Sammy Aki: The Groom Style Consultant
Born to West African parents and raised in North West London and Somerset, Sammy Aki is a fashion stylist and event consultant who offers bespoke tailoring service for men on their wedding day. After a decade of consulting in the luxury men's wear industry, including working for the likes of Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Reiss, Thomas Pink & Topshop, Sammy decided to focus her attention on someone who often gets forgotten in the wedding hype - the groom. She has since created her own company and is founder of The Groom Style Consultant sammyaki.com.
We caught up with Sammy to find out a little more about her passion for luxury men's wear and her top tips for grooms to be.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I love a wedding; in fact I love any celebration and I particularly love it when you look around and can see everyone has made a decent effort. Let's face it - women have a lot of advice and guidance on tap, be it through the media, shops, or their friends and family. Even though these avenues are open to men too, some just aren’t able to gain this insight without feeling pressured or confused.
I founded my business The Groom Style Consultant in 2012 to help my clients look and feel good on their wedding day. I find out what my clients have in mind (or don’t) and then I make them a reality in a few pain free steps. I offer clients ready to wear, made to measure and bespoke wedding suits and accessories. Working with all the names you know as well as those you haven't yet come across. Most importantly, I have direct access to many of the manufacturers.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I draw inspiration from the people I meet on my day-to-day encounters. I’m blessed living in such a vibrant city (London) and working alongside truly inspiring people so each day I learn something new which takes me on another path of discovery. Only recently, I met someone wearing exquisite Kente cloth. I stopped him to compliment him and from this I am now working directly with weavers in the Volta region of Ghana on some designs.
My clients are key. We discuss everything from how they met to what flowers they will have at the wedding. Once something triggers something in me, I then do further research to create the right look for them.
I tend to go out and explore rather than do “desk research”. I’m often asked where I’m based... the answer is everywhere! I enjoy travelling and visiting markets in cities and villages abroad. I also attend and work at the fashion weeks and trade fairs for not only menswear but also art and interior design.
Why did you decide to go into luxury menswear?
It was between Law and Fashion. After completing my work experience placements (many years ago) I had no doubt that it was going to be menswear. I was fortunate to start my career on Jermyn Street. Intrigued by this unique world I wanted to know more about the craft and people involved. I enjoyed how precise everything was and the incredible quality and detail on offer. I knew that I wanted to be part of something that had potential and grow with it - and luxury menswear has certainly done that. I’m glad I listened to my young self and dedicated myself to this. Working in luxury menswear is like being part of a family (many are still family businesses across the globe). It is a really inclusive industry and seems to thrive on it’s sharing of knowledge and skills and I really respect this.
What are your top tips for Grooms to be?
Gain an overview on what’s available and then be efficient. Don’t leave everything until the last minute, as there are other things in the final month that will need your attention. There is a lot available so remain focused. Once you have the right suit you can then work out the accessories.
Don’t think you need to throw money at things because it’s a wedding, and in the same breath don’t restrict yourself too much. Invest in pieces you can return to again and again. Only choose pieces you actually like.
Take this as a stress-free time, and have fun. Involve your best man and let the groomsmen know what their responsibilities will be on the day they will be the ones ensuring everything goes smoothly.
We don’t hear much about the mother of the groom, and often don’t want too many cooks. This can be avoided by directing the involvement and remembering to make her feel good, and relevant. Spend time and take an interest in what she may be wearing. If you can, take her out for lunch with her best friend.
Always break in your shoes and remember to mark your new leather soles, you don’t want to find yourself in the same situation as Chandler from Friends unable to show off your moves during the first-dance due to a slippery floor.
Remember to have breakfast. You want to be looking good but most importantly feeling good. It’s a long energy filled day so be prepared with some baobab fruit bars just in case you need a snack.
For more information on Sammy's Groom Consultant service, check out her website.