Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up on a small farm, about 40 km in the north of Munich. My parents used to breed
piglets and grow hops. I took over their business and continued the hop business. Before I became a farmer, I used to work as a business development manager for a Swiss company. I traveled a lot within this period of time, gave many presentations and talked to successful business people. However, I never lost my connection to my farming roots or my home in Bavaria. I studied agriculture in Bavaria and MBA in Munich and Berkeley.
Do you have a personal philosophy that you live by?
Being well-dressed has been something I have followed all my life. This does not necessarily mean that I always wear ties and suits, but the saying 'clothes make the person' is something we say here in Bavaria.
It's important to take care of your health and do sports, as success and good health go hand in hand.
Never buy cheap things, whether it be clothes or other items. If you buy cheap, you will always end up buying twice. I always say, 'I don't have enough money to buy cheap things'.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I usually get up early in the morning, sometimes as early as 4:30 am. If work allows it, I go to the gym to do some heavy lifting. After that, I work on my farm, doing some tractor work, working manually in my hop gardens, or doing some repairs in my workshop. My workshop may be small, but it feels like a second home to me.
During harvest time, I can't do sports. I still wake up early, but no gym. I have my breakfast, talk to some farm workers, and then we start working until late in the evening.
As for my ideal day, it would include a long breakfast and enough time for the gym. On Sundays, I ideally have enough time to dress up and go to the city.
Was there a moment in your life where you chose to change it all up? Have there been any big leap of faith moments in your life so far?
About 15 years ago, I realized that there is more to life than having long titles on business cards, spending long hours on airplanes, and staying in nice hotels. I decided to quit my well-paid job in Munich city center and go back to my family's farm. I traded in my elegant jackets for heavy work boots. Since then, dressing up like you know me has become my hobby.
When I am feeling down, I put on my best suit, my best tie, my best shirt, my best pair of suspenders, my best hat and I’m off to the city.
If you’re ever in not such a good place, are there any specific things you do to pick yourself up again?
I promise you that if you run a farm like mine, you sometimes go through hell. Ups and downs are normal. When I am feeling down, I put on my best suit, my best tie, my best shirt, my best pair of suspenders, my best hat and I’m off to the city. I am usually good at cheering myself up. I do not go to nature; I only see work when I am out in the fields.
Being a farmer, I can imagine that it’s very important that you take proper care of your health and body. You also have an awesome mustache and beard! What does taking care of yourself entail for you, in body, mind and grooming?
As mentioned earlier, doing sports is very important to me. As a farmer, I am mostly full of dirt and grease. And if I work on my farm, I do not fear dirt. Nevertheless, I always work with gloves as I want to have my hands clean and looking good. I have a good barber who frequently trims my beard and cares about my mustache. I style my mustache every morning, regardless, if I work in my workshop or if I have an important appointment. Having well manicured hands and pedicured feet is important to me and in my opinion important to everybody. Especially, if you wear heavy working boots everyday and if you walk a lot, your feet need special care.
I believe you have familial roots to farming and the countryside, what made you decide to get into the profession for yourself? What is the biggest and most welcome difference to other professions/ jobs you might have had?
I was the first born son of my parents, and as the first born, I was expected to succeed my father as a farmer. However, I was never forced to become a farmer; I wanted to step into my dad's shoes and continue his work and achievements. When I worked for a large corporation, I eventually realized that it was not my world. I did not need titles or show power, even when I did not have any power. I would rather be my own boss and make my own decisions. I earned more money as a BD-manager, but I am happier now. If I want to travel, I can travel, provided my work allows me to do so. I do not need to ask anybody.
As a farmer, there are days and weeks with a lot of work, and 12 to 14 hours per day can be normal. However, there are also other days with less or no work. Being self-employed often means suffering, as not everything goes as smoothly as you want. I sometimes feel that I suffer 99% and am happy only 1%, but this 1% is so good that I do not think about the other 99% of suffering. When I worked for others, I did not have this 1% that makes me super happy and motivated to continue.
I think there is no profession that provides more perspectives than farming.
Has being a farmer changed your perspective in any way?
I think there is no profession that provides more perspectives than farming. There is always a way to branch out, to close branches, to produce more, to produce something different, and so forth. And most importantly, as a farmer, you are totally free. Nobody tells you when to do what. You decide and you do. The weather is your guide. Of course, being a farmer is also risky. If the weather is not good for your production or if the markets are down, it means little money for you. There is nobody who pays you at the end of the month.
Has your current (or past) profession taught you any ‘life lessons’ that you’d be willing to share with us?
Always strive to become the best version of yourself and continuously improve, regardless of what you do. But if you have the feeling that what you are doing is no longer good for you, just leave it and let it go. Spend your energy on something which gives you more satisfaction and motivation. Never follow people who do not care about you and do not appreciate you. This is the biggest waste of resources and energy.
