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ISSUE 239 | MAY 2017 | £6.95 | MWB-ONLINE.CO.UK



F E A T U R E S 8

Online Insider

Advice, news and issues online


Retail Insider

The latest in-store news


Product News

Rounding up the key stories this month


In-season stock

All in the attitude


The edit

Accessories and add-ons to consider in-store


Wrangler dons a new lease of life for its 70th

MWB discovers the renewed energy at denim giant Wrangler


Merc hits a bullseye

Tom Bottomley discovers the secret to success behind the Mod brand


Pantherella International Group celebrates double anniversary

Delving into the rich heritage of the global hosiery company


Fashion SVP

What to expect from the latest edition of the sourcing trade show


Pitti Uomo

Your comprehensive guide to the exhibition’s 92nd edition


Palladium marches of in style

The French footwear brand turns 70


London Fashion Week Men’s

The brands to catch at this June


Talking business

Industry advice on key retail issues


Under the influence

Profiling some of the key menswear bloggers in the UK

R E G U L A R S 5 Comment 6 News 12 Interview

Ravi Grewal

40 43 46

Collective The Bottomley Line Last Orders With…

Kieron Watts and Stephen Kelly

Front cover:

Wood Wood +44 (0) 744753 1949


R E G I S T E R N O W AT J A C K E T - R E Q U I R E D . C O M


COMMENT E D I T O R Victoria Jackson — D E P U T Y


Tom Bottomley — C O N T R I B U T O R S Isabella Griffiths Laura Turner Christina Williams — W R I T E R Rebecca Jackson — D E S I G N E R S Michael Podger James Lindley Clive Holloway Richard Boyle — S E N I O R



Sharon Le Goff — S U B S C R I P T I O N S Phil Cowley — H E A D



Silvia Collins — E D I T O R I A L


Gill Brabham — P O R T F O L I O


Nick Cook — M A R K E T I N G


Stephanie Parker —

MWB is published 9 times per year by ITE Moda Ltd, The Old Town Hall, Lewisham Road, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield HD7 5AL. Call 01484 846069 Fax 01484 846232 Copyright © 2017 MWB Magazine Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any written material or illustration in any form for any purpose, other than short extracts for review purposes, is strictly forbidden. Neither ITE Moda Ltd nor its agents accept liability for loss or damage to transparencies and any other material submitted for publication. Reprographics/printing Image Colourprint 01482 652323 —

A Buyer Series Fashion Business Publication MWB is a fashion business publication produced by ITE Moda Ltd. Other titles in the Buyer Series include WWB and CWB. ITE Moda Ltd is an ITE Group Plc company.

With 2017 holding significance for so many brands, we decided to dedicate our May issue to celebrating alongside those reaching a milestone anniversary this year. — Take denim giant Wrangler for example, who is celebrating an impressive 70 years in fashion this year. In our interview with Theo Van den Hoff, Wrangler EMEA’s president of product and merchandising, we discover how the brand is delving into its impressive archive and reinterpreting some of its past gems for the modern customer. There’s no denying Wrangler have played it safe the last couple of years, continuing to do what they do and doing it well with a reliable and enduring product. But with a renewed focus on the brand’s younger target market and energy back in the design team, the latest offering – the Wrangler by Peter Max collection – is one of its best yet. Turn to p22 to discover more. Reaching the grand age of 70 alongside Wrangler this year is French footwear label Palladium (p33) which continues to focus on its growth within the UK’s independent retail market. Moving away from its archive pieces, the brand turns the spotlight on innovation and technology, which sets the brand apart from its competitors. Such innovation includes a collaboration with Christopher Raeburn, launching the first remade and recycled designs for s/s 18. Mod brand Merc, meanwhile, reaches its 50th anniversary this year, On p25 Tom Bottomley discovers the secret to success for the British label that started life on Carnaby Street. Looking into its archives for its latest collection, the brand has released a 50th anniversary limited edition version of the Harrington – Merc’s bestseller since the beginning. Finally, we take a look at premium company Pantherella International Group (p26), which celebrates not only the 80th anniversary of sock label Pantherella, but the 135th anniversary of its sister brand HJ Hall. It’s great to read not only the rich history behind the brand but the plans moving forward to further cement the company’s position as one of the leading hosiery labels on a global scale. As always, do get in touch with any comments or thoughts on this issue via email, or you can tweet the team at @mwbmagazine. And if you’re celebrating a milestone in retail, despite all the odds, let us know. Have a great month. Victoria Jackson Editor




IDENTIFYING CUSTOMER BEHAVIOUR AT THE FOREFRONT OF IN-STORE RETAIL DEVELOPMENT New research has revealed how in-store retail may evolve over the next four years, and identifying customer behaviour is tipped to be at the forefront of new developments. The Retail Vision Survey 2017 has identified the key ways in which bricks-and-mortar retailers are planning to enliven their customers’ experience, engaging them in real time in a fight back against the rise of anonymous online shopping. Having questioned 550 retailers, global technology specialist Zebra found that a quarter of stores are planning to implement point-of-sale devices by 2021. Put simply, the new method of taking payment would allow members of staff to take payment anywhere in the store, speeding up the process of making a purchase, and increasing spontaneous purchasing decisions without a 'checking out' process. An even greater number of retailers are planning to identify when specific customers arrive in store, with a view to potentially customising their shopping experience in years to come. Over three quarters of the 550 firms surveyed revealed plans to implement alerts when customers already known to them visit their premises, potentially increasing the potential for add-on sales with personalised offers and purchasing advice. For those at the forefront of retail, the developments herald a potentially exciting new era whereby bricks-and-mortar business models can regain an advantage with enhanced in-store experiences. “Every inch of the retail industry is changing,” says Mark Thomson, retail and hospitality director at Zebra. “The 2017 Retail Vision Study demonstrates that retailers are poised to meet and exceed customer expectations with new levels of personalisation, speed and convenience.” —

