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Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Adventurer

Linda Farrow unveils the Linda Farrow Man series featuring twelve talented and successful men from a variety of industries, shot at East London’s Town Hall Hotel. The project introduces the Linda Farrow Optical and Sunglasses collections in all their variations. Presented as a set of portraits with accompanying interviews, the series emphasises the deeply human – and inexorably masculine – nature of Linda Farrow Man's eclectic collection, by getting behind the scenes with inspirational men and telling their stories...

Second in our #LFMan series is Justin Packshaw. The ex British army officer was awarded an MBE this year, raises money and awareness for important causes through his many expeditions including climbing Mt. Everest. When at home he is managing director of fashion label De Roemer

How did your career start?

If I am honest I had a pretty lovely upbringing. I had fantastic parents who really pushed me to go and do things that I was happy doing, and they gave me the tools to allow me to do that.

Did anyone in your family have a similar career to you?

My dad was an amazing man, he was in the special forces and he was also a very good swimmer and athlete - nearly doing both for Britain. My parents were successful in that, whatever they applied themselves to they did it with gusto.

What do you like to do when you are not working?

I am quite lucky because what I do I genuinely love. For my business, De Roemer, we make beautiful stuff, and I do it with my wife. We travel all over the world and a lot of the time with our children. Sometime we look at each other and say “this is mad.”

Who did you admire when you were growing up?

My dad is definitely one of my heroes he was a sensational man. But also, my love of old-school explorers is a big thing for me, and some of the trips I have done have replicated some of those amazing giants. People like Ernest Shackleton who climbed Everest and Francis Chichester who sailed around the world. People that have stepped into the unknown and been brave.

What do you think you’d be doing now if you hadn’t have gone into your fields of work?

If I could I would like to be a really good musician, that is something that, as I get older, I would like to pursue. And I am fascinated by the sea and have always thought about being a marine biologist. But my life is so varied - it is ying and yang and everything in-between I can dabble with.

What is your career high, to date?

Career high! Well, because my wife and me have our business together I can say it would definitely be the birth of my children.

Do you have any early memories that are tangible to what you do now?

I have so many memories, and one of the bizarre things about my expositions is that I spend so much time without outside distractions - no phones, no TVs and, most of the time, it is so cold you can’t talk to anyone. So this has given me time to really dissect my early memories and a lot of them are to do with my family, with all of us together. There were four children and we used to do a lot of stuff together, and it was very competitive, but very protected. And as I get older I think about that unique cocktail where you aspiring to do your best and your siblings will encourage you and then sit on you [when you succeed], so you progress in a very protected way.

What is next for you?

I am trying to bring out a really useful book and it’s not about preaching, it is more about lessons learnt from having been submerged in such different arenas. So I am working on that now, which I am really enjoying. As a retrospective thing to do it is really cathartic. Also, I write with the hope that if someone read it, it would be useful.

Justin is wearing LFL581 optical frames