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Mysterious, versatile and mildly terrifying: who is Kafka Man?

This man models for Aberdeen’s Kafka Mercantile. On the store’s website, he’s the leading man in the Curated Edits section. He wears clothes. He’s photographed in those clothes. But is that the end of the story? No. No it is not.

Kafka Man is perhaps the most mysterious man in menswear. The clothes may change but the sunglasses always remain. He’s perfected the ability to wear clothes whether standing on rocks, soil or in the middle of a cornfield. He often looks like he’s planning to strangle someone with his shoelaces. There are layers going on here. 

Let’s examine the evidence.


1. He looks like Jason ‘Foxy’ Fox

If you’re not familiar with the TV show SAS: Who Dares Wins, Foxy is one of the instructors. Former special forces, hard as diamond; the kind of guy who’d pull a bloke’s windpipe out and play it like a flute before he’d hit the floor. He makes fellow instructor Ant Middleton look like a competitor in Drag Race. He’s also the spit of Kafka Man. Both bearded, both unsmiling. And both look like they’ve seen things. Disturbing, frightening things. Foxy with his actual eyes. Kafka Man through the polarized lenses of a pair of Oliver Peoples.



2. He’s quietly terrifying

As a consequence of the above — never smiles, looks like special forces — Kafka Man is scary. Not in an overt way; he’s not been spotted modelling a dagger or a chainsaw. Just in a way that’d make anyone give his pint a wide berth. Although this could just be his modelling persona? Let’s not forget Kafka Mercantile sell serious, grown up kit. Maybe this is just Kafka Man’s interpretation of the vibe — full method modelling. It’s possible that if you met him in real life he’d be giggling like a chorus girl.



3. Always with the sunglasses

We’ve got to get this out the way. Kafka Man is always, always in shades. It just adds to his mystique. What’s he seen? Is his head pointing one way, but he’s secretly looking the other? Is he wondering how to dispose of your body? Of course, you’ll never know, which is probably for the best. He’s an enigma. An enigma in a triple-stitched Japanese jacket. A goal for us all.




4. He’s an expert at looking at the ground

What’s down there? Only Kafka Man knows.



5. He’s an outdoorsman

Sure, he can work in a studio, but Kafka Man’s forte is working the land. Presumably Aberdeen is surrounded by trees, lakes, seas and grass, because Kafka’s Curated Edits are full of it. And bang in the centre is Kafka Man. At one with the pebbles. And sticks. And leaves. He looks extremely comfortable tucked within mother nature’s heaving bosom. Completely unconcerned that he might get soil on his Visvims. For a city dweller it’s difficult to comprehend. It’s almost as if this mightily expensive casual-wear is meant to be used in the wilderness. Rather than to look boss in a pretentious coffee shop.



6. He’s versatile

If you were in any doubt about Kafka Man’s modelling prowess, look at this and believe. Same outfit, two entirely different locations. Watch as Kafka Man up-ends conventional thinking and shows that you can wear a corduroy suit while standing next to some corrugated iron. The wales of the fabric, the ridges of the metal — the man is telling a story without even moving.

And as if that wasn’t enough, enter the cornfield. A regular dude would be overwhelmed by the explosion of tan, taupe, camel and sand. Not Kafka Man. He’s a pro. He remains stoic in the face of it all and cheekily even manages to try and hide a tree. Notably, this is one of the rare occasions Kafka Man has had to remove his shades to master a look.



7. He’s a master of props

If anyone asked you to model an outfit in front of a greenhouse you wouldn’t know where to start. Kafka Man always knows where to start. He’s literally able to just stand in front of that bad boy and ride it like a log flume. And a rake? Not even an issue. Just a few moments to find his character and he’s off. Raking up leaves as if his actual job was raking up leaves. Be of no doubt, this is a craftsman at work.



8. Don’t think he can’t do formal

Kafka Man’s ability to work the outdoors doesn’t mean he can’t turn on the smart. He’s often blazered up, doing business while standing in some weeds or walking on the beach. What business? Who knows. But he’s a style template for the kind of modern start-up that operates from inside a bush of stinging nettles.



9. The camera can’t defeat him

The photographer might be more interested in the scenery than our man, but they’re on a hiding to nothing. Even small in the frame Kafka Man’s innate understanding of how to put clothes on, wear clothes and walk around in clothes dominates. He might just be dot on the landscape (or standing above a very long ladder) but through sheer force of will, via a fearsome synthesis between man and nylon taffeta, Kafka Man always owns the shot. Remember, nobody puts baby in a corner. Especially if that baby has a full beard.

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