Cameron Buchan is a full-time athlete with British Rowing hoping to secure a seat for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. His increasingly popular Instagram and rowing vlog on YouTube also include a regular #suitmonday post which has featured Loake shoes. Here Cameron speaks to us about his passion for rowing, his sartorial influences and his growing social media profile.
Is it true that originally your favoured sport was basketball and that you were part of the GB U20 team? How did you make the transition to rowing?
Yes, I played basketball from the age of seven through to age 18 when I switched to rowing. I played for Scotland and GB all the way through. My transition through to rowing is a long story, but to save on detail I went to America for a year to increase my chances of being recruited for a basketball scholarship and during this year fell in love with rowing and earned a scholarship to row at Northeastern University in Boston.
Your club, Leander, is acknowledged as one of the most successful Olympic sports clubs in the world, boasting an unsurpassed record in rowing achievements. What is it like being a Leander athlete?
Rowing at Leander club is special. It is renowned throughout the rowing world for its long record of achievements. Between them the club’s members have earned over 100 Olympic medals, which is just amazing! We walk in the same footsteps as some of the world’s best rowers, such as Sir Steve Redgrave CBE and Sir Matthew Pinsent CBE. Medals, achievement boards and photographs around the club remind us every day of what it is possible to achieve.
You have been producing social content on behalf of both British Rowing and Leander Club, gaining notoriety and a wide following fairly quickly. What is the motivation for this?
I really enjoy making content, so when I have an opportunity to do this for other people I jump at the chance! My aim is to take this content production skill, hone it over time and see where it takes me!
You clearly work hard to capture, produce, edit and post a substantial amount of video content almost every day. How do you manage to fit this around your busy training schedule?
There is a lot of planning each day. We know our training schedule in advance and of course that comes first, followed by recovery time, but I plan when I can edit after that. I try to edit at the same time each day, but life gets in the way sometimes and things have to change. Initially editing was taking up quite a bit of time, but now I am over 240 vlogs in, I am more familiar with the software I use and have been able to cut down dramatically the time each edit takes.
Your vlog provides an insight into life at Leander Club and the GB Rowing Training Centre at Caversham that is usually off limits to all but top athletes and coaches. How is your social influence received behind the scenes?
I get teased here and there, as is to be expected, but in fact all of my teammates are very supportive. Most of the time I try to keep filming at the training centres fairly low key, so as not to interfere with what anyone else is doing.
Your #suitmonday posts are an unexpected but welcome addition to the rowing content on your social channels, showing a well-developed sartorial awareness. Where do you think your dress sense originates and how would you describe your style?
At first, I used my #suitmonday posts to break up the many training posts, but they have developed into a popular feature of my feed. My dress sense has definitely evolved over the years. At school I was always happy to wear the shirt, tie and blazer combo, then at university I experimented a bit more – if you asked any of my university friends, they would probably remember the bright, all red tracksuit I used to wear to classes! Now I like a suit and a good pair of shoes, but I also have the confidence not to steer away from what might emphasise my 6ft 9 frame.
You mentioned that you have admired Loake shoes ever since your grandfather showed you his pair that had been repaired multiple times but were still in great shape. What is it in particular that you like about our shoes and the Loake brand?
Yes, my grandfather showed me how he used to maintain his Loake shoes and taught me about the repair process. He had a pair of black, double strap Monk shoes which he took pride in keeping polished. My Loake shoes are comfortable, look great and are very well made. What else can you ask for in a shoe? To me, Loake is synonymous with good craftsmanship.
Leander Club and Loake both have a heritage that stretches back to the 1800’s. In a recent #suitmonday post you featured our low cut Chelsea boot style Nene from the new Loake Legacy collection. What does the term legacy mean to you?
Legacy, to me, is what you aim to ‘leave behind’ for the next generation. Institutions like Leander and Loake have legacies that have been built and carefully managed over a long period of time. Both have well-deserved reputations.
How important do you think shoes are to an outfit and can you tell us what would be your perfect suit and shoe combination?
Shoes are a huge part of an outfit. Even in my birthday #suitmonday post I had shoes on! Shoes can make or break an outfit and I am still on the lookout for the perfect combination – aren’t we all? The perfect suit has to fit well to look good. I get so excited when I can find a blazer, trousers or suit that is long enough for my tall frame and doesn’t need tailoring. When a suit fits well, it boosts your confidence! My perfect look would be mostly blue; I imagine a light blue, tweed suit with a pair of Loake Thompson two-tone brogues in navy suede and tan calf leather.
As we move into the New Year and ever closer to the next Olympics, what hopes and aspirations does 2019 hold for you?
I suffered a huge blow at the beginning of this year when I contracted glandular fever and was told I could not train until I was fit and strong again. This year has been all about getting back to where I was – on the GB squad and pulling personal bests. We have the personal bests coming back for 2019 and my aim is to master these and be rowing at the World Rowing Championships by Summer. Outside of rowing, my plan is to show as many people as possible what I and my fellow athletes do on a day to day basis through my vlog and social posts. I’d also like to venture further into filmmaking and see what I can do there. 2019 will be an exciting year, with hopefully rowing success and lots more #suitmonday posts!
Thanks Cameron, we look forward to following your progress!
Images courtesy of @werowofficial and @buchancameron