By Ian Clifford
10 minute read

6th of May 2020

We don’t want to be a fashion brand.


That’s not why we got into this.

We started this adventure to make clothes of quality and style for men who are looking for seasonless wardrobe staples that will last. For men like us.

Our original motivation was just to ensure that we made a great product. Our second decision was to make sure that we stuck by our first.

Clothes that are stylish because they’re timeless, yet modern and contemporary, and not compromised by trying to follow a new trend.

Sure, we want our clothes to look great, but not because we’ve over thought them. Just straight up premium design, quality and fit. Why does it need to be more complicated than that?

As we’ve discovered, just getting that right is no mean feat.

To make a T-shirt look just right, hang right and feel great – that takes a lot of time, effort and iteration.

The same is true, of course, for each new garment we produce.

Lots of attention to detail and critical appraisal to make something that looks simple, basic even, but that also fits perfectly and feels fantastic.


So why the effort?


Well we simply couldn’t find the well designed, well made and ethically sound clothes that we wanted to buy.

We knew from our friends, ranging from mid 20’s to mid 60’s, that many felt the same.

They wanted to buy Sunspel, Orlebar Brown, Paul Smith and a range of boutique premium luxury brands, but just couldn’t or wouldn’t stomach the cost. Certainly not when it came to buying enough staples to fill up their wardrobe.

But, we thought, what if they could buy the same quality and design but at a price they could afford? And if that could be done, could those clothes come with no baggage? No worker exploitation, no dodgy manufacturing shortcuts, as little ecological damage to the planet as possible and with real concern for all the people who helped produce them?

Turns out that it can.

So that’s why we did it.

And that ‘it’ will be a range of wardrobe staples that fit those criteria.

The same quality as luxury and premium brands, the same cut, fit, feel and style, but at a transparent price. No middle-man and retailer markup. We’ll make the profit that we need to in order to be able to stay in business. That’s all.

The saving passed on to you.

We’ve started with the classic – the T-shirt.

Ours is the one Steve McQueen and Paul Newman would pick.

As it happens, it was a damn sight harder to get it right than we’d imagined.

But, then, we’ve learnt a lot in the year and a bit since we decided to do this.

We had another motivation too.

Another recurring annoyance that we’ve both felt at regular intervals, and we discovered that our friends agreed.

When you’ve bought something that you love and worn it to death, you want to be able to go back to the store (or even better, look at your past online order history – thank you Amazon) and simply buy that garment again.


Not just us?


Didn’t think so.

A few high street retailers get this right.

Until we made our T-shirt, I was a habitual buyer of Uniqlo’s t-shirt in white and black.

They kept the cut the same and it was great value. As with many of their clothes I was a fan and I know many people who agree.

But…they changed the colour. The white is no longer white. It’s cream.

I don’t want to wear a cream T-shirt.

I wear a white tee under a sweater, a sweatshirt or hoodie as my regular uniform. I’ve bought twenty or more of your white T-shirt, Uniqlo, for years.

Why did you change it?

And you, All Saints.

I’ve loved your Merino zip hoodie. Lived in it for years. The only hoodie I would buy.

But when I’ve worn it past the point of any more repair and the elbows are gone and I really need to replace it, why do I find that it’s not available in the same colour? And where did the two-way zip go? I’ve bought it in black, navy and grey and now two of those three colours are no longer made...?? And you’ve changed the cut and fiddled with the details?

You know what?

We’ll make our own.

And, we’ll keep making it the same way, in the same material and the same colours.

So, when it wears out (and we’ll do our damnedest to make it last as long as possible - as we do with all our clothes - one cornerstone of what we’re building here) you’ll be able to come back and buy the same thing. Same colour, same cut, same fit, same quality.

I’m not saying we won’t evolve – a tweak here, a fix there.

But we are, on principle, not going to be slaves to fashion. No updates for the sake of it. No keeping up with trends.

If a garment gets into our range, it will stay.


We’re not doing seasonality either.


We don’t need to.

I have a seasonal wardrobe. I’m sure you do too.

Shorts when I get to go somewhere hot or if a summer turns up in the UK. A cotton sweater for a chilly evening on those summer days.

