You’re from Canada and had been living in Toronto and then moved to London for medical school. How did you find the city?
It was certainly the biggest decision I've ever made being an only child and moving away from home. But it was the most exciting and most transformative decision I've ever made. Toronto is a great city, but London has everything.
One way I like to look at it is that the busier you get, you crave to get as much out of your personal experience as you can in the little time you have. London just has something going on for everyone at every time of the day. That's how I look at it and I learned that quite quickly after moving here.
What were your first impressions then as it was clearly quite a change?
I was blown away pretty much immediately. From the men's fashion point of view, there were so many different individuals that were living here all wearing what they wanted, and it was really exciting just to walk around and people watch. Then, the proximity to the rest of Europe made it really great for me as I hadn't really traveled much at that point. I have Polish roots, but being able to travel to Europe and spend some time in different cities was incredible. I grew up a lot in that period, as I only thought I was going to be here for five years as a medical student.
I thought then that I was going to go back to Canada to continue my training so I really went for it, trying to expose myself to as much as I could.
MEN OF EDWARD GREEN — Dr. ADAM GWOZDZ
We take a stroll around Regent’s Park with Dr Adam Gwozdz and talk to him about shoes, moving to London to pursue a career in surgery — and why doctors now rarely wear ties.
Words by Ben Browne | Photography by Harry Borden
Hi Adam, it’s great to finally chat. Can you kick things off by telling us what you do for a living?
So, I'm a vascular surgeon and what you'd call a clinical academic trainee. I'm currently still in my senior training phase, where I do some clinical vascular surgical work as well as some academic research work, and I do that within the NHS and at Imperial College London in Paddington.
What drew you to medicine?
I've wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember, but it wasn't a profession that ran in the family. It was this combination of wanting to make people better rapidly, which is a big positive of surgery and being involved with people at their most vulnerable, being able to help them, and combining interests in technology and techniques as well as the technical skill that you develop as a result of training.
There was a book I read called 'Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us' by Daniel Pink, and it talks a lot about getting satisfaction from mastering a skill and having autonomy, and you get a lot of those two things in healthcare and surgery. You're able to really apply your knowledge to a problem but you're also able to develop a skill set and master your ability to do things which is really rewarding.
Given your line of work and the fact that you're always on call, downtime must be incredibly precious for you? What’s your vice?
I love going to new restaurants. The wonderful thing about London's dining scene is that it's not just about going to an extremely expensive restaurant. There are so many exciting chefs and cuisines that you can enjoy and experience because it's so incredibly diverse. Everyone wants to come and cook in London – if it's not their first outpost they're bringing their experiences from wherever they are to London, which I think as a diner is really exciting.
Certainly, for me, a great experience that I had recently was an Omakase menu for a restaurant called Maru, in Mayfair, which is headed up by Taiji Maruyama who was the head chef at Beaverbrook.
For those who don't know, can you explain what Omakase is?
It's a Japanese term of tasting menu specialising in sushi. It's not a la carte, or anything like that. Maru is a really small restaurant – I think about 10 seats – and the whole preparation is done tableside in front of you. For certain plates, you're given the course directly into your hand from the chef.
Good to know! Now onto style. When we first met you were wearing a stunning suede jacket and a pair of Edward Green Belgravia loafers. Given your line of work I imagine that you don't often wear classic clothing and shoes often. How do you balance that?
It's a combination really. I'm often in scrubs and scrub shoes, so when I do get to dress up it would be away from the clinic. There's a move within the clinical space where you are dressing down – we're not wearing ties at work due to the infection risk, you're usually bare below the elbows which means that your shirts are rolled up, and you're not wearing any watches and so on.
We went through a period when people would undo a button on their shirt and stick the blades of the tie through the space, but because ties don't get washed on a regular basis there's an infection risk there. So, people don't wear them anymore.
So, if I was watching a medical TV show and a doctor was wearing a tie, that's an inaccuracy?
That absolutely is – you can point that out at a dinner party!
When you do get days off, how are you dressing?
There's certainly a formality to it. My style has evolved over the years and as I get older I think that I'm a lot more comfortable in that I know what I like and what looks good on me. It's more about better quality clothing and better materials that fit my body shape and feel luxurious. So, I try to bring those elements into what I wear.
How do you approach building a wardrobe?
It's about getting fewer high-quality pieces that are going to last a long time. I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction looking at a wardrobe that's composed of pieces that you've worn through a long period of time, you remember experiences in them and that age with you. I'd rather have a few pieces but of better quality.
Talk me through your outfits you've worn for us, starting with the suede jacket which you've paired with your pair of Dovers?
In that outfit, I'm wearing an unlined Valstarino jacket from Valstar. Beneath that is a cream knitted polo shirt from Simon Crompton's Permanent Style – what I like about it is that it has a larger collar, which makes it stand up much better with jackets and blazers. Then, the trousers are from Anglo-Italian. They're made from high-twist wool with a high rise and the shoes are, of course, Edward Green's Dover in dark antique oak.
And how about the second look which you've worn with your much-loved Belgravia loafers?
In that look I'm wearing a navy hopsack blazer from Thom Sweeney blazer. The fabric is perfect, as it's great for travel and due to the texture it's breathable and can also be layered with and worn in winter. I tend to wear Italian-made shirts, as the collars have a much nicer roll to them compared to English shirts.
When did you discover Edward Green?
I was aware of Edward Green shoes when I was in Canada so when I came to London I visited the shop on Jermyn Street — it was the classic English bench-made shoe that I aspired to get.
What's the story behind your pair of Belgravia loafers?
They're around 10-years-old and I bought them from the Jermyn Street store. I've had them resoled four times (and I'm getting them resoled again in the next few weeks). I get them re-soled every couple of years.
I have a lot of shoes – probably just over 20 pairs, I'd say – and I wear Edward Greens at least twice as much as any other shoe I have.
Why is that?
I just love everything about them. In terms of how they look, they're a great shoe that you can wear with more formal trousers but they also look great with jeans on. So, in terms of practicality, they're fantastic. The patina that they've developed over the years just makes it such a beautiful shoe for me. I love wearing them as whenever I look down at them I feel joy. They're incredibly comfortable.
And to your Dovers! Why did you go to Dover in dark oak antique?
I've got a lot of Oxfords and loafers but not one Derby. So, I've always loved the look of the Dover – the split-toe and the upper looks really sharp, but at the same time due to it having that Derby lace system you have that flexibility of it being a little less formal. The last is slightly softer, which allows you to wear it with trousers that aren't made from high-twist wools.
It's a great shoe to wear to work or into the clinic and not have that extreme formality.
They're great all-rounders aren't they. What have you been wearing them with on your off-days?
I've been wearing them with jeans, a safari and a waxed jacket. I've also been wearing flannels with them of course – they look great with charcoal.
You've also polished them to a formidable standard... was that you or did you get them shined by someone?
That was me! That's one of the secret enjoyments. Getting the polish out and a glass of whisky – it's so therapeutic.
Thank you for your time, Adam!