10 Of The Best Male Influencers Of 2016

Meeting the growing band of creatives who use social media to inform and inspire

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2016 has been a big year for the 'influencers' – that growing band of creatives who use social media to inform, inspire and get their message out there in every area and specialism you can think of, from fashion to film, food to photography.

We've picked ten of our current favourites to ask them how they work, what drives them and how they stay connected – brought to you in association with Emporio Armani's new Connected Hybrid smartwatch collection, which combines classic styling with the latest wearable technology that connects with your smartphone to provide notifications, daily activity tracking and more (available at Ernest Jones).

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Dan Doherty

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Insta: @dandoherty_

Website: www.duckandwaffle.com

Describe what you do:

I'm the chef at Duck and Waffle in the Heron Tower in Liverpool Street.

What's the best thing about what you do?

Combining running a 24 hour restaurant with up to 50 chefs cooking for up to thousand people a day with also writing books and recipes when I'm not at the restaurant.

And the biggest challenge?

You're only as good as the people around you and if you work in a twenty four hour restaurant you have to accept you have to go home at some point as you can't do every service.

What and who are the biggest influences in your professional life?

Just travelling and eating as much as possible in different places is very inspiring, including off the beaten track countries like Bangladesh and Burma.

What's the biggest lesson you've learnt this year?

The first one is that someone told me the numbers on a toaster dial represent minutes. It blew my mind. The other one is that green, white and black peppercorns are all the same corn just at different stages of growth.

What's the best advice you can give on how to better manage your time?

I have to write everything down and used to use an old school paper diary but now I use iCal on my phone – like a to do list combined with a diary.

What would you like to have achieved in 12 months time?

I'm not leaving my job but I would love to have my own little side project so I'd like to have opened my own restaurant in a year's time.

Darren Kennedy

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Insta: @darrenkennedyofficial

Website: www.darrenkennedyofficial.com

Describe what you do:

Broadcaster, writer, part-time designer, stylist and anything else that keeps the wheels spinning.

What is the best thing about what you do?

The best thing is the variety. I love going at something 100%, getting excited about it, being creative and finishing it, before moving on to the next thing.

And the biggest challenge?

Making sure I stay focused – if you're not careful, you can end up doing projects that aren't on target for where you want to go.

So what and who are the biggest influences or have been the biggest influences in your professional life?

Terry Wogan has been a huge influence, obviously as a fellow Irishman he kind of laid the trail and was always effortlessly brilliant. I think nature inspires me too as it is always changing and I love that.

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt this year?

That everything is always in flux, nothing remains constant. And that what has come has come to pass not to stay.

What's the best advice you can give on how to better manage your time?

Be really strict on who you give it to.

What would you like to have achieved in 12 months time?

In 12 months time I will have my new series on British screens, and will have several new products and lines on the cards. That's my goal.

Aaron Christian

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Insta: @aaronchristian_

Website: www.aaronchristian.co.uk

Describe what you do:

I direct commercials and online content in fashion, luxury and oddly enough comedy as well.

What's the best thing about what you do?

The main thing is the chance to travel the world, but I also get to have an insight into so many different industries, see how different people work and I also get to be my own boss.

And the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge is time. You could be working on an amazing project with an amazing team and have a number of creative ideas but being able to pull it all together on time and on budget can be really challenging.

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What and who are the biggest influences in your professional life?

It's going to sound corny but when I was young the books of self-development coach Anthony Robins gave me a lot of encouragement and self belief. Comedy director Judd Apatow's book has been a real inspiration. Also Jeremy Langmead, my previous boss at Mr Porter, who gave me my first break when I was working on the shopfloor at Top Man.

What's the biggest lesson you've learnt this year?

I now try to replace judging with being more curious – to ask more questions before making a plain assumption.

What's the best advice you can give on how to better manage your time?

As well as iCal, I use a piece of software called Toggle which you put on your computer and it records how much time you spend on different tasks and projects.

What would you like to have achieved in 12 months time?

I'm currently working on a few sketch show scripts with my brother and my sister which are in the treatment stage and pitching to a few broadcasters so for that to get commissioned and to work on a family project will be cool.

Abdel Abdulai

Insta: @boyfromdagbon

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Website: www.boyfromdagbon.com

Describe what you do:

I'm a street style photographer and I like to see my website Boy from Dagbon as a kind of encyclopedia of men's style.

