Tuesday, 12 April 2016 11:36

Label To Know - Clements & Church

clements church tailoring the chic geekLife outside of London?! Yes! Tailors, Clements & Church, are proof that by doing what you do well and slowly growing your retail network in wealthy pockets around the UK, you can build a healthy menswear business with a point of difference.

Left - All images Clements & Church SS16

Starting life a decade ago when Clements & Church’s Managing Director, Mark Nash, bought a tailor’s in the heart of Birmingham, they now have a further four shops in Oxford, Solihull, Leamington Spa, Beaconsfield and, now, online.

They’re not cheap, but then quality tailoring never is. 

yellow mac clements churchThe Clements & Church’s localised tailors have a feel for their customers and, literally, tailor their offering to suit the area they are in. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t experiment. Using quality Italian and British fabrics, they design new styles of tailoring and accessories every season in bold fabrics and colours while still grounded with good taste. Many items are made in Britain and are an update of traditional designs and processes.

Mark Nash, says, “We have always wanted to combine the very best quality, with individuality and something different. If a customer was after something a bit different, when we first started, other than a navy or grey suit, they wouldn’t have been able to find it. We have filled that gap. 

“Clements and Church is unique. We are an extension of our customers’ lifestyle and have fantastic relationships and a very high level of retention. We offer a product that has a sophisticated and distinctive look and we pride ourselves on our knowledge and service,” he adds. 

Highly trained tailors are available to service customers for Bespoke and Custom Made suiting in each of their shops.

TheChicGeek says, "This is some of the best tailoring I've seen lately from a label unknown to me, until recently. It's great to see this kind of quality coming from outside of London. It is expensive, but, you are getting value for money when looking at the fabrics and manufacturing used. You're also pretty safe in the knowledge that nobody else will be wearing it, plus you'll standout for the right reasons. Slow and steady always wins the race!"

www.clementsandchurch.co.uk

clements church tuxedo the chic geekcheck suit clements church

Tuesday, 08 March 2016 14:09

Label To Know English Utopia

english utopia tweed jacketThe English countryside has a timeless quality reflected in the garments designed for it. While practical, many of these, most notably jackets, have become fashion items and are worn all over the world, in both the countryside and urban places, yet still grounded in our green and pleasant land.

Left - The quilted Prufrock Tweed Country Coat - £425 

The British wax jacket is the one the majority of people think of and never shows any sign of waning from popularity. I was recently introduced to the British outdoor brand, English Utopia. Concentrating on wax and tweed country jackets, it has grown over the last couple of years through its attention to detail and British made jackets.

English Utopia currently turns over £650k per annum and has doubled in size every year since its launch in 2013. The label launched in Europe first, via a network of sales agents, and in the US in 2014. The UK launch commenced in 2015 and the label now employs 6 members of staff.

The wax cotton and quilted garments are entirely made in the UK. English Utopia only uses one UK factory, one that Gary - the founder - has had a manufacturing relationship with for over 20 years. All of the woollen garments are made in Lithuania in a family run factory that’s Scottish owned. This particular factory is a specialist at combining natural fibre garment manufacturing with technical /performance expertise.

Founder, Gary Newbold, ‘the Leicester lad’, as he calls himself, is a self-taught designer who left school with ‘nowt’. Long before Wiggins and co captured the cycling zeitgeist, Gary represented team GB becoming a pro cyclist at the age of 18. He competed in sportives including the legendary Milk Race Tour of Britain and lived in France for eight years.

Upon hanging up his wheels at the age of 28, he dabbled in a bit of pattern cutting and in put himself through night school to secure a place at York University. He honed his freelance design talents before landing the top creative job at Barbour in 2000.

Gary has steered the creative vision for renowned heritage brands including Farlows of Pall Mall, and Kneissl (the world’s oldest Ski brand) where in 2009 he was appointment Head of Design. In 2001 he joined John Partridge, where he helped resurrect the label, a perennial favourite of HRH The Prince of Wales.

Gary Newbold English UtopiaHe still cycles 25 miles to work, though these days he’s swapped Lycra for English Utopia waxed cotton.

The English Utopia name is an amalgamation of his two passions. Firstly, his love of what it means to enjoy the English landscape – from the Cotswolds to Cornwall and Glastonbury to Glyndebourne – English Utopia is a brand firmly rooted in the countryside.  Secondly as a designer, the initial vision for a collection is often distorted during the production and marketing process. This ‘utopia’, the original sentiment behind a creation, is something he does his utmost to preserve.

