For the past three decades it has been Remy’s passion to create timeless images for celebrities and other high profile gentlemen through fashion. Working for top designers such as Valentino, Remy became a personal bespoke fashion consultant to a variety of professional athletes and media celebrities. He cultivated his sartorial skills by working behind the scenes and as a model on the runways of Paris, London, New York and Japan. His styling and artistry is sought out by various publications including UMEN in the Middle East for which he wrote a monthly fashion advice column. He has been a guest on multiple TV shows.
Remy’s quest for uncompromising quality is sought by his many clients and his book, Legends of Style, is the ultimate fashion reference for the sartorial gentleman. Now any man, of any body type, can learn to dress in a timeless style to enhance his image and confidence with Legends of Style. VERTIKAL Life caught up with Remy for an inspirational interview with Fashion Contributor Mikael Williams.
Toh: Originally I was born in Africa but raised in Paris. My family moved to Paris when I was 6. I left Paris in 1981 and was homeless in Harlem for a year. I was saved by a woman that I didn’t know. I didn’t speak English. I didn’t even know what good morning meant. She helped with that (learn English) and to this day I have no idea who she is or where she is. She vanished.
VERTIKAL: Coming from this type of background what attracted you to fashion?
Toh: When I was 6 saw I John F. Kennedy on television at the White House with the president of the Ivory Coast, which prompted me. One day I’m going to dress those people. My father said I’m dreaming, concentrate on school.
VERTIKAL: A Big Inspiration and who encouraged you to stay in fashion?
Toh: My mother’s friends used to take me at age 6 or 7 shopping with them. My dad would what does that kid know about clothing? My mother would say leave him alone. That’s where I learned.
VERTIKAL: What do you think about the latest fashion trend for men?
Toh: Well balance. 1920s/1930s is what everyone is going back to. The Baby boomers refused to dress like their father’s. That’s why in the70’s/80’s/ 90’s you saw baggy clothes. Now this generation doesn’t want to dress like their father’s because it looks ridiculous; they wanted to dress like their grandparents. Their grandparents wore well tailored clothing. This look is forever. They are not going back to the 70s/80s/90s that is over. This trend is here to stay.
VERTIKAL: And for women?
Toh: Women have a complex range because every 6 months it has to change. Women have more choices than man. They are going back to the 20’s/30’s with the fitted clothes and long skirts. For women there is no limit.
VERTIKAL: Why did you write Legends of Fashion? Why was it significant?
Toh: I started writing my book in Paris but when I was homeless in Harlem I had more time to write. (The book was written in French and he had a ghost writer that helped him translate). It was a lacking of how men should really dress. People say style is individual, yes it is, but you have to dress according to your body type. A lot of stylist have syndrome of “page 135” which is 99.9% of people go to a magazine and say I want to dress like that person. Everyone has a different body type. That’s why I was intrigued by it and I began to write my book. I said I’m going to take on the men because the ladies are easy. I can close my eyes and do it anytime (dress women). A man is difficult and I love the challenge of dressing a man and when I do it, it has to be perfect.
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VERTIKAL: What does your quote “your image is your bank!” mean?
Toh: I’m talking about my own experience. Growing up in Paris we all dressed well even if it’s going to school or going to a restaurant. Anywhere you go you have to be well dressed. People are looking at you. Your look will take you to the bank. It will help you get rich. If you dress well people will recognize you and that can lead you to different careers.
VERTIKAL: Recently you were in Arizona, what do you think about fashion in Arizona vs. Atlanta?
Toh: The difference between Phoenix and Atlanta is tremendous different. Phoenix is a wonderful place to do a lot things but when it comes to fashion it’s just not there. It’s my perspective as a stylist there is a void there that men do not understand the weather. I remember telling some guy that it can be 300 degrees but there is a way to dress elegantly. Atlanta has a consciousness of dressing and of their bodies. When it comes to fashion Atlanta is way more advance than Phoenix.
VERTIKAL: Do you believe it’s a necessity for students pursuing fashion as a career to attend a college or university to receive a degree in fashion designer, merchandising, or marketing?
Toh: Yes, indeed. You have to go to school to learn it. You can have the gift but you have to have that piece of paper, it’s what’s corporations are looking for. They teach you technique, you have to practice your gift.
VERTIKAL: Any upcoming projects?
Toh: I have a book tour starting in April through Super bowl. Speaking engagements to military personnel to teach them how to dress for interviews when transitioning to civilian work. Volunteer work to teach kids how to teach dress because their image is all they have.
Remy was Fashion Feature Contributing Writer for UMEN Magazine. Fashion Editor of Sonora Living magazine. He has contributed to:
- NBC Affiliate KPNX 12
- ABC Affiliate KNXV 15
- U Men Magazine, Amman, Jordan
- Trends Magazine, USA
- Outreach work for charities
Remember Remy’s philosophy is: “Your image is your bank.”