Iconic shoe brand Dr. Martens has opened its 30th UK store in Camden, London. Situated in the Camden Market area, it offers two floors covering approximately 4,000 sq ft and employs a crew of 25. In addition to carrying the full Dr. Martens range across men’s, women’s and kids’, consumers will get the opportunity to view limited edition, exclusive designs that can only be bought in the new Camden store. Meanwhile, interactive elements include a free GIF booth for consumers to engage with, as well as a designated area for artists and fans to personalise their favourite Dr. Martens, old and new. Elsewhere, a Virtual Reality experience powered by Oculus provides a virtual tour of the brand’s original UK factory, enabling customers to see how a pair of Dr. Martens are made from start to finish. —

H&M TO LAUNCH NEW BRAND Swedish H&M group has announced the launch of a new brand, Arket, this year. The new brand will offer essential products for men, women, children and the home. The first store will open in early autumn on Regent Street in London and online on in 18 European countries, followed by stores in Brussels, Copenhagen and Munich. Arket, which means ‘sheet of paper’ in Swedish, is currently in production in collaboration with designers, buyers, pattern makers, architects, writers, chefs and more and is billed as a ‘modernday market’. The range includes men’s, women’s and children’s ready-to-wear and accessories collections as well as a homeware department – all composed of Arket’s own products alongside an edited selection from other brands. —





Premium label Cole Haan brings American vision and innovation to the UK this season, unveiling its tech-led reinterpretation of contemporary and classic men’s footwear silhouettes with an installation in Liberty London, before expanding its offer to the independent retail market. Collections featured in the installation, which is adjacent to Liberty’s Men’s Designer Room, include GrandPro Tennis, Original Grand, ZeroGrand and 2.ZeroGrand, with retail prices ranging from £100 to £225. The installation signals the start of a wave of UK activity, which will include rolling out to wholesale accounts in the near future. Founded in 1928, Cole Haan was created by Trafton Cole and Eddie Haan. Key features of each design include burnished finishes, baroque accents, foam foot beds and moisture-wicking materials. —

Following last year’s successful launch, PRS for Music is once again offering fashion independents the chance to win a ‘Music Makeover’ worth £5,000. Devised to showcase and raise awareness of the impact music has on businesses, customers and staff, last year’s competition attracted more than 130 entries, with Accent Clothing in Leeds winning the coveted prize (pictured). For 2017, PRS for Music is once again offering the £5,000 makeover alongside runners-up prizes of £2,500. To enter, retailers need to have a valid PRS for Music licence and complete the quick entry form online on The deadline for entries is Friday 16 June at 5pm. PRS for Music represents over 125,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and ensures creators are paid whenever their music is played, performed or reproduced. —



An influx of key menswear brands have shown their commitment by re-signing to the s/s 18 edition of Moda Gent. The exhibition – which will return on 6-8 August this year – has revealed a comprehensive early line-up, comprising both new additions and those returning on the back of a successful show this season. Confirmed signings including new brands such as Avenue 22, Pasquale Cutarelli and Bowler & Beach (pictured), alongside established labels including Ben Sherman, Gibson, Douglas & Graham, Casamoda, Olymp, Pringle of Scotland, Fynch Hatton, Jockey and many more. “Moda Gent continues to be the trade’s most complete destination for menswear staples," says event director Silvia Collins, “The addition of fresh talent adds an extra dimension for buyers, who will have the opportunity to discover something new to complement their core buying.” —

Multi-channel software and service provider Volo Commerce is expanding its fashion client base, with an increasing number of fashion retailers using the company to grow their businesses across multiple online marketplaces and channels. Providing an easy-to-use e-commerce system, Volo’s services include business review, account management, reporting and analytics. The Volo platform automates multichannel business from purchasing through to fulfilment and post-sales customer service. The company’s dedicated team of account managers ensures a smooth transition, while analytics tools provide information on revenues, profits and cash flow. Volo is already servicing a large number of fashion e-tailers and is planning to extend this focus further across womenswear, menswear and childrenswear stores. —

INDX MENSWEAR UNVEILS EXTENDED DATELINE Menswear trade show INDX Menswear returns to Solihull this season, with an extended dateline and exhibition space. Taking place from 23-25 July, the organisers have expanded the show over two ground floor showrooms. The exhibition brings together some of the industry's key commercial brands at the purpose-built exhibition facility Cranmore Park, including Skopes, Atelier Torino, Tresanti, Double Two, Gurteen, Weird Fish, Oakman and Classic Gabicci. Admission to the show is free but reserved for independent retailers only. For further information visit — HUNTSMAN LAUNCHES EXCLUSIVE FABRIC Savile Row tailor Huntsman has created a brand new bespoke cloth in partnership with London-based yarn specialist Tengri. The limited edition cloth is woven from Tengri’s rare Khangai Noble Yarns. An ancient animal dating back 10,000 years, Khangai yak have hair with unique textures and colourings found only in species native to its region of Mongolia. The fibres are spun and woven in heritage mills of Yorkshire, before arriving at Huntsman’s Savile Row premises in London. “At Huntsman, we have offered the ultimate in luxury tailoring for 167 years,” says Pierre Lagrange, owner of Huntsman. “We are dedicated to sourcing limited-edition cloths, the very best available in the world at any time. To be working with Tengri and to discover this very unique fabric is truly special." — BEST OF BRITANNIA UNVEILS FASHION-ENTER PARTNERSHIP Best of Britannia (BOB), the unique showcase for new and heritage British brands, has joined forces with Fashion Enter, England’s leading provider of the Fashion and Textile apprenticeship programme. Current apprentices will be showcasing their skills and the work of Fashion Enter at BOB London on 12-13 October at The Old Truman Brewery in East London. The partnership demonstrates BOB’s commitment to driving the very best in British design and manufacturing and representing brands which care about quality, provenance, sustainability and took pride in making things in the UK. “We are delighted to be returning to BOB for a second year running,” says Jenny Holloway, CEO, Fashion Enter. “As the onshoring of UK garment production continues to thrive it is imperative we successfully plan for the future and upskill the next generation.” For further details visit — WHOLESALE PLATFORM EXPANDS BRAND LIST BrandLab, an online platform for wholesale fashion which was launched at the end of last year, has signed over 200 brands to its site, varying from emerging designers to large international labels. The platform, which is free to join, gives fashion brands access to a network of global buyers, as well as providing them with professional pictures and videos of their collections and creating personalised marketing content on social media. BrandLab is actively expanding and forecasts signing a further 500 brands within the next nine months. —


ONLINE INSIDER Advice, news and issues online.



