:
- Is confident in his abilities: Confidence is very important when it comes to being a stylish gentleman. Dappered’s take on what goes into having style lists confidence as the number one component. Confidence, share’s that space at the top with fit (a topic for a different post). A confident sqollar wears his clothes and not the other way round. He has unwavering belief and puts it to the test regularly.
- Has a lifestyle geared towards making a positive impact – adding value to yourself and value to others: A wise man once said, “A good idea is to seek not to make money, but to add value and the rest will follow” – it obviously has conditions to abide by for it to work. Seek significance and substance; wealth is a by-product, an end result of consistently adding value to people’s lives through problem solving products and services.
- Keeps it simple but elegant: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci. In today’s environment, minimalist designs in homes, graphic design, labeling, branding and fashion is considered upper market material. You want something that sends a clear message about what you do within a couple of seconds of seeing it. Remember the K.I.S.S. principle?.
- Has above average etiquette skills: There is a saying that goes, “Your mood should not dictate your manners”. This sums up etiquette skills; manners are not reserved for only when you’re in a good mood, it should be a constant, a habit. Etiquette can be defined as a code of behaviour that defines expectations for social behaviour according to conventional norms within society, social classes or groups. Would you agree that manners make the man?. A lot will. Get your etiquette skills up to date and watch more doors open.
- Doesn’t mind standing out: “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel. Prestige doesn’t always mean style after all. You can wear something less glamorous but different and still be stylish. Embrace what makes you stand out, it’s your unique selling point.
- Speaks ‘Sprezzatura’: What is Sprezzatura? It’s an Italian word (Italians are known to be stylish, some of the biggest fashion brands hail from Italy) that can be defined as studied nonchalance: perfect conduct or performance of something (as an artistic endeavour) without apparent effort. In terms of style, it means it is effortless almost thoughtless. Hardy Amies puts it like this “A man should look as if he has bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them”.
- Walks the talk: Everyone has a mouth, it’s your actions that produce results. A sqollar doesn’t take what he says for granted. If he says he will do it, rest assured he would.
- Understands grooming basics: And has tweaked it to reflect his personality. You know who you are, what works for you and you understand that to be a well-groomed man, you must first perfect the basics. The basics of grooming will be covered on a different post.
- Doesn’t follow trends: He prefers classic, timeless style. “Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.” – Gianni Versace. Trends, unknowingly, have a way of conditioning how we behave, how we dress – a lot of people want to blend in, a lot of people want to be popular, a lot of people want to follow the latest trends. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first person to tell you to ensure your wardrobe is up to date. This is a different subject matter to trendy. “Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment.” – Alexander McQueen.
- Knows when to break style rules: “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak”. – Rachel Zoe. A rebel, for instance, will display a bit of the rebel he/she is by bending or breaking some rules, be it style rules, society rules or whatever is considered the norm. There are several style rules you can modify, I’ll leave the full details of this (breaking style rules) for another post, but to break style rules, you must first know what the rules are.
In conclusion, a Sqollar living the Qollars Lifestyle is a modern-day gent making things happen. This post is not about the rules of style, it’s a post about what gets you sqollared (a verb: to become a complete gentleman).
I’ll be working on the Qollars rules of style soon enough with other topics as well. If you feel I’ve missed anything out that makes you a sqollar/gentleman, please sound off in the comments.
It feels good to finally get the blog off the ground and I hope you enjoy reading this and the coming articles that will be posted as much as I enjoy writing them. Thanks for reading and see you in the comments.