Rugby legend Brent Pope on Irish men's fashion evolution: 'They're ready to take a small step forward'
Rugby legend Brent Pope knows a thing or two about men's fashion, and is happy to see than Irish men are ready to take "a small step forward."
Pope, who has lived in Ireland for 25 years, told Independent.ie that Irish men have become more fashionable in recent times.
"Irish men are certainly more fashionable now than they were when I first came over here. Men are moving up in the sense of going through a bit more colour and style. Irish men are ready to take a small step forward in fashion."
Speaking at the launch of his shoe range, Pope Shoes, at The Morrison Hotel, the RTE rugby pundit said that it's "important" for him to put something back into the Irish market.
"I don't profess and I didn't set out to be the next Tommy Hilfiger or whoever, I just wanted something that people could be proud of and enjoy.
"What I hope is that people look and they say, 'There's somebody that's trying to do something for the Irish market.' We have so much of a choice now, it's important to put something back in. Even at Christmas time, if there's something that I'm buying and there's an Irish option, I try to go for that."
The New Zealand native has "always been known" for his fashion sense since he was in university, and said that he became involved in fashion after working with brands while appearing on television.
"I was always known even in university for my kind of radical fashion sense, coming from a stereotypical small country town. As far as really getting into the side of fashion things, I was always approached by various brands over the years when I was doing tv work asking would I wear their shirt or item, so about five years ago I thought, 'What am I doing it for other people for? Why amn't I doing it myself?'
"Every time I used to come off the tv, even now, people comment on what you're wearing. Sometimes it would be less about the game that Ireland had just won and more about, 'I like those shoes' or 'Where do I get that tie?' and that got me thinking."
Pope Shoes... Created by Brent, includes 22 styles of leather and nubuck shoes and boots, as well as tasselled loafers in suede, priced from €99-€119, and are available from selected stores nationwide and popeshoes.com.