While fashion brands and retailers are continually developing loyalty programmes to recognise, reward and keep customers, a third of UK shoppers are still disappointed in the levels of personalisation in current schemes. Original research in our latest ‘Omni-progress Report’ shows that, with a typical shopper being part of up to five loyalty schemes on average, fashion retailers must make the most of the mobile opportunity and recognise where digital loyalty can be improved to effectively retain and reward loyal shoppers in an increasingly competitive, omnichannel environment. A great way to deliver against the digital demands of connected consumers is to incorporate mobile personalisation, with as many as 40 per cent of UK shoppers claiming that they would like personalised offers sent directly to their mobile device as they enter a physical store. Additionally, a quarter of consumers said they would benefit from regular incentives and offers being sent direct to their smartphone via an app, which will in turn enable them to claim rewards both online or in-store. As well as personalisation, another key area for refinement is the fragmentation between online and in-store loyalty scheme rewards. Increasingly, shoppers want their loyalty to be rewarded equally across a retailer’s sales channels, as well as being able to redeem the same offers and incentives wherever they shop – be it online or in the store. Yet, almost half of UK consumers (49 per cent) claimed to have missed out on offers by not claiming the reward before it expired. What’s more, 16 per cent of UK consumers said that they often forget to use the loyalty cards in their wallets, meaning further rewards are unused in-store. These results highlight how today’s customers no longer differentiate between channels – they simply choose the channel that is most convenient to them at the time. A mobile-first strategy will enable retailers to connect with consumers on a personal level over a device that’s always to hand, engaging in a conversation where the retailer can understand the loyal customer and actively personalise incentives to suit their needs and interests. —


WWW.MRPORTER.COM Mr Porter has announced a second ‘costume to collection’ collaboration with menswear label Kingsman in conjunction with forthcoming 20th Century Fox film, Kingsman: The Golden Circle. This is the second partnership between the e-tailer, Matthew Vaughn and award-wining costume designer Arianne Phillips, following the successful creation and launch of Kingsman for the original 2015 film Kingsman: The Secret Service. —


SOLID GROWTH FOR ONLINE SALES UK online retail sales were up 13 per cent year-on-year in March, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. This represents a solid performance as Easter (which traditionally brings heightened retail sales activity) fell in March in 2016 but was in April this year. The continued positive growth for online retail sales appears to be driven, at least in part, by higher average basket values through mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) for both multichannel and online-only retailers. The total average basket value for m-retail was up by 18 per cent on March 2016, to mark the seventh straight month in which this figure has risen. “Over the past few years we have recorded very strong online retail sales growth through smartphone devices and it seems shoppers are getting more confident about checking out with higher baskets through these devices,” says Justin Opie, managing director, IMRG. “The reasons for this are most likely related to better-performing mobile sites, with many retailers focusing on making the experience as convenient and straightforward as possible on these devices, but it will also no doubt be influenced by next-day delivery – it has become fairly common for online retailers to offer next-day for free if the total spend is above a set threshold.” — AMAZON LAUNCHES LOCAL WEATHER PERSONALISED SHOPPING SERVICE E-tail giant Amazon has launched a new personalised shopping service, designed to offer products based on the consumer’s local weather conditions. Part of Amazon’s #NowItsSummer campaign, the service will offer useful and relevant items depending on weather conditions, including sun cream, sunglasses, wellington boots and umbrellas. The online retail marketplace developed the service based on previous seasonal sales research. It uses new technology which studies weather data as part of an algorithm to suggest weatherappropriate products based on shoppers’ locations. —


RETAIL INSIDER The latest news and opinion from the menswear retail industry. —

ADVICE CONSIDERING INTERIOR TRENDS FOR YOUR STORE ALI NEWTON is the marketing executive for The Display Centre

KESTIN HARE UNVEILS SCOTTISH FLAGSHIP STORE Scottish fashion designer Kestin Hare has opened a brand new flagship store in Leith, Edinburgh. The store occupies a Grade A listed town house built in 1812 and is spread over two floors, directly facing onto the water on Custom Wharf. The interior of the store had been carefully curated to reflect the local nautical culture, with a 1960s speedboat in the changing room downstairs, and yachting rope used to suspend paddles for hanging fixtures. Hare’s passion for supporting Scottish creatives will see his menswear collection sitting alongside a select edit of Made in Scotland brands including sunglasses, stationery, homewares, confectionery and grooming. “At the front of my mind has been to create something that gives customers a real reason to come to my physical store,” explains Hare. “We want to involve the community, to tell a story and inspire. We will have an onsite barber and the store will also house a florist with a focus on selling seasonal Scottish plants and flowers. There is definitely a local customer in Leith for us, and Edinburgh also benefits from a buoyant tourism industry. We will house the very best selection of Scottish design, which has been a lifelong dream of mine,” he adds. — NEWS IN BRIEF BEN SHERMAN CONTINUES RETAIL EXPANSION WITH LIVERPOOL OPENING Ben Sherman opened a 1,755 sq ft store on Liverpool ONE’s Manesty’s Lane at the beginning of April. The brand's first full price store opening outside London, the new boutique stocks its full range of clothing and accessories. Ben Sherman joins a strong mix of complementary luxury and heritage fashion brands at Peter’s Lane and Manesty’s Lane, including Flannels, Michael Kors, Beauty Bazaar Harvey Nichols, Dr. Martens and Pretty Green. —

MEADOWHALL DEVELOPMENT ENTERS SECOND PHASE British Land, joint owner of Meadowhall in Yorkshire, has announced six new signings and upsizes totalling over 85,000 sq ft as the £60m refurbishment moves into its next phase. Primark is to extend its existing unit by 21,000 sq ft, creating a 95,500 sq ft flagship store. The increase in size is being facilitated by a move into the former BHS unit. Sports Direct has leased the remainder of the former BHS unit, increasing its presence to 44,000 sq ft. —

