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Smash Hits – British Fashion Classics

Some things just never go out of style, that classic trench, or well-tailored white shirt for example, or that stylish cashmere knit that’s served you for decades and still kept its shape.

And we Brits have something we can be proud of style speaking, as British fashion designers can definitely claim the credit for some major style sensations that have endured throughout the years. From Pringle sweaters to the Punk look, our designers have created some of the most memorable fashion classics the style world has seen.

Among the vast pantheon of style classics out there that British designers have contributed to, there are some some design ideas are so legendary they undoubtedly deserve a special mention. Let’s take a look at what these extra special style sensations have been…

Pringle Cashmere Sweater

Scotland has given birth to some pretty impressive inventions, there’s the telephone, the television, and not forgetting of course, a wee dram or four of whiskey. Fashion wise too, Scotland has always had plenty to say, with its bold tartans and clansmen’s colours, oh and of course Pringle.

Pringle’s Scottish heritage can be traced back as far as 1815 when the iconic brand was first founded, and it swiftly became one of the first ever luxury knitwear brands, with its distinctive designs being sought after by eager buyers globally.

The brand’s signature cashmere knit was first produced in the 1870’s, around the time the company created the unique “intarsia” Argyll design, with which Pringle is synonymous today around the world.

From Hollywood celebs, to pro golfers, a cashmere Pringle sweater is a hallmark of style and quiet luxury, and will go with absolutely anything, whether it’s accessorized with a pair of jodhpurs, or thrown casually around your shoulders as you waltz down the red carpet in that premiere worthy dress.

Burberry Trenchcoat

One of Britain’s oldest labels, Burberry started out by supplying soldier’s uniforms, and manufactured the ground-breaking fabric called Gabardine, a fabric so durable it was utilized in military clothing throughout the nation.

The label’s most iconic creation though, is unarguably the iconic Burberry Trench, which first debuted in the 19th century when Thomas Burberry added metal straps and rings to his officer’s trench, and an instant design classic was born.

The Burberry Trench has been acclaimed globally, and its worldwide popularity shows no signs of abating, with the classic style being sported proudly by celebs from model Cara Delevigne to HRH Kate Middleton.

Turnbull & Asser Shirt

Established in 1885 Turnbull & Asser are well known for their hallmark tailoring and attention to detail, and have dressed celebrities and royals alike, from Prince Charles to screen hero James Bond.

The flagship shop, located on London’s prestigious Jermyn Street, holds a Royal Warrant, but the company’s most celebrated design has undoubtedly been its classic tailored shirt design, which has been the preferred choice of stylish politicos and celebs who like to dress smartly for decades.

From Charlie Chaplin to artist Pablo Picasso, and more recently actress Gwyneth Paltrow, Turnbull & Asser’s iconic shirt has seemingly never been out of the style spotlight, and the label has also made its mark overseas, with its designs sold in illustrious stores such as Barneys, and the launch of the New York flagship store in 1997.

Mini Skirt

The miniskirt’s short and cheeky style literally revolutionised the fashion world when it first debuted in 1966. British designer Mary Quant began dressing her models in the thigh skimming design, which sent shockwaves throughout the fashion world and became an instant British style smash practically overnight.

The mini achieved global coverage, appearing on the front of acclaimed style mags from Vogue to Nova, and was sported by uber models Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy, becoming an essential part of their waifish, gamine look.

Today the mini skirt is a go to classic look that’s never been out of style since its introduction in the 60’s, and the short length is worn by everyone brave enough to get their pins out all over the globe, from WAGS on a night out to Hollywood actresses on the red carpet.

Punk

Punk style was made popular in Britain by Vivenne Westwood and Malcom McLaren, who opened the shop SEX, in Chelsea, selling the pair’s avant garde designs as well as vinyl showcasing bands like the Sex Pistols, which McLaren helped put together.

The clothes McLaren and Westwood sold were in direct contrast to the glossy glam rock look popular in the seventies, the new style featured slogan t-shirts designed to shock, bondage elements, such as straps and leather, tough bovver boots, tattoos, and gritty styling.

Punk soon exploded on the scene as a major trend, making a unique global phenomenon and McLaren and Westwood famous, with everyone from teacher’s daughters to rock stars soon adopting the look.

Even today, elements of the punk look are heavily borrowed by mainstream artists like Pink and Jessie J, and the style is still a major street trend, with variations of punk becoming popular every now and then, such as the heavily pierced and tattooed alt rock look, with its haphazard styling elements and colour clashes.

So do you agree with these British style sensations, maybe we’ve missed something out?

Creating Made in Britain clothing for Men? Make it affordable, oh and casual!

In the last few years I’ve taken more of an interest in Made in Britain mens clothing, but I often struggle to find anything that is either in my price range (e.g middle to lower) or that isn’t a f***ing suit!

