Sydney Levinson, director of accounting firm HW Fisher & Co. in London, has worked a variety of firms in the creative industries including some that are just getting started in business. A visiting lecturer, he has taught at the Royal College of Art, Bath Spa University, Goldsmiths and the University of The Arts. He is also on the advisory boards of The Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths, the Knowmads in Amsterdam and Music Tech Fest.
Aside from his day job, he’s also a DJ, which allows him to trade his business suit for more relaxed and easy looks.
Dressed in a navy Vivienne Westwood suit and a blue striped Gucci tie — which Levinson said he bought for a bargain at Matchesfashion — he tucked a colorful Paul Smith handkerchief into the pocket of his jacket and paired his look with brown bespoke Carréducker shoes with gray oversize glasses.
“I’m a people person,” Levinson said. “I work with high net worth private clients and I do a lot of work in the creative industries. Some people in the creative industry might not understand business so I take what they say and translate it to something that’s understandable to the world of business.”
WWD: How do you dress for work now versus five years ago?
Sydney Levinson: In my mind, it’s the same. In other words, I have the same consideration: to dress appropriately for who I will be with that day. In other words, if I’m going to see a client who’s in the accounting industry, I’ll dress like an accountant. But with some people like Vivienne Westwood, if I’m in Shoreditch house…
WWD: Would you say that your firm has a strict dress code?
S.L.: I looked it up. “As we are a professional organization, it is central to maintain an appropriate standard of dress. Visible body piercings and tattoos are unsuitable.”
WWD: What would you say is the biggest influence on how you dress for work?
S.L.: My biggest influence is what I feel like; I’ve given up on what people think.
WWD: How do you shop for work clothes? Is it pleasurable for you?
S.L.: Always a pleasure, never a chore because I don’t actually distinguish between whether it is work or not work.
WWD: Do you have any favorite shops or designers?
S.L.: Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Margaret Howell, Oliver Spencer and Spencer Hart. I shop on Savile Row. I buy Acne because it’s nice. I like going to [curated] shops for presents. I like quirky Japanese brands. I used to go to Brown’s during the Eighties. You trust small shops and you trust the people who work there. Paul [Howie] had like a little shop called Howie on Fulham Road. That’s how I discovered clothes — from him. He was married to Lynne Franks who the [“Absolutely Fabulous”] character Edina Monsoon was created after. So he was stocking all these designers. Whenever she got a new designer, somehow the clothes will turn up in Paul’s store. The shop was fun. With Supreme, I think you need to queue up, because I don’t like buying online and things are limited. The only way to get it is to queue, so I’m going to queue. It’s fun.
WWD: Does what you wear affect your work?
S.L.: I think it sets the mood. It’s a bit like comfort food. It’s a crazy time for me in January. I work long hours and my team is working long hours. There’s nothing like a long cardigan to keep you through the day. That’s comfort dressing.
WWD: Would you say you follow fashion trends? Do you prefer to stay true to your style?
S.L.: I see what’s going on. But, I never think of following trends. Once it’s a trend, it’s too late. A lot of the stuff I buy, I keep wearing it. You don’t worry if it’s from last season.
WWD: If you were given a choice, would you dress more formally or casually?
S.L.: The answer is…the choice is what I’m doing today. I enjoy looking smart. I don’t wear anything that I don’t enjoy wearing, even if I’m putting on a cardigan.
WWD: What’s your favorite purchase for the last few months and why?
S.L.: I do get excited about Supreme and it is just fun. Even though it sells out — it’s not everywhere. It has its own style. When I got that Supreme scarf I was really excited. The queue two weeks ago wasn’t that bad because I got my timing right. Normally, I don’t queue up at 3 in the morning. If I end up queuing, the longest I have waited was probably an hour and a half. When the new season drops, I won’t go first thing in the morning. I’ll turn up about 4 p.m., when it’s manageable. There was a Supreme Vampirella T-shirt and I got excited about it. It’s got a cartoony and superhero Vampirella.
WWD: Is there much overlap between work and off-duty clothes for you?
S.L.: Supreme is quite subtle and their clothes can be quite preppy. So you can find a nice pair of trousers and a nice white shirt. I just change my hat basically.
WWD: What do you wear when you’re DJing?
S.L.: Again it depends where I am. So Ridley Road on a Tuesday night has a different vibe from Peckham on a Sunday afternoon. I might wear a jumper and sweater to Peckham. I’ve got favorites. I go back to a Supreme Pink Panther sweater. It is a really nice jumper and I wear it a lot and sweatshirts. Just something a bit fun.