Independent retailers have several advantages over big box brands. When it comes to design, an indie's key advantages are its agility and potential for engaging customers with some personality. But what’s next in store design? Here are three predictions for up-and-coming trends to consider this year. Accent walls Accent walls can make a big difference to how large a room looks, making them an excellent tool for independent retailers who are struggling for space. Lighter wall colours and carefully designed store displays are a great way to make a room appear larger — but this can sometimes make things a little bland. It’s important to encourage customers to walk around the shop, not just near the entrance. So, a rear wall that is painted in a colour can encourage customers to visit products featured at the back. Getting with the times While large retail chains tend to be slowmoving leviathans, independents are able to adjust with current affairs to create topical and exciting window displays. Engaging with your customers is key to making them fall in love with your store. One of the best ways to engage with customers is to inject some personality into a display. Messages that play on current affairs can be a great way to engage customers and are made easy with displays such as peg boards and chalkboards. Rising to the ‘man-spend’ Last year, for the first time ever, men spent more on clothing than women did — a trend that looks set to continue. In response to this, many larger brands have begun to display menswear at the front of their shops, instead of tucked away upstairs. Independent retailers are likely to factor this into their store design, too — particularly if the trend continues to grow. By displaying menswear on mannequins near the entrance to the store, independents can become far more likely to entice the elusive ‘man-spend’. —


SHOPPED: ROB ADAMS How has menswear been performing this season? I’m really happy with the season so far, to be honest. The usual suspects have done well, such as Universal Works, Edwin and Portuguese Flannel. I also brought Folk back into the mix for this season and it’s been fantastic. And we started working with Zespa footwear and that’s gone down really well with our customers too. — How was Easter trading this time around? Easter always comes down to the weather. This year it wasn't really warm enough for people to go far, so we had a really ROB ADAMS, MENSWEAR BUYER, strong trading period. We had Norse Projects doing a pop-up THE HAMBLEDON, shop in The Hambledon over that period and that worked WINCHESTER really well. — When do you normally start your summer Sale? We always go into Sale in the last week of July. It’s set in stone and it always works. Everyone now seems to be obsessed with reducing product at exactly the point when people are prepared to pay full price for it. I’ve never understood that. Unfortunately, across the board retailers have relinquished too much control to the customer. An ice cream man doesn’t sell cheap ice cream in August. — Have you got any other plans for the shop coming up? Moscot eyewear are in-store doing a ‘trunk show’ on the weekend of 26-27 May, and we have a really exciting project coming up with our friends at Universal Works in September. We are always up to something. —



BELSTAFF UNVEILS CHESHIRE OAKS OPENING Premium fashion label Belstaff has opened its doors within Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet – the first for the brand in the north of England. With over 1,000 sq m of dedicated retail space, the new store marks an important step in the evolution of the Belstaff outlet strategy, whilst opening its doors to a new local audience. The concept store showcases a new direction in terms of visibility and visual merchandising, with dedicated category product areas including leather, denim, accessories and small leather goods. Raw steel rails and glass shelving units can be found within the store, while a new lighting concept highlights the products and materials. The brand's vintage logo, including an image of the original Stoke-on-Trent factory, is displayed at the back of the store. The product is a unisex mix of heritage pieces, classic leather outerwear, accessories, denim and knits, together with more fashion forward pieces from the s/s 17 collections. Key pieces include a hand printed camo jacket for men and a woollen stripe pattern coat with leather trims for women. Limited edition capsule collections such as the Belstaff X Liv Tyler a/w 16 collection, James Hunt moto inspired collection and the Pendine Sands classic capsule can all be found in the store. —

NEWS IN BRIEF With a warm, relaxed and friendly atmosphere, Collen & Clare has been described as a ‘mini Fenwick’. Managing director Vanessa Collen is Suffolk born and bred. Her background is in investment banking at JP Morgan, but she always harboured a dream of opening a clothes shop in Southwold. Says Collen: “Whilst small compared to our women's offer, menswear is integral to our brand, with brands such as Oliver Spencer, Universal Works and Barbour Heritage defining our style. We are all about people shopping in a relaxed environment, usually whilst they are on holiday or at their second home, so being welcoming to men is hugely important.” Denim is also strong, with Edwin, Levi's and Citizens of Humanity leading the way. The store is a large building that has been a drapers since the 1750s. “It has a real sense of history about it without being old fashioned,” she says. They are about to refit the men's room, putting in hand built walnut fittings, a bespoke 'denim' wall and a walnut 'runway' to highlight bestselling items. “With a new fitting room and chairs, it will feel more welcoming and a bit of a boy’s club,” offers Collen. New brands for a/w 17 will be Suit and Labrum – both spotted at Jacket Required. —

VICTORIA GATE NAMED BEST SHOPPING CENTRE Property developer Hammerson has confirmed that Victoria Gate, its new premium retail development in Leeds, has been awarded Best Shopping Centre in the MIPIM Awards 2017. Part of MIPIM, the industry’s largest real estate exhibition, the MIPIM Awards honour the most outstanding and accomplished projects around the world, with Victoria Gate competing against Lee Tung Avenue, Hong Kong, Morinomiya Q’s MALL BASE, Japan, and Parc Central, China, to win the Best Shopping Centre Award. —



RAVI GREWAL Stuarts London celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and co-owner and director Ravi Grewal and his brothers have been busy laying the foundations to significantly grow the business, both online and in-store. Tom Bottomley enjoys a shop history lesson and hears what Grewal has up his sleeve for this year. — Tom Bottomley: When the shop was originally opened, what did it sell? Ravi Grewal: Stuarts opened on this site in Shepherd’s Bush in 1967 as a tailor’s shop catering for local West London gentlemen. It was a haven for the sartorialist, which attracted the burgeoning Mod movement of the late 1960s. It was a go-to for hybrid British and Italian formal and casual wear. The Mod movement put Stuarts on the map as a contemporary fashion retailer. — TB: How did it make its name? Was the 80s football casuals era another crucial period? RG: Stuarts became famous in the 80s, mainly for selling all that was on trend, and it became a goto place for football casuals. Brands sold back then were Fila, Sergio Tacchini, Diadora, Ellesse, Pringle, Lyle & Scott and Pierre Cardin. It was one of a few retailers nationally pioneering the import of established European sportswear. In the 90s, we continued to make noise with brands such as Chippie, Chevignon, Ton Sur Ton, Ball, C17 and the like. In those days, the high street was dominated by the big department stores and it was rare to find sought-after brands. Stuarts was one of maybe only three others in London offering these labels to fashion-hungry football fans. QPR was and still is on our doorstep, and visiting coachloads of fans made a point of parking up outside the shop on Uxbridge Road on match days to get the latest from what was on offer. —