What's the best thing about what you do?

Taking a good picture of someone that's dressed very well is probably still one of the best parts for me because I know finding good style is difficult.

And the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge is staying relevant in the industry. Still making sure that people recognize and want to work with you will always be the challenge because now that the industry has grown everyone wants a piece of it.

What and who are the biggest influences in your professional life?

When I started off my first influence was photographer and blogger Carl Geyer an American French photographer and blogger and Scott Shuman (The Sartorialist). I also really admire what people like Sam Lambert are doing in the industry with clothing right now.

What's the biggest lesson you've learnt this year?

As a photographer who uses a DSLR, the biggest thing I've learnt is to use my camera phone more and appreciate its use when I'm out and about.

What's the best advice you can give on how to better manage your time?

Get a watch.

What would you like to have achieved in 12 months time?

I'd like to push a little bit more with my photography and aim for some editorial projects as well.

Allan Brutenic

Insta: @alanisko

Website: www.alanisko.tumblr.com

Describe what you do:

I'm a freelance photographer and social media influencer based in London.

What's the best thing about what you do?

Travelling, without question. I'm the kind of person that can't stay too long in one place and need to explore.

And the biggest challenge? The weather usually. Recently I was shooting a campaign in Canada and the client was hoping for autumnal colours. Unfortunately mother nature decided to extend summer this year and we had to drive miles up north to get the right hues.

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What and who are the biggest influences in your professional life?

If I had to pick one, then it would be Damien Lovegrove. I love the way he works with light and I hope I'll get to his level one day.

What's the biggest lesson you've learnt this year?

The biggest one is to make sure I have everything written down on paper as sometimes people promise things they later struggle to deliver.

What's the best advice you can give on how to better manage your time?

Get up early and get as much done as you can. I struggle with this a bit as I'm a night owl but I'm using several time managing apps that help me organise my time better.

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What would you like to have achieved in 12 months time?

I hope to visit some more cool places, and meet great people from around the world.

Jackson Boxer

Insta: @jackson_boxer

Website: www.brunswickhouse.co

Describe what you do:

I'm a chef, food writer, restaurateur, gardener. I don't do anything that's at all important but I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make other people happy.

What's the best thing about what you do?

Running a restaurant is a very frivolous thing but at the same time there are few ways that you can more effectively make people happy than food - if only while they're under your roof.

And the biggest challenge?

I think being humble and accepting your limitations and working within them, and being the best that you can be while also not allowing yourself to get bored or complain.

What and who are the biggest influences in your professional life?

I think my core influence has always been my family. I had two extraordinary grandmothers one of whom was an amazing rustic farmhouse cook who grew all her own vegetables and milked her own cow every day and could feed her family of twenty grandchildren and five children an incredible feast from her farm.

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What's the biggest lesson you've learnt this year?

On the one hand it's quite a scary time to be alive and on the other hand it's a very wonderful time to be alive so I don't want to waste a moment.

What's the best advice you can give on how to better manage your time?

One of the great things I've learnt since becoming a parent is that the early hours of the day can be the most productive I love getting up at 6am when I can do a little bit of yoga, do some writing and clear my head for the day.

What would you like to have achieved in 12 months time?

One thing I'd hope to have achieved in my writing is committing my thoughts to paper without constantly wishing to revise them as it's something that I really really enjoy and find a huge amount of value in.

Jimmy Launay

Insta: @jimmylaunay

Describe what you do:

I model for a living, which means I go to parties for free, work out 2 or 3 times a week and sometimes I wear nice clothes for photographers.

What's the best thing about what you do?

Going to parties for free isn't enough? I do love the travelling opportunities my job gives me. And I have met some incredible people from around this world since I started in the fashion industry.

And the biggest challenge?

I was born and raised in the countryside, really far from the world I deal with every day in my professional life. The biggest challenge was to keep my family and friends close to me, and not let my professional life get between us.

What and who are the biggest influences in your professional life?

I admire the work of Charles Bukowski, the words of Jim Morrison and as a proper Frenchman I am a Serge Gainsbourg fan. But I wouldn't say there is one person whom influences me.

What's the biggest lesson you've learnt this year?

I'm 24 so I like to think I am still learning every day. So far the biggest lesson I learned is that my job is supposed to be fun, so if I am bored it means something is wrong. It's why I decided to quit a safe and comfortable situation in London for a new and bigger challenge in Paris.

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What's the best advice you can give on how to better manage your time?

Instead of managing time I think it's important to make time to be lazy and relax in your time off - watching Netflix, cooking a nice piece of meat and enjoying a good book when you're too lazy to go out.

What would you like to have achieved in 12 months time?

As a model I would like to be part of a campaign for a big international brand, feature in more fashion magazines and continue to develop the video side.

Matthew Pike

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Insta: @mat_buckets

Website: www.bucketsandspadesblog.com

Describe what you do:

I'm a men's lifestyle writer, blogger, creative consultant, stylist, you name it.

What's the best thing about what you do?

When I'm fortunate enough to be chosen to go on amazing trips, working with brands I have loved for years and passionate about, and great photographers that I have been fans of for years.

And the biggest challenge?

I think the biggest challenge is keeping up momentum. I think most freelancers would say that. You never really know where the next job is coming from.

What and who are the biggest influences in your professional life?

Well, I think the first person that had a big impression on me was Paul Smith, as a designer and a company. When I was 14 or 15, I started seeing all these amazing colours and patterns that he was producing, which had a massive effect on me and I ended up studying fashion at college and university.

What's the biggest lesson you've learnt this year?

The biggest lesson I've learnt this year is that it pays to save money! I have just bought a house and the deposit was so big, I am just glad I saved.

What is the best advice you can give to better manage your time?

Having a routine is a massive thing to me. Getting up at the same time, writing a to do list, and getting it done. Even to the point when you know what time you are exercising, or know what time you will be eating your lunch.

What would you like to have achieved in 12 months time?

I think it's about happiness, so obviously I would love to be earning more money, but I would still love to be working with people that inspire me, people that I respect, so hopefully that will continue in a year.

Roger Frampton

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Insta: @rogerframpton

Website: www.roger.coach

What's the best thing about what you do?

I'm an author, a movement coach, a fashion model and an influencer on Instagram.

What's the best thing about what you do?

I'm writing a book called 'How To Move' about something that I'm fascinated in and that I do and teach all the time so it all just ties in perfectly.

And the biggest challenge?

If you love what you do then you shouldn't find it hard so I don't have any challenges really – except finding enough decent cake in the world.

What and who are the biggest influences in your professional life?

I really like the You Tube channel called London Real. The founder is a very good friend of mine and he's the one who pushed me to do my Ted Talk and has also interviewed a lot of people whose books I've read like Daniel Priestly's 'Key Person of Influence' which I think everyone who wants to be an influencer should read.

What's the biggest lesson you've learnt this year?

That things need to be simple. What people really want to know are the very basics so not trying to impress or overcomplicate is the biggest lesson I've learnt.

What's the best advice you can give on how to better manage your time?

It depends what you want to do with your time so prioritise your priorities and when you do that you're fine.

What would you like to have achieved in 12 months time?

In 12 months time, I will have completed my book and I'll be starting the next one. And I will have helped more people in their life just to become that little bit more flexible.

Simon Crompton

Insta: @permanentstylelondon

Website: www.permanentstyle.com

Describe what you do:

I'm a writer and have also run my own website called Permanent Style for the past ten years which has grown to become one of the biggest in the world for tailoring and luxury clothing.

What is the best thing about what you do?

Over that time I have built up a really dedicated and highly engaged following, who not only really appreciate what I do but end up shaping what the site does as well. There is a real community feel to it which is lovely.

And the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge for me, is to retain my independent voice in the fashion industry on one hand and yet run a sustainable business and website on the other.

What and who are the biggest influences in your professional life?

Writer Bruce Boyer has been writing about traditional clothing in the USA for a long time and is not only extremely knowledgeable but also extremely eloquent.

What's the biggest lesson you've learnt this year?

I have two young daughters and I think one of the biggest challenges emotionally is to value the time you have with them at the age they are and but not regret what they used to be.

What's the best advice you can give on how to better manage your time?

You have to be good at saying no to things. I'd say most people don't take enough time over the stuff that they do.

What would you like to have achieved in 12 months time?

I have a street style book coming out next year I feel quite personally attached to because it covers the most practical advice on how to dress and that I think could be really popular.