In all likelihood, if you read this website you’ve heard of Mikkel Rude. In fact, if you haven’t heard of him yet, you’re fucking up. He’s being making some of the best shirts available for the last few years. His combination of classic tailoring details and subtle personal touches have led to the creation of a distinct style of shirting, one that harkens back to the days of the original skinhead, when the details on a shirt had to be just right or you were found out as a poser. But it’s not simply Mikkel’s shirt which are of interest here. We like to get to know and understand those that make the gear, both as people and as creators of the clothing. So we’ve chosen Mikkel Rude as our next For The Suits Profile.
Like many members of the scene of a certain age, Mikkel Rude was originally attracted to the skinhead scene during the late 70’s. With 2 Tone and Oi being in full swing, it’s easy to understand why so many were originally interested in it at the time. It says a lot about people like Mikkel to not only still be involved in the scene but also doing something for it. According to him it was initially a combination of the music, articles and pictures in Sounds and various newspapers and a older schoolmate that led to him becoming a skinhead. The mixture of pride, in ones self, and provocation, towards society, was too hard to say no to.
It’s been said before, but we’ll reiterate. At the time walking around with a Number One crop was shocking to a lot of people. It was simply not done. Something as simple as this haircut was enough to cause waves for you throughout society and would certainly lead to clashes throughout your day. Mikkel fondly recalls butting heads with long hair teachers over his hair. Take it or leave it, this is who I am, a classic attitude and one necessary if you are going to be around as long as Mikkel.
Enough about the provocative side. Mikkel also had a strong affinity towards the smarter end of skinhead style since the very beginning. His enthusiasm for it exudes through conversation. Hard street kids in smart mens clothing is how he recounts it, a very descriptive choice of words for the look. Mikkel also speaks of the immense pride the look is responsible for. We certainly can’t disagree with him. There’s hundreds of people around the world who’d agree with him as well.
We’ve made mention of just how long Mikkel Rude has been part of the skinhead scene. Because of this we felt it necessary to ask him about how he has seen things change in that time. He talks about the, perhaps for lack of a better word on our part, globalization of the skinhead scene over time. He recalls a time when the scene was centered around the UK with skins only in the big cities around Europe and America. He also remembers a scene based around youth. Makes sense for what is the greatest youth cult England ever produced. But he’s watched the scene shift towards people staying part of it longer, no longer a brief adventure during youth but something that truly becomes a part of ones everyday life for decades. That said Mikkel told us there is a fair crowd of young skins in his hometown. Them and some of Mikkel’s older mates occasionally drink together, the skinhead culture being a common bond throughout generations.
One thing we really wanted to know the answer too was exactly what motivated Mikkel to open his own shop. Many have a love for the scene, nowhere near as many make it such a huge part of their own life. His journey towards owning his own shop wasn’t some grand plan. It was a everyday story: he wanted a shop, wasn’t sure how to do it. Rented a shop and figured his way through the rest. The store gave him a good view of the declining level of shirts available on the market. We’ve all seen the about face from Ben Sherman, moving away from making the shirts which made them an iconic British brand to something more at home in a disco, but for Mikkel he wasn’t able to stand idly by.
When asked about his preferred clothing maker, Mikkel made it quite clear he hasn’t got one. Instead there are various clothing and shoe makers. Alden and Florsheim for footwear, John Smedley knitwear and he recommends Threadneedleman in South London for suits. His choice for Crombies? Our original profile subject, Thick as Thieves.
We expected a big story when we asked Rude what led to him creating his own shirts. There wasn’t one. Simple as he got fed up with the selection of high quality shirts so he decided he’d make his own. From talking with Mikkel you quickly gain the notion he isn’t one for bullshit or small talk. He’s a straight forward person, end of. It’s a quality we appreciate. The signature pointed button down collar on his shirts were as simple decision as he preferred that style of collar, a preference developed over years of tracking down quality vintage shirts. No “collection curator” here. Mikkel knew what he liked and that was that.
He also sought to have a shirt that was able to identify his own style. Jon Wood, Ben Sherman, Arnold Palmer, Jaytex. All these shirt makers had their own distinctive styles that set them apart, so Mikkel wanted his to have the same affect. We think he achieved it with aplomb. With eye catching checks, high quality Oxford shirts and an appreciation to the finer details of a well made shirt Mikkel has done what he set out to do.
If you’re looking to purchase a shirt from Mikkel Rude, the website can be found at http://www.mikkelrude.co.uk. As well as shirts he offers a range of cardigans and a selection of footwear.