TB: Who was the original owner, and when did your family take over the business? RG: The original owner, Stuart Zigleman, sold up to us in 1987, so we have had the business in our family for 30 years. My father, Rajinder, was closely acquainted to Stuart and he knew that he would be able to make a go of the business. The shop needed a change and a new direction as the clientele in Shepherd’s Bush had also changed. It had failed to adapt with the climate it was surrounded by. We took over the business in a poor state but within six months revived it and made it more relevant again. Personally I’ve been fully involved with the business since 1999. My role is mostly taken up with buying in all the brands, and creatively driving the business forward. My eldest brother, Harjit, is the finance director, and my middle brother, Gurjit, is the customer service/ logistics director. — TB: How has the bricks and mortar shop evolved over the years? RG: There have been huge changes, and I feel it’s currently looking its best for a while. The store is now under the management of my nephew, Arv Grewal, and two shop staff members. They have some great new ideas, and we’re now having a small makeover and adding a coffee shop area. Buying customers will be able to enjoy a complimentary coffee or cold beer. Within this area we will have the books we sell online, so anyone wishing to do some light reading can do so. This is aimed at letting the husbands shop with ease, whilst the ladies get a chance to relax and unwind. We are also looking to increase our publication department. We are mainly working with Taschen and Clutch Magazine right now. The shop has become something of a showroom for our customers, and we want to give them a better environment, a reason to visit that’s not just about selling products. — TB: Do you mean they come to the shop to view and try on and then go home and order it and get it delivered? RG: No, not at all. If they have walked in they have generally come to buy. Most of the customers do

their research online these days, but then want to feel and try the product before making a purchase. Click and collect has also grown. A lot of our international customers visiting London enjoy this service, along with customers working in London who don’t want to miss out on something that has caught their eye on our website. If they don’t like the item when they pop in we issue a refund straight back, but at least they know the product they have seen online is waiting for them when they arrive at the store. We can’t display every brand and style on the shopfloor. The website is very much the driving force behind our growth, and now accounts for 60-70 per cent of annual sales. We are seeing around 30-40 per cent growth year on year online. — TB: What is spurring this growth? RG: We do all our marketing in-house, so the team is really dedicated to driving sales on social media, whilst also working with great media partners in the UK and abroad. We are also looking into continuous ways to improve our service to customers. We have already launched new responsive websites for the UK, USA and Australia prior to our recent move to a much bigger head office and warehouse in Camberley. We had seriously outgrown our old office and warehouse in Shepherd’s Bush, and the new space is 20,000 square feet, with scope to grow even larger in time. We also have seen good growth on our other website,, which is aimed more at the sneaker-head market. — TB: What more can you tell us about that? RG: Dandy Fellow is still my work in progress. Over the last two years we have seen the most sales from successful footwear, mainly sneakers. There are some crossover brands with Stuarts, but moving forward for s/s 18 we will be looking to buy differently for Dandy Fellow, so it’s more in line with the current younger consumer. We are in talks with signing off exclusive collaborations with sneaker brands, and we’ve sourced some great labels that are not available in the UK as yet. I originally launched it four years ago, with the mind to offer a very smart suiting business

online, which was a mistake and it didn’t take off. In year two we changed it to a footwear only website, and by year three and four we began to add back some clothing lines relevant to bestselling footwear. It has now finally found its own customer, and we have a separate database, and a separate marketing agenda. I feel s/s 18 is going to be a very exciting time for Dandy Fellow. — TB: Does the bricks and mortar shop still serve a big purpose? RG: The footfall has always been a problem since Westfield opened up the road. However, we are diverting a lot of consumers from the website to the store, because they prefer to make a more informed decision before purchase. Most of my customers are not really the Westfield type, so usually they come in whilst their wives browse the shopping centre. They come to see us to get away from that environment and pop in the local for a few pints after. — TB: What brands are performing well for you and what’s new coming in? RG: I don’t really have a bestselling brand as such. We have fine-tuned the offer for our customer, so it’s quite level selling across the board, though I guess the obvious volume drivers would be Nike and Adidas. For a/w 17 we have bought in some new additions to spice our offer, such as White Mountaineering, AMI, NN07, SNS Herning, Casbia, Maharishi, Kenzo and Left Field. — TB: What plans do you have to celebrate the anniversary and communicate that the shop has been around so long? RG: We’ve reworked our logo for this year to Stuarts ‘50’. We also have 12 collaborations lined up from a/w 17 onwards, where we have joint designed exclusive dual branded products with very limited availability. They will be numbered and cool collector’s items. To name a few, we have teamed up with the likes of Barbour, Edwin, Grenson, Filson, Tootal, Baracuta, Oliver Spencer, Red Wing and Schott. An official launch of all is planned for the end August. Personally, I am very excited about the opportunity to celebrate our 50th with exclusive products to highlight this landmark year.