Do you have any tips for people thinking about starting out in this business? Or maybe even on a smaller scale, do you have any tips for people thinking about growing their own produce/ garden and becoming more self-sufficient?
I think starting a farm from scratch will be very difficult. You would need to buy a farm or land to get started. Nevertheless, it will not be impossible. Growing your own vegetables is something very lovely and everybody should do it if possible. You can also do it in pots on your balcony. Get some soil and some seeds and plants, and get started. If you have no idea how to do it, just switch on YouTube and learn. Start with tomatoes as they are super easy. You cannot give them too much water, rather too little. If you do not have any fertilizer, just do without. Same goes for strawberries. Get some plants, put them in a pot with soil, and enjoy the berries by the end of June.
What does the future look like for you? Where do you see yourself going?
Starting a family, expanding my farm business, getting a dog, and building a small house would be cool. Everybody should have good life here on my farm, including my parents, who still live and work here. When I am old, I will give some advice to my successor how to run the farm and help him doing the field work, by tractor or even by hand.
How would you describe your style? Has your style changed over the years? How did you get to having the signature style you now rock?
I call my current style simply classic with a bit of retro. I am fully convinced that old things are often better than newer ones. I noticed this when I work with my farm equipment and when I combine my looks. Yes, my style has changed a lot over the years. In the early years, I used to wear blue jeans and denim jackets, but I didn't like it too much, and I was always interested in classic men's wear.
However, I didn't wear it because it's not so common here in the countryside, and I didn't want to stand out from the crowd. But eventually, I became self-confident enough to wear what I wanted. Initially, my looks were more suitable for business, so I wore blue business suits, and so forth because of my job. When I returned to my family's farm to work as a farmer, my style changed a lot again. I didn't have to go to the office anymore, so I started to experiment with hats, suspenders, my beard, and so forth. I stopped buying from the shelves in Munich and started to connect with little shops all over the world. Instagram helped me a lot to get in contact with these guys, like Wiseguy.
Currently, I call myself something between a gentleman and a dandy. I like to be recognized on the streets, but I'm convinced that a real gentleman is what he is and is not recognized in the streets. I enjoy being noticed when I'm out and about, but I believe that a true gentleman is defined by who he is, not by how others perceive him in public.
Do you have any style idols?
I don't really have style idols. To get inspired, I usually look at pictures from the good old times, such as pictures of people from the 1920s. In the past, people were so stylish and they are my style idols.
Does being a farmer influence your style or the other way around?
Being a farmer does not influence my style. Anyway, when I work, I am dressed well, too. I usually wear modern work clothes, modern mountain boots and trucker caps. My favorite work clothes are from @snickersworkwear. My boots are mostly from @lasportivagram. If I work, I wear suspenders, too. Not always, as it depends on the kind of work I have to do.
When I relax and lie on the sofa, I usually think about fashion instead of farming. I agree that fashion and farming are two different worlds.
Farming and fashion are quite some worlds apart from each other. What is your experience of the contrast between fashion and farming?
Both things are my passion, but when I relax and lie on the sofa, I usually think about fashion instead of farming. I agree that fashion and farming are two different worlds. Farmers typically do not accept people who dress up like I do, and that's a sad reality. Fashion enthusiasts, on the other hand, usually like seeing a farmer like me. Usually, if I am outside the farming industry, nobody expects me to be a farmer. When I work on my farm, I am not afraid of dirt, heavy work, or heavy machines. When I am out as a dandy, I am not afraid of wearing elegant hats, suspenders, and outstanding looks. However, one thing is the same for both sides: fashion items and farming equipment can be very costly if you are passionate about them. I hope I was able to answer this question somehow.
What sparked your love for clothing and fashion? Do you remember any specific moments? Has this been an interest you’ve had for most of your life?
A very good question I can hardly answer. I am often asked this question, but I may have an explanation. My mother's family is from Munich, but they left the city when she was a little girl. When I was a child, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother who loved Munich as much as I do, she always brought me to this wonderful city. As a little boy, I mostly explored the toy shops, but as a teenager, I started to explore the fashion shops. So that I could wander around and explore all the shops.
My grandmother looked after me as a child, and as a teenager, I looked after her. Maybe this was the beginning of my fashion interest. When I graduated from university, I started applying for jobs in the industry and had to dress up for job interviews. It was always easy for me to show up looking like a business guy, and frankly, I often enjoyed wearing my suits more than having the interviews.
What made you get into writing, documenting and posting about fashion?
When I worked in the industry, I often went to business meetings, conferences, and similar events. One thing I noticed was that many business people had no idea how to dress up. When I went to such events with my colleagues, everyone always thought I was the boss. Even when my boss was with me, people thought I was in charge. It was simply my look that brought me the respect of others. I know this is the reality, but it's still surprising how much clothes can affect how people perceive you. At that time, I fully realized the power of clothes, and I started to use this power more and more.
When I was on stage, people listened to me and remembered me, even if I was on another stage half a year later. I noticed more and more that I was good at creating looks and styles, and I often thought about how I could share this and teach other people. I initially wanted to write a book, but I started with Instagram and now also write a bit on my website about it.
What has your experience been of the fashion community/ the menswear community? Are there any specific moments or interactions you value most or that you still think about regularly?
It means my work and my style is something people like. I value a lot that companies like Wiseguy want to work with me. It means that my work and my style are appreciated by people. I also appreciate that some larger influencer accounts actively follow mine. The best thing I have ever experienced was when I reached out to a fabric shop in Greece. The owner followed my account, and we got in contact. I asked for some advice on how to get a lovely piece of fabric for a double-breasted jacket, how many meters I needed to buy, and so on. We talked a lot back and forth. One day, I opened my postbox to get all the letters and the daily paper. And there was a little package from Greece in my postbox.
The owner of the fabric shop gave me a piece of fabric for my jacket, free of charge. I now have a lovely double-breasted jacket that my tailor made for me out of this fabric.
If you want to dress up, dress up and go out on the street. Very soon, it will be normal for you to look a bit different than others.
Would you have any tips for someone who would want to experiment more with menswear/ fashion but maybe is a bit afraid or doesn’t know where to start?
I surely have. First thing is, please do not be afraid and please do not be afraid if others look at you. They look at you, because you are looking good and because they are interested in menswear, too. But they are most likely afraid to try it for themselves, and even afraid of looking at you. If you want to dress up, dress up and go out on the street.
Very soon, it will be normal for you to look a bit different than others. Always keep in mind that dressing up is not wrong. Maybe start with something very classic. Maybe gray pants and a navy blue jacket. A white shirt and if you are not too shy, a lovely tie. Do not spend too much money on it. Fashion does not have to be expensive. It’s better to make sure it fits well, than having expensive stuff from well known brands. Later, you can add some more things like hats, squares, coats, lapel pins and so forth. Use instagram as an inspiration and if you see a well dressed person in the streets, just have a look what this person is wearing. Don't be afraid to try it yourself.
What are some of your evergreen pieces of clothing or accessories? Are there any items you wouldn’t want to be seen without?
A pocket square, tie, and lapel pin are a must. It's very important to have a navy blue blazer and an overcoat. Having a Trenchcoat is equally important to having a good fedora hat. Lastly, I wouldn't want to miss my suspenders.
Do you have any favorite places to shop? If you could have an endless supply of a specific clothing item, what would it be any why?
Nowadays, I mostly shop online and find these places through Instagram. I also want to mention that there are some good places in Munich, but I hardly go there anymore. Having an endless supply of hats would be something I would love to have. Of course, there are many more items that I hardly have enough of. A hat makes every person so elegant and stylish. If you only have one suit and have to wear it every day, just wear different hats and you will always have a different look. A real handcrafted headpiece is something wonderful in my eyes.
When did you start wearing suspenders?
I think it was in 2016 or 2017 when I bought a pair of suspenders and some attachable buttons from a high street store. At that time, I didn't wear high-waisted trousers, but later I got another pair of suspenders and still wore them with normal trousers. However, I wasn't too convinced with the look. When I finally got my first pairs of high-waisted trousers from Boggi Milano and Anton Meyer, I decided to order another pair of suspenders from Albert Thurston in 2019. Since then, I have mostly been wearing high-waisted trousers with suspenders.
What’s your favorite pair of Wiseguy Suspenders? And do you have a preferred way of styling and wearing them?
It is the Wiseguy Original Barber Pole Suspenders and they cannot be matched. I pair them with a white shirt, one of my high-waisted trousers, and a floral tie. I simply love it.
Any fun anecdotes about yourself which most people don’t know about you yet?
Sometimes, I used to search for my glasses and couldn't find them. After a few minutes, I would realize that I was already wearing them, which is why my glasses weren't where I usually store them. I never talked about this until today. Nowadays, I don't have this issue anymore.
Is there anything we didn’t ask you, that you would like to share with us?
In my opinion, there is no need to spend a lot of money on fashion, but we all should have a deeper look at sustainability when it comes to clothes. Going for a good pair of shoes or trousers is never wrong. While they may cost a bit more, they tend to last longer. In addition, there is no need to have a huge amount of shirts, jackets and so forth. A few well-chosen key pieces are often more helpful and for sure more sustainable.