But I’ve got a Merino sweater and a range of sweatshirts for the colder months or for when I find myself in a colder climate.

I know when to pull them out of a drawer. I don’t need an ad campaign or a shop window to tell me what to buy when. And, why does everyone try to sell me summer stuff in February when it’s still freezing. Get a grip!

If I want to buy a Cashmere sweater in July, why can’t I?

I might not wear it then, but maybe it’s my birthday and I want to spoil myself, or maybe I’ve got a ski trip booked to Patagonia. Just let me decide what I want to buy and when.

Oh, and when I do, please let it be the same cut and colour and quality as the one I bought several years before.

Again…, I loved it the first time. So, don’t change it.

People have asked us, though, won’t this mean your range becomes boring?

We don’t think so and, let’s face it, our business plan is based on us being right.

We’re not prescribing a uniform for you to wear every day. Rather, we’re giving you the nuts and bolts to make up the whole.

Our core range will fit together for a coherent look and style but, given their timeless design and quality, our clothes will fit with the rest of your wardrobe.

We’ll end up with thirty to forty core items in a limited range of around four or five colours per item.

In business speak, that’ll give us maybe two hundred SKUs.

What happens when we’ve reached that point? When the product release roadmap has been fulfilled?

Well, time will tell. The world moves forward and, as we’ve all learnt lately, massive change can and does occur.

Can we see a point when people won’t buy our core range – the wardrobe staples?

Not really.

We’re nailing ourselves to this belief.

That men want to buy a limited range of great clothes made up to a quality and not down to a price.

We’ve bet on the fact that they will repurchase those items in a range of colours and will love the clothes that we make.

That we’ve made it simple and pain free for them to look good, feel good and know that their clothing is ethically sound.

Will we expand outside the wardrobe staple line?

Yes.

How?

We’ll likely add occasional short lived colour variations of the core garments. Yes, we know that goes against the ‘you’ll always be able to buy this’, but doesn’t that contradiction just make us human? (The core range in the core colours is what you want to have available always. Now and then a pop of colour is just the change you need.)

We also have a plan to make limited runs of less regular pieces. We’re looking to do this as collaborations.

It’s early days for these, but imagine an Elgin/Barbour collaboration. Our take on that classic piece that we make with the skill and insight that only masters of that style can bring. (Barbour, feel free to get in touch.)

These ‘Elgin Workshop’ pieces might be short runs or they might become a template for a future wardrobe staple.

We’ve also got an idea about recycling some classic pieces as another line. Better to get a quality garment back into use than into landfill, right? It’s a germ of an idea at the moment but you’ll see it when we manage to make it happen.


So that’s the plan.


We’ve got the T-shirt, the Oxford shirt and the Cashmere sweater done and dusted.

Coming soon we’ve got the Merino sweater, the trouser, and the sweatshirt. And that Merino hoodie.

Underwear – a trunk and socks (what else do you need!?) - is coming along nicely.

And we’ve gone off-piste already and we’ve got the perfect wallet in development. A wallet that won’t make your pocket look like it’s full of marbles but that will carry your cards and keys. And, of course, it looks and feels great.

After that, you’ll see the other core pieces coming through.

And we’ll be looking for your feedback whenever you’ve got any.

We’d also like you to know that we’re not doing this to build a massive company that just grows for the sake of it.

We’re doing it to scratch our own itch and make the clothes we want to wear. And, as we’ve said, we think there’s a lot of men who want the same stuff we do.

Of course, we also want to have a business that can survive and thrive. It can make us a living but, just as critically, it can support the skilled workers and craftsmen at the farms and factories we’re working with.

If we can help reduce the waste in the clothing industry and slow people down so that they buy what they need, treasure it and wear it for longer, then that’s great too.

We’ll grow to meet the demand that exists for what we do and won’t push ourselves or you to do or consume more.

We’re here for the long haul to produce quality stylish clothes for men who are looking for a timeless brand that provides them with seasonless wardrobe staples that will last.

If this sounds like a good plan to you and if you think our clothes will work for you, then stick around.

It’s already been a lot of fun getting this far and we can’t wait to see what you think.