BUILT ON BRITISH SOIL Peregrine Clothing presents its latest collection for the new season, inspired by the brand’s rich heritage and connections with both the city and the countryside. Carefully designed with both practicality and style in mind, the brand prides itself on using premium quality fabrics and incorporating unique details into each garment. Highlights in the outerwear offering include the quilted bomber jacket and the waxed cotton Burnham jacket, featuring a boxy silhouette and on-trend ribbed panelling on the shoulders. Knitwear, meanwhile, continues to be a collection must-have, including the Hudson Aran jumper which is produced in a rich, heavy textured British wool, woven with small quantities of silk nep to create a unique flecked design on the garment. —


RADAR Spotlighting style

SCANDINAVIAN SIMPLICITY With every item in its a/w 17 offering Casual Friday celebrates Scandinavian coolness, with fine tailoring details, sharp silhouettes and subtle colour palettes. With a simplistic design ethos, buyers can expect indigo denim, long-line bomber jackets, slim fit tailoring, subtle logo placement, 70s inspired roll-necks, leather and military influences. —

DOUGLAS & GRAHAME ESTABLISHED: 1924 HISTORY: Spanning over 90 years, menswear fashion house Douglas & Grahame is now run by the third generation of the Finlay family. SIGNATURE STYLE: Smart, quality tailoring fused with trend-focused elements and attention to detail. More recently, the brand has significantly increased its focus on the trend-led elements of its product offering within its Douglas line (pictured). Now in its third generation of private ownership, Douglas & Grahame infuses over 90 years of the brand’s history with modern design. The brand’s classic look and identity is represented through solid foundations of smart, quality tailoring, style and attention to detail. Recognising the changing perceptions of men on shopping and fashion, this season the brand increases its focus on the style conscious elements of its latest collection. A sophisticated colour palette of grey, navy blue, brown and black is complemented by injections of burnt orange and camel. Meanwhile subtle check detailing on shirts and suit jackets and a ribbed effect on jumpers creates a contemporary update across the line. A quilt effect, used on select jackets and coats, creates an additional sophisticated aesthetic. Overall, the stylish collection contains iconic statement pieces and refined tailoring options, which this season have taken on a more trend-led and multi-purpose approach, leaving the modern-day man well catered for. —

ORGANIC GROWTH Founded by Tom Sheard and Luke Clifton, Gentlemen’s Chuckaboo is a range of 100 per cent natural male grooming products designed for beards and moustaches. Featuring oils, waxes, balms and a moisturiser, the duo will soon add a moustache wax and matt hair clay to the offering. Key ingredients include sweet almond and jojoba oils, peppermint, frankincense and lime essential oils. Stocked in traditional barbers nationwide, the brand are looking to open select doors over the next season. —



EFFORTLESS STYLE Urban menswear brand Bewley & Ritch typically presents a style that blends British heritage with contemporary trends. The a/w 17 collection inspiration has come from the Earthed and Design Matters trends and experimentation with infusion and new print techniques such as digital printing on jerseys. Key colours include purple and vibrant blues, while jacquards remain a key feature in both shirts and polos. —


EYEING UP THE PRIZE For s/s 17, eyewear brand Moscot introduces six new frames to its Spirit collection and two to its Originals line. Featuring the brand’s distinct colour palette and signature end caps, the Spirit collection is available as ophthalmic eyewear or sunglasses. Based on styles from the Moscot archives, the Originals collection celebrates classic looks and timeless design. Pieces in the collection retain the authenticity of the original frame styles made in the 40s including period details, traditional hardware and sunglasses lenses that duplicate the original colour palette. —

SUNDAY SOMEWHERE Founded by Dave Allison and Carlos Aviles, Sunday Somewhere is an eyewear label which embodies the relaxed vibe of Sydney, Australia. With a name that derives from the relaxed feeling of Sundays, the brand launched into the market for the s/s 12 season and has seen great success since, offering optical styles as well as sunglasses in a wide range of designs. —


DUKE £18 0115 977 0009

SAMSOE & SAMSOE £16 020 3137 3901

EASTPAK £28.55 020 3137 3901


MAVERICK TWISTS £32 01223 926143

ALL IN THE ATTITUDE Skateboarder style is set to make another comeback this spring/summer, with washed vintage finishes, a muted colour palette and oversized silhouettes – all of which incorporate another appearance for the 90s grunge trend. — Unless stated otherwise all prices are wholesale HYPE CAMEL ACTIVE PRICE ON REQUEST 07834 176938

GUESS £70 0800 4837 7387

BLOOD BROTHER £46 020 7729 5005


NATIVE YOUTH £10 020 7739 7620


SUNDAY SOMEWHERE RRP £275 01992 351026

THE EDIT Accessories and lifestyle products to complement your store’s offer. — SMYTHSON PRICE ON REQUEST WHOLESALE@SMYTHSON.COM

IPANEMA £6 01992 769612

MEN’S SOCIETY £6.67 01406 362633


HUNTER ORIGINAL £38 020 7479 2040


WRANGLER DONS A NEW LEASE OF LIFE FOR ITS 70TH Considered one of the big three denim brands, and certainly one of the oldest, along with Levi’s and Lee, Wrangler has been lacking a certain youthful energy in recent years. But with this year marking its 70th anniversary, the brand has a prime opportunity to delve into its impressive archive and reinterpret some gems of the past for a modern younger customer, writes Tom Bottomley. — Wrangler is a heritage denim brand that has been safely plodding on in recent years, counting on a loyal – and quite large, it has to be said – following, especially in the more traditional denim market. It’s not really the all-inspiring denim brand with an edge that it has been in its illustrious past though. But that’s being considerably addressed this year, which marks the Wrangler’s 70th anniversary. And the archives are playing a huge role in the rediscovery, with a younger consumer now seen as a vital target market once again. As Wrangler’s creative director Sean Gormley puts it: “People have got used to Wrangler being this great, reliable and enduring denim brand, but the freshness, youthfulness and appeal have worn away somewhat in recent years. “Going back to when it was a hugely successful brand in the 1970s and 80s, being fresh, fun and edgy was what Wrangler was all

about, and that’s what we’re aiming to rediscover again now.” According to Gormley, they have been plotting the refocus at VF Corporation for the past couple of years, with the 70th anniversary seen as a prime opportunity for Wrangler to get its new focus and brand message across. “We want it back in the minds of younger and cooler consumers, where we feel it has a right to be. It’s one of the original denim brands, with a fantastic story. There’s also now a resurgence of authentic brands, and we’re just trying to make the whole thing more relevant and younger.” One of the key highlights for this year is the Wrangler by Peter Max collaboration collection for men and women. It’s a more premium line which nods back to the early 1970s. In fact, it was in 1970 and 1971 that Wrangler first collaborated with psychedelic artist Max, whose designs inspired The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine and who