The balloon logo was inspired by seeing them in the summer months air balloons taking off from York races, near his studio. But in addition to this beautiful spectacle, for Gary the balloon symbolises creative freedom. In an age of corporate restraint where there isn’t a place for the unmeasurable, allowing ideas the space ‘see where they go’ is a precious thing.

The company is based in the Yorkshire town of Harrogate and draws inspiration in its designs from the surrounding countryside. 

Right - Gary Newbold

www.englishutopia.com

Friday, 22 January 2016 16:23

Label To Know - UTC00

If you’re bored of Prada you could do very well to look at new brand UTC00. Founded by four worldwide creatives, UTC00 is a truly global accessories brand with an aesthetic that spans continents. Named after Coordinated Universal Time, abbreviated as UTC, a slightly more scientific version of Greenwich Mean Time, UTC00 is Greenwich and they use these different times, plus or minus, to regulate all meeting up and developing the brand.

From Milan, Seoul and London, they know their travel and have developed luxury accessories to suit. The colours are bold yet masculine and the quality details are streamlined for practicality. The majority of the materials, trims, hardware, and other components are custom developed and produced for UTC00. It brings to mind early Prada and the famous nylon rucksack and with prices of around £120 for a bum bag and £210 for a rucksack, it is premium but without the designer mark-up.

www.UTC00.com

Friday, 27 November 2015 16:12

Label To Know - Ludwig Reiter

ludwig weiter founder the chic geekAn oldie, but a goodie, Ludwig Reiter is an Austrian shoe brand founded in 1885. The first Ludwig Reiter, a master shoemaker from Bohemia, established a workshop in Vienna. In the 1920s, Ludwig Reiter II transformed the firm into a small shoe factory.

Left  - Founder, the first Ludwig Reiter

In the 1960s, Ludwig Reiter III, expanded the company, making it one of Austria’s most renowned shoe producers. In 2011, the company moved into the renovated Süssenbrunn Manor in Vienna. There some 60 employees produce around 30,000 pairs of shoes annually. 

Maronibrater boots ludwig reiterRight - Maronibratesr Boots - €698

Today, Ludwig Reiter—the only factory for welted shoes in the German-speaking region—is managed by the 4th and 5th generations of the original family. 

Keeping to the company’s traditions, a classical Ludwig Reiter shoe is welted using the Goodyear method. This artisan method remains the best way to give the shoe both mobility and stability. In this method the upper leather and the leather insole are first sewn together with a continuous leather band—the welt (single stitching). Only then is the welt connected to the sole (double stitching). 

ludwig reiter advert apere ski

Thus the upper part of the shoe and the outer sole are connected not directly but indirectly, and hence flexibly, with each other. This means the shoe can follow the foot’s complex movement when walking.

Left - An old Ludwig Reiter après ski advert

Brad Pitt is wearing a pair of Ludwig Reiter boots in the film, Inglorious Basterds.

Monday, 16 November 2015 17:49

Label To Know - RON DORFF

Ron Dorff the chic geek menswear label to knowIf Helmut Lang and American Apparel had a lovechild, you’d probably end up with RON DORFF. Born out of the partnership of Jérôme Touron, a Frenchman, and Claus Lindorff, a Swede, RON DORFF is a simple combination of their two last names. Aligning Swedish functionality with classic French elegance, RON DORFF is a new idea of sportswear.

Left - SS16 - VELO LOVE developed together with Lorenzo Martone of MARTONE CYCLING COMPANY OF NY

Basically, it’s basics with a few slogans in a simple typeface and we can never get enough of these post hipster labels.

Offering sweatshirts, hoodies, swimwear, joggers, underwear, accessories and skincare, RON DORFF slogan is DISCIPLINE IS NOT A DIRTY WORD.

RON DORFF constantly collaborates with other designers and together offer exclusive limited editions such as the ‘Innocent Summer Pleasures’ series developed in collaboration with the Swedish graphic artist Johan Oxe and the ûber-light but practical city bike VELO LOVE developed together with Lorenzo Martone of MARTONE CYCLING COMPANY OF NY. 

mens underwear ron dora the chic geekron dorff skincare made in swedenLeft - RON DORFF's skincare line is made in Sweden

RON DORFF line of bodycare products is 100% made in Sweden and developed in partnership with Sweden’s most respected skincare brand, FACE Stockholm. The collection includes a shower gel, body scrub, tonifying shampoo and Swedish Massage Oil. The list of ingredients is brief, free of parabens and mineral oils, enriched by active botanicals harvested north of the Arctic Circle. The series also includes an exclusive, scented Swedish Massage candle made in Grasse, France. 

Right - The majority of RON DORFF items are unbranded, but come into the slightly pricier bracket for men's basics

They have a  Paris flagship store  and plan a second in London at the end of this year.

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