Sartorialee meets: Craig McGinlay
INTERVIEW / MY STYLE / CRAIG MCGINLAY
The Scotsman flying
The next 12 months are set to catapult Scottish actor Craig McGinlay in to the big time. Already touted as a future James Bond, he stars in Guy Ritchie’s new action film Knights of the Round Table, King Arthur. Sartorialee catches up with him in between filming, for a Becks love-in and to get a measure of his sartorial dexterity
When we meet for the first time in the designer showrooms at this year’s London Collections: Men, (through our mutual friend Dave Pickard of The London Sock Company), Craig is betwixt a hectic schedule of front row catwalks and after party appearances but seems genuinely flattered by our introduction.
Resplendent in tartan trews, check waistcoat and black single-breasted blazer, 6ft 2” McGinlay cuts a fine silhouette. Rugged warrior physique, flocculent facial hair, mane immaculately tamed, he effuses a rakish charm. The 29-year old model turned actor is keen to point out that the big screen is where his future lies.
Having served his small screen apprenticeship acting in flicks Snapshot, Blood Loss and The Fairy Flag, his big break came when Guy Ritchie offered him a starring role in his new film Knights of the Round Table, King Arthur, alongside Jude Law which is set for release in March 2017. The pair met on set while filming the ad campaign for David Beckham’s whisky venture Haig Club, where McGinlay stars alongside the great man himself.
Next time we meet it’s at a Mayfair watering hole synonymous for its pies. We refrain on this occasion, but McGinlay, consummate professional that he is, chooses lime and soda over a plethora of hand pumped craft beers at the bar. My opening gambit is of a personal style nature. How would he describe his?
‘I would say more of a sartorial style but it’s interesting going to the likes of LC:M and picking up so many varied styles. But I definitely enjoy the suit and tie sort of style more than anything and just changing that up. You can do so much with it.’
McGinlay admits he’s always been in to clothes, although it was never something he consciously spoke about with his mates back home in Paisley, on the outskirts of Glasgow, where he grew up: ‘I think some of my old friends, and the kind of look I had before, would mean me getting a bit of a ribbing if I’m honest! Going from rugby to modelling to fashion and style, they’d support me 100%.
But no definitely the friends I’ve made within the industry. Fellow model and menswear ambassador David Gandy and stylist Joe Ottaway’s styles, in particular, have rubbed off on him. ‘It’s really nice, you’re learning from other guys that have become my mates as well. Rubbing shoulders with stylists has been great since I’ve been in London. Asking advice as to what will suit you. The more modeling jobs you do you get to realise what styles suit you, that’s what you’ve kinda gotta go with.’
He says coming to London for modelling and acting has opened his eyes: ‘You have to be thinking about your appearance, especially going to events, auditions, castings, you’re going to interviews, it’s crucial your appearance now.’
‘People I’m meeting, you’re taking ideas’. He says he’s realised the importance of trying not to follow fashion trends too much: ‘If I like something, I’ll wear it. I think you can start to try too hard. He admits he’s made that mistake before: ‘You end up not suiting it, or it doesn’t look good on you. There are only certain things that will look good on me or anyone else so it’s a case of whatever I like and feel comfortable in wearing. I think that’s the most important thing, you’ve got to feel comfortable and that’s how it should be.’
I ask if he favours particular styles of jackets, shirts and accessories. ‘Not necessarily but I do like the double-breasted blazer, it’s probably my favourite – it’s so good, you can dress it up, dress it down.
The Scot sits before me rocking what he describes as ‘a very mix and matchy’ multitude of blues. ‘You like navy then’, I say: ‘A little bit’, he says with a wry grin: ‘Hardy Amies tie, Tommy Hilfiger shirt and blazer, Spencer Hart trousers and pocket square and Turnbull and Asser monkstrap shoes. Actually I very kindly got sent the Tommy stuff, as a gift. He says it’s not normally a brand on his sartorial radar: ‘It’s opened my mind in the last few weeks. I met a couple of guys from the company and started to look in to it and there’s definitely something for everyone there.’
Always intrigued to know how much style can be inherited, or not, I probe McGinlay on his style influences growing up. I speak to a lot of guys about this and they often cite a close relative as the instigator. ‘I’d say my Grandad on my Dad’s side was always very dapper, didn’t matter what day of the week it was he was always in his tie, nice shirt always beautifully presented and ironed with nice cufflinks, nice pair of trousers, everything, belt, he always looked immaculate in a lovely blazer as well just to top it off. He was always on point.’
Our conversation turns to style icons. ‘David Beckham is definitely one. Having played sport myself (McGinlay was a pacy winger for Glasgow Hawks Rugby Club and represented Scotland U-19s at the World Cup in Italy), he’s obviously a great athlete. Growing up watching someone like that, just his determination and discipline. He was a kind of role model, even though he was in a different sport, his dedication was fantastic, also his style. In terms of dress style and dress sense again he’s always on point, always looking smart. I was never quite able to pull off the Mohawk though!’
‘It’s amazing having worked with him now, and getting to see his style first hand, he’s such a nice guy and that’s the nice thing as well he’s such a down to earth person. He’s such a gentleman and that comes across in the clothes he wears a lot of the time. It happens with a lot of people actually, the clothes they wear reflect the type of person they are. I’d say he’s definitely one of them.
I concur he’s one of mine too: ‘He straddles the casual-smart divide amazingly well. You look at him and and he’s cool no matter what he wears. As cool in a white t-shirt and jeans as he is in a DB blazer and tie. The modern day James Dean.
‘That’s the thing with him’, says McGinlay, ‘he’s not just gone down the line of being a sartorial guy or the casual guy, he’s able to pull off both as you say. That’s what I’ve tried to do, I wasn’t always very good at that if I’m honest, when I started I first came in to the industry I was going to any event I would always dress up all the time – tie and shirt. I’m probably a bit more adventurous now. Belstaff, for example were kind enough to dress me for LC:M and I wouldn’t have normally done that you know, but going a little bit more casual I feel more comfortable wearing a pair of jeans with boots or trainers along with a leather jacket. McGinlay rocked that very same look when I ran in to him again in Selfridges for The Rake magazine’s series with Ralph Lauren shortly after.
I confess to Craig that I struggle with the casual side because I always like to look smart. ‘I very rarely wear a suit, I like to wear a jacket. There’s quite an art in being able to dress smart but also on the flip side (and I hate this term) but smart casual!’
McGinlay says he finds that more difficult. ‘It’s much easier to dress smart – suit and tie, yeah, is quite easy a lot of the time, that’s what I find anyway. I used to be of the opinion that you’re always better to dress up than be underdressed, but I’m trying to be a bit more adventurous, trying some casual wear if I can.
I’ve noticed when I have dressed down I feel more relaxed at times, more casual, so long as you’re smart casual and not wearing old jeans and dirty trainers. If it’s done in the right way I think you can pull it off. It definitely reflects your attitude and the way you’re feeling and just being comfortable as well at events.
Given his Scottish background, quite how much does the mother land influence his clothing?
‘Erm, to a certain extent I mean I had a pair of trews on at LC:M which was very nice and I mean I’ll try and pull in a little bit of tartan where I can. I’m from Paisley so I try and get the Paisley pattern in there (while the fig-shaped paisley motif is of Persian descent, its western name derives from the McGinlay’s home town, once a major centre for textiles). All in all I would say I’m so proud of where I’m from and the heritage – if I can I will. It’s nice to wear but it’s a case of trying to be more adventurous instead of sticking with your roots. I don’t just want to be the bearded Scotsman wearing a kilt to every event.’
craigmcginlay.com | Twitter + Instagram: @craigmcginlay