also created iconic posters for Woodstock. The collaboration back then was huge, selling some three million pairs of jeans in one year. This allnew European-made line has the same boldly colourful, upbeat period feel. Though the archiveinspired clothes have been updated with modern fits, all packaging is a replica of the 1970s original. There’s plenty of colour blocking, including tri-colour cord western shirts and jackets, and a mixing of denim colours on jeans. The selvedge denim comes from the famous Cone Mills in the USA, and jeans are set to start at £160. The Retro Slim Fit men’s jean is like an early Wrangler cowboy jean but slimmed down on the leg for a more modern look. Theo Van den Hoff, Wrangler EMEA’s vice president of product and merchandising, comments: “As of May, the Wrangler by Peter Max collection will hit 25 of the most premium doors in Europe. The retro 70s to 90s trends are


supporting our ‘Wrangler is Back’ strategy, especially for our retro inspired denims. Furthermore, we have relaunched the brand in Urban Outfitters and grown our business with digital players like ASOS.” Indeed, although the Peter Max collection is at the top of the tree in terms of Wrangler’s offer this year, there has also been a major knock-on effect to the mainline. The focus is on more contemporary fits. There’s a slim straight leg, a slim tapered and even a looser fit for a/w 17. “Again, we’ve raided the archives for inspiration,” offers Gormley. “A key product is our Stone Dyed jeans, originally introduced in around 1978. There’s also an early 80s bleach wash we call our ‘Wild Wash’, as was on the original ticketing, featuring a jacket and a jean.” Gormley also says the new use of various old interpretations of the Wrangler logo is really playing a key role in graphic prints on tees and sweats, so the collection is very much a complete one. “We’re using quite punchy and powerful visuals, colours and size scales with the old logo, especially for prints. It’s certainly more Urban Outfitters than our more basic entry price point Debenhams offer. Wrangler was always a bit more playful than Levi’s, and that’s what we’re looking at getting back to. Some of the archive just looks so relevant again, especially the many different graphic executions, so we’re playing with the colours and adjusting the silhouettes and recreating something right for now.” Although the Wrangler brand name and products were established in 1947, the story of

the original company can be traced back much further. In 1897, a 20 year-old CC Hudson made his way to Greensboro, North Carolina, seeking his fortune in the emerging textile industry. He found work in a factory making overalls, but in 1904, aged 27, his workplace closed. He and a few others got together the money to buy several of the sewing machines from their old workplace, and Hudson and his brother, Homer, formed the Hudson Overall Company – operating from a loft above Coe Brothers Grocery on South Elm Street in Greensboro. By 1919, sales of Hudson overalls were booming, and the company moved to larger headquarters and changed its name to the Blue Bell Overall Company. Legend has it that a group of railroad workers bought CC Hudson a large bell. After spending time in the factory, the bell turned blue with the denim dust, hence ‘Blue Bell.’ Jumping forward to 1946, Blue Bell workers took part in a competition to give a name to a new jeans brand that the company was looking to launch. The winning name was Wrangler, synonymous with the name for a working cowboy. In 1947, Wrangler’s authentic western jeans, designed by celebrity tailor Rodeo Ben, were introduced to the American consumer. Professional rodeo cowboys Jim Shoulders, Bill Linderman and Freckles Brown test-wore the 13MWZ jeans and endorsed the brand for durability and quality. The rest, as they say, is history. It was in 1986 that Blue Bell merged with VF Corporation of Pennsylvania, making VF one

of the two largest jeans makers in the world. In the 1970s the brand enjoyed possibly its most buoyant time in the fashion arena, and the Peter Max collaboration really put the brand on the map with all the ‘hip’ kids who had experienced the psychedelic ‘Summer of Love’ in the late 60s. Van den Hoff comments: “Going back to the 70s, we learned that being a market leader means being more provocative, fashionable and daring with bolder messaging. With the current retro trend, and our 70th anniversary, the time is right for the brand to shout about its heritage. We must stay true to ourselves and be authentic, but we much also be relevant.” The new Wrangler summer marketing campaign has now launched, focusing on its ‘Retro Glory’ s/s 17 collection, and celebrating 70 years of Wrangler in major cities across EMEA, with strong digital investments. The brand will be building on that for a/w 17 with a similar look and feel to its marketing. Says Van den Hoff: “The UK, specifically London, is adopting the latest trends fast and is probably the most digital-savvy in EMEA. This means with the right product and communication focus, brands can win fast and big.” Gormley also adds that Wrangler is looking to do a pop-up shop in London later this year with the new Peter Max collaboration collection. It seems the old denim brand is gaining fresh momentum, and the old ‘W’ stitching on the back pockets of jeans, and front pockets of denim jackets, could once again become prominent amongst the nation’s new ‘hip’ kids.


MERC HITS A BULLSEYE With a rich history strongly entwined with the story of Carnaby Street, Mod brand Merc celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Tom Bottomley finds out how it all started from founder and chairman Javid Alavi, and how it’s developing from head of UK Andrew Tompsett. — The Merc trading name has been in use since 15th September 1967, founded by budding retailer and entrepreneur Javid Alavi, at a time when London was truly ‘swinging’ and Carnaby Street was at the epicentre. In the early days Merc traded in Kingly Market and Carnaby Court, which was known as the ‘Flea Market’, and the Merc name was only displayed inside the shop at that time. As founder Alavi recalls: “By 1973 Merc was registered as a business name and, within seven years we managed to purchase a number of shops from Warren Gold of Lord John fame, and John Stephen.” Stephen was dubbed ‘The £1m Mod’ by the media, and was the undisputed ‘King of Carnaby Street.’ As a result, Merc ended up with units 8/9, as well as 10/11/12 and 17/18 Carnaby Court, in addition to the number 15 it already operated

