Fashion isn’t only about clothes. It is about how we wear them, about our attitude, it’s what’s inside of us that matters most. It’s we who give meaning to clothes not clothes that give meaning to us. These are the stories of people who inherited good taste and for whom style begins from within.

These stories were presented as a part of Looking for Heroes project that focuses on spreading positivity and sharing inspiring stories of everyday people.

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Dandyism is about more than just the look. It’s a philosophy for life and an attitude

“The philosophy that describes dandy, it’s the philosophy of freedom, of joy, of passion, of respect and sharing.”

“You need to be someone who is good in their own skin, be mentally balanced, someone who is free and a gentleman with a lot of values and principles.”

Maxime just loves being himself. He says that fashion is just within him

“As for me there was no special reference that made me love fashion. I was just born with it. You can’t ask someone why they like strawberries. It’s just that they do. Fashion is just within me. I have no experience in the fashion world. I am not a model. I love being well dressed. I love to be presentable. I just love being myself. We live in a society in which your image matters the most. But I don’t do it for the image. I just do it because I love to be myself.” – Maxime, 26.

“We were always accepted, which was a real change as people of colour like us weren’t used to being accepted in such places”

“At the very beginning it was not about fashion at all. I was just really into taking pictures, I was a photographer myself. But sometimes we took pictures of me and posted them on social networks like Facebook. As people liked the pictures, we thought: why not keep going with taking these? People in the magazines are always well-dressed, so we started going shopping and got addicted to it, and we went to nightclubs on the Champs-ÉLysées. We were always accepted, which was a real change as people of colour like us weren’t used to being accepted in such places. So, as we were popular in these nightclubs with those clothes, with the girls who admired us, we thought that we should go on with that style. So with my friend we kept hanging out together and we kept taking pictures, and we were part of the mundane society, and people started to recognise us. They gave us a nickname, people joined us and our philosophy, we shared the same interests, and the group started like that. It’s not just about fashion because we all have our own style. Now we’re here, and we are ready for the world of fashion.” – Delavega, 31.

When he was young Mohamed really wanted to dress like his dad because he was the real hero to him

“My relationship with fashion started when I was really young thanks to my father. He was passionate about jackets, presence, elegance. When I was young I loved it when my father came back from the office wearing his beautiful suit. It really impressed me.”

“Unlike other boys of my age who asked their parents for a spiderman costume all I really wanted was to dress like my dad because he was the real hero to me. So I already liked suits and everything by then. When I grew older, everything happened naturally. More and more, I discovered that I had a taste in fashion and in well-being. I had to go through this phase, and it happened.” – Mohamed, 29.

When Koffi started wearing these clothes he gained the confidence to be photographed

“When I was a young boy, I didn’t like to be photographed because I didn’t feel comfortable about it. But when I started wearing these clothes I also started to like being photographed.” – John Koffi, 35.

Percy’s dad inspired his own style and attitude

“As for me it’s my father who inspired me. He always used to tell me that being well dressed makes everything even on a date and that stuck with me, that got into my head. While growing up I always had this idea in mind of feeling well in my own skin, of being well dressed. I needed to be presentable everywhere I went. The thing is, as time went by, I could develop that identity that was within me and it made me a bit more different than the others. It made it difficult for me to be accepted amongst the others.” – Percy, 29.

What Percy liked about Dandyism was originality, charisma and presence

“At some point a friend of mine offered me to go for a photoshoot and I really liked it. I really got committed in it and my big reference was dandyism from London. The thing I like about it is that it’s more about attitude and originality as well with lots of charisma and presence which defines your personality so they don’t even need to say a word to make you know who they are. You know who they are because their clothes reflect their personality.” – Percy, 29.

Nadim’s uncle had a collection of more than 200 ties

“I always liked wearing jeans and sneakers. As I grew older, I realised that I was still dressed like a young boy, so I started wearing more adult clothes like blazers. I also got it from my dad and my uncle, who just loved to be well dressed. My uncle had a collection of more than 200 ties. I started dressing like that to emphasise the gap between me and the young boys.” – Nadim, 34.

He started dressing like this to emphasise the gap between him and younger guys

It’s not about the price

“To us, the definition of style is more about matching of clothes, the colours, the fabric rather than a question of price. The cost of the jacket has no importance. You don’t need to spend 1,000 euros on a jacket. It doesn’t even need to be expensive as long as it’s matching with the rest of the outfit.” – Vasta, 34.

“Unlike the others here, I don’t wear this style everyday. I don’t always have the occasion to dress like this because in my day-to-day life I’m running everywhere, so I can’t wear fancy shoes and everything. But I do recognise myself in my friends’ style and I think that’s why they accepted me.” – Vasta, 34.