Photography by: Shin-Hye Lee

My definition of “being bold” is not paying attention to any exterior judgement or influence i.e. listen to your intuition – your “inner tutor”.  Maybe it’s my naturally inbuilt child-like perspective, but I grew up never questioning my motivations and stayed like it!  I was never tainted by doubt because my instinct was more powerful.  I’ve always known exactly what makes me happy and what I wanted to do which was my driving force.

I left school as soon as I could to study art and after this undertook apprentiships / assisting and subsequently started my own work.  I think this could be perceived as having strong self confidence but it’s the only singular mission I felt I could fulfil.  It’s a bit bonkers to have that 100% clarity and determination.

When I was seven I turned the shed into my fashion studio with magazine tears on the walls and sat there sketching jazzy 1980’s / 90’s outfits listening to PMDawn on the radio.  So, the day that I got to show my collection on schedule at Fashion Week was my childhood dream come true.  I feel incredibly lucky that I was given this passion and the chance to explore it.  However, it wasn’t a straight forward journey, I worked every hour and sacrificed my life, but I got there!  On that note, this is how I got into fitness..

Photography by Mitchell McGillvary –  Fred wearing Rapha

I never had a day off when I was doing my own accessories line because seasons came around faster than a blink of an eye and you have to constantly be spinning plates to survive.  For exercise I cycled to work and did yoga weekly because that has been a lifelong love affair I’ve always practised with my parents since growing up.  But my family weren’t competitive and never, ever encouraged group sports so the idea was alien to me until BoilerRoom set up a football team and asked me to join.  Now I had a commitment to leave the studio every Wednesday night to jump around and put full throttle into kicking a ball.  I wasn’t any good but I loved it!  Once I realised that I could run, I took up an invitation to try out Charlie Dark’s RunDemCrew and have never looked back.   After the first session of a 10k run I signed up to a half marathon in 6 weeks and since then I went on to complete the London marathon.

Without exposing my life story in explicit detail here, this was a real turning point and saved my life.  My work / personal life ratio had got to the point where I couldn’t see a future and I had a bleak outlook.  Going out running cleared these cob-webs because it was escapism from spiralling preoccupations and as endorphins pumped through my veins, a weight lifted and lightness whooshed around.  I realised I had to stop smoking to train which was a successful challenge that I’m grateful for every day.  Nothing else had worked but that really did it!!!  The success I felt from achieving this massive goal made me feel that I could apply the same mentality to anything else.  The skills of self-resilience that I learnt could be transferred to other parts of my life.  My future forecast was getting alot brighter and the grey was subsiding..


Photography by Aoife Hills

Colour is my favourite thing in life.  It’s what I appreciate most in a day’s experience.  Small things resonate massively and I almost feel vibrations which I think is why I’m attracted to / obsessed with it.  The fact that rain can become a rainbow with light is nature’s magic trick and best cosmic surprise every time.

Isn’t it great when you see a granny with colour co-ordinated hair, accessories, outfit and shopper?!  I love it!  It puts a real smile on my face. Colour has a taste-factor to it because no one sees it the same way.  That really intrigues me.  Why do some people like combinations that I find offensive and visa versa.  It’s fascinating.

I have become friends with people purely down to coming together thru the magnetism of colour.  There’s a live current from colour appreciation that pulls us into alignment.  For instance, I remember with Julie Verhoeven, we kept seeing each out and about and one day we just said hello because it was getting silly.  Now we keep in touch thru colour and she is the source I have to thank for my colour hair connection with Fudge.

For some reason, human instinct is to be alarmed and wary of colour almost like the warning signs in nature of poisonous flora and fauna.  Because of this, in the past my bright outfits have been misleading in relation to my character.  It could be interpreted as “bold” but I’m intrinsically, ridiculously and disablingly shy.  I just happen to love and feel at ease wearing all the colours of the rainbow!

Hair colourist Tracy Hayes at Fudge 

This innate joy I have with wearing colour is something that I want to bring to the fashion fitness realm.  The industry has it massively wrong.  Colour schemes are associated with fluorescents from extreme mountaineering or technical brands.  As a result, the majority of options available are black, grey .. or black.  The one exception is detailing in coral which is from the expectation that women want pink, but not too obviously girly.  Why?

I believe that there could be athleisure that you’d be excited and proud to wear outside of training in your regular day-to-day activities.  The pattern, print and colour could be sophisticated, smart aswell as fun and playful.  That is the next challenge I would like to take on.  I can’t believe no-one has really got it right yet.  I’d love the chance to create a covetable capsule collection for a high-street brand!

Top 5 personal tips for life / career / success:


1)  I always try to find the positives in a negative situation.  If you’re smart you don’t need to discount anything as a waste of time.  There is always something to learn from if you just open your perception and expectation.  Your personal experience is totally unique so you can see something that no one else can and use it to your advantage.


2)  Always be flexible and open.  Don’t ever judge a situation or person with your own knowledge and values. Time and experience give you wisdom so never let naivety trip you up. Be cautious of course, but be aware that surprises are around every corner and you never know how something might turn out if you allow it.


3) Be nice and courteous to everyone, the world is SMALL. I still can’t get my head around the fact that the surface of the planet is massive but somehow life throws the weirdest curveballs with relationships. You never know who knows who or who someone might become! When I was interning, I had two opposite experiences of being treated like heaven and hell. I’ve made it a priority to emulate the angels and not pass on the dark side!


4) On a similar note to the above, have no ego. My dad has been the best example of how to run a business because he’ll be as happy doing the cleaning as doing the spreadsheets and accounts as taking time to get to know his customers. I always like to look out for a manager that mucks-in. If you’ve got a happy person at the top, it trickles down to a proactive team. Bad service is only divisive of a poor leader and that could end a business!


5) “Do You” as J Dilla said. If you’re truly passionate it will generate a strong force. We each have a totally individual style so use it to carve a niche that doesn’t already exist. Have your motive as a personal quest rather than doing another version of something you admire or aspire to. People always ask me how to “blog” but that wasn’t my starting point ……….. I just created a diary online because I wanted to share the incredible things I encountered every day, and it became a “blog”. Don’t do something because of pressure, only use your valuable energy in pursuits that reward and nourish your soul.


Follow Fred Butler on instagram @fredbutlerstyle 


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