from. Alavi explains: “Lord John and John Stephen had control of Carnaby Street at that time but, somehow, due to involvement in some heavy litigation, they were short of money. I recall meeting John Stephen in a coffee shop in Foubert’s Place and asked him if he ever wanted to sell his lovely shop at 8/9, on the corner of Carnaby Court and Carnaby Street, to let me know. He said that everything was for sale at the right price, so I made him an offer 30 per cent over his asking price, quickly got the key, and moved in.” Opposite, at 10/11/12 Carnaby Court, facing onto Carnaby Street, was a Lord John shop. The shop was huge but the small entrance door was hidden away on the corner. Says Alavi: “I contacted Warren Gold and told him that his shop was not doing very well, and asked him why he did not sell it. In short, I paid double the asking price, got the key and over the weekend installed five-metre glass sliding doors, which opened the entire frontage onto Carnaby Street – employing 12 staff, who worked non-stop.” Within two years, Merc opened two fully furnished factories and a large warehouse in the East End of London. “By this time, we were exporting about 4,000 trousers and jackets alone to Europe and Scandinavia, mainly Norway,” offers Alavi. The last Merc shop on Carnaby Street shut its doors for the final time in September 2012. Head of UK Andy Tompsett says: “It was a tough decision to make, especially with the brand having such a long association with the area. But we wanted to focus on building the online business, and make Merc more of a global name.” Merc had a strong worldwide catalogue business already, and that led the brand to run a web store very early on. “That was back in 2002 – albeit from small beginnings,” offers Tompsett. “It took over from the catalogue business we were doing, and it grew significantly, and continues to do so. It now represents a good third of the business. There’s always a consideration of a return to bricks and mortar retail as well, but we shall see what the future holds.”

Merc owns a property on Hanover Street, W1, where its showroom and offices are today on the fourth floor. There’s actually a retail space on the ground floor, which one day could well be converted into a Merc shop. “Who knows?” says Tompsett. “The whole of the area will be changing again with the advent of Crossrail. But it’s not in our immediate thoughts.” A brand immersed in British subculture, most notably associated with the Mod movement from the 1960s onwards, Merc has found favour in different periods throughout the years, including skinheads in the late 70s and early 80s and the Ska movement at the same time. During the Britpop scene of the 90s, Blur were big Merc fans, especially Damon Albarn in his Merc Harrington jacket – still the brand’s bestseller to this day and retailing at £90. “We’ve built our name on that particular piece, and we currently carry seven colours in stock,” says Tompsett. “We also sell a lot of our Tobias parka.” A 50th anniversary limited edition version of the Harrington is currently available for Merc fans to buy at House of Fraser and Zalando, as well as the more Mod-influenced Atom Retro. A reintroduction of the brand’s Ashville jeans has also recently been welcomed by retailers and customers alike, retailing at £60. “It’s a narrow, straight leg and a very clean jean, which we sold really well about 10 years ago,” says Tompsett. “We’ve changed it slightly, as it now has to have a bit of stretch in it, and it’s proving to be a phenomenal success. We’re now being asked for different washes and different fits, and it’s definitely something we are looking to develop going forward into s/s 18. We’re looking at a more tapered leg, which we’re particularly getting asked for, especially from Continental Europe.” Although the UK is Merc’s strongest market, Tompsett says the brand is “really rocking” in Spain, now with some 90 accounts. “Even though they’ve got more financial troubles and there’s a lot of youth unemployment, Merc is proving really solid all over Spain,” he says. Italy, Germany and France are also important markets for the brand. “We’ve seen our European website business grow and become more profitable, especially in light of the current exchange rate,” adds Tompsett. As the brand moves towards its second half century, that’s music to the ears of founder Alavi.


PANTHERELLA INTERNATIONAL GROUP CELEBRATES DOUBLE ANNIVERSARY Not content with Pantherella’s 80th anniversary this year, the Pantherella International Group is also celebrating the 135th anniversary of its HJ Hall brand. Tom Bottomley gets the sock stories from Group Commercial Director Andrew Townsin, with Pantherella leading the way in design and top-end distribution. — Pantherella may not have the sock world tied up, but let’s just say it’s got more than just a good foothold. Not only does this year see the brand reach its 80th anniversary but, on top of that, celebrating its 135th anniversary is HJ Hall, part of the same company and now coming under the name of the Pantherella International Group. “In terms of the anniversaries this year, we’re really focusing on Pantherella as the leading brand in the company,” says Group Commercial Director Andrew Townsin. “It sits at the top of our offer, and it’s very well respected.”

All socks in the Pantherella a/w 17 range will feature a special 80th anniversary label band around them. “It looks really strong at point of purchase,” says Townsin. New sock collaborations, as yet undisclosed, will also follow in due course. Currently Ted Baker already has socks dual branded with Pantherella, in store and at wholesale. “We’re also looking to do a travelling pop-up type event in shopping centres in key cities in the UK later this year. Westfield is possibly on the cards for that,” offers Townsin, who not only

believes the 80th anniversary is a good time to big up the brand, but also to get across the message that Pantherella socks are still made in England, at the original Leicestershire factory where they have been produced since 1937. “I think the fact we still make all of our Pantherella socks in England is a major deal, and it’s something we really want to shout about. It gives us a real point of difference and huge credibility across the globe. We are the go-to hosiery company in Britain.” The Group also makes its Scott-Nichol socks in the same


Leicestershire factory, another brand first established in the early 1930s. A key point that Townsin wants to convey is that although for a long time Pantherella has been bracketed with that very traditional ‘suited and booted’ type of customer, the customers have evolved, meaning that the brand has adapted its design focus. “The ‘business casual’ look is now massive,” he says. “People aren’t wearing ties as much. They could be wearing a pair of brogues with chinos for work, or selvedge denim, along with a nice shirt and a blazer. It’s still smart, but not in the traditional sense. Even the guys in suits are wearing their trousers higher, which means you see the socks – making your choice of socks all the more important. People’s personalities are being effervesced through their socks. It’s really allowing consumers to make a statement. That’s why our fashion and our patterned offer is currently doing so well in the market, not just our core business of black and navy.” It was one Louis Goldschmidt who established the Pantherella company in 1937. Having previously been a maker of socks in his native Germany, Goldschmidt had a vision that fine gauge English socks were the future. Tired of producing bulky, bland and uncomfortable socks for men, he believed that lightweight, seamless, ‘fancy’ socks would