I’m all for as many people/companies making mens clothing here in Britain, but why oh why, do so many of them have to be so bloody expensive, and what is it with all these bloody suits and trousers for men?

As far as I am aware we’re not stuck in the Victorian times, this is 2014 and the right pair of jeans and a properly fitting top can make any guy look good. I just don’t get this whole suit look, it’s just plain boring to me.

I know manufacturing here in Britain costs more, and I believe one of the reasons is partly because there are fewer factories capable of making the clothing, but even still, there are companies who are making clothing here in Britain, and doing it at an affordable level.

We even offer a few over on our website, and we’ll be adding more as and when we come across affordable ranges.

Hawick Knitwear Jumper at Riley & Silver

As an example Hawick Knitwear and Wizard Jeans are a couple of brands offering what I call affordable casual menswear.

Hawick offer great jumpers for around £60-£80 and Wizard Jeans offer great jeans for around £90.

Both price ranges are what I would call affordable. And both companies clothing is what I would call casual, although the Hawick jumpers wouldn’t look out-of-place with a nice shirt underneath somewhere more formal, but I digress…

What I’m getting at is that there seems to be a lot of new made in britain clothing lines that are popping up that offer just smart shirts and suits, and I don’t understand why.

Casual clothing is a massive market, and yes I know, just as suits are. But surely there are enough suit manufacturers in britain. I know it’s something we’re really good at, but we don’t need any more right now surely.

To me the whole point of wanting to manufacture in britain is to ensure skills and jobs are kept in this country, therefore benefiting the whole country because it will have a knock on effect not just felt directly by the people making the clothing.

So let’s make something here that isn’t already being made here, that being casual clothing.

Wizard Jeans at Riley & Silver

For me an example of great looking casual clothing is the stuff that Jacamo offer. They’ve got such a wide range of mens clothing, and pretty much all of it looks great too.

It’d be nice if some of it was made in britain or from alternative materials, but hey I’m sure it will be one day, right Jacamo?

One thing I haven’t been able to find made in britain as yet is a decent affordable top, shirt or t-shirt.

Something to wear underneath a jumper when it’s cold, or something to wear on its own when it gets warmer (it does happen occasionally here in Britain you know).

I haven’t yet been able to find a made in britain casual t-shirt or shirt at a decent price, which for me would be around £10-£20 for a t-shirt and £25-£50 for a shirt.

And yes it’s doable, it’s just a case of taking less profit when you make a sale. And don’t worry about the less profit bit, because you’ll sell more, if you make a great product.

That’s what I don’t get about high-priced clothing. It can cost exactly the same to make as a lower priced piece.

If a top costs say £20 to manufacture in britain (all costs included, shipping etc.), why does a company then sell it at £60+?

Why not sell it at £40? You’d still be covering all your costs, plus you’d be making anywhere between £10-£20 clear profit. And best of all you’d probably sell a lot more because more people would be able to afford it.

And that’s one of the worst things I have experienced so far having gained more of an interest in made in britain clothing. People do actually want to buy more of it, but I constantly hear ‘but it’s so expensive’.

I know we’ve all got used to buying cheaper imported clothing, but still, the British made clothing is on the whole very expensive.

Again, I know it can be due to the lack of manufacturing facilities here in britain, but it’s also to do with companies being too f***ing greedy in their profit margins.

It wouldn’t be so bad if these companies were open enough to show that the extra profit was being used to provide training for their workers, or even more factories being built etc, but a lot of companies prefer to give this extra profit to their shareholders, which are often foreign and they then invest it in their own country.

Yay, great. Yet more money taken out of Britain.

Meh, I’m going off on one here, perhaps I shouldn’t have started writing after drinking my third rum n coke this evening.

But my point has been made, I think.

So please, pretty pretty please, if you’re thinking of creating a Made in Britain mens clothing line, make it casual, and for f*** sake make it affordable too!

Cheers

Mike

Stop taking so much profit and create jobs instead!

I came across this article a few weeks back, but forgot to share it. Then I came across it again this weekend, so thought I’d share it with you now.

It’s about a businessman called John Elliott, and how he believes British businesses could reverse the decades of decline in manufacturing.

And from my point of view I agree with everything John says, and my favourite part of the article is this…

John Elliott is taking the very noble step of making lower profits in order to create jobs here rather than in cheaper locations, something most businesses probably wouldn’t be so patriotic about.

He’s not even interested in working out how much he could save by going abroad. I’m not going to do that. I don’t need to do it and it’s not right. Sometimes you’ve got to do things for the greater good. I don’t want to sound too high and mighty here, but sometimes … you’ve got to do what’s right rather than go for the last penny.

I couldn’t have said it better, the guy is a legend.

Click here to read the full article, trust me you’ll love it, if only more business men and woman thought like him!

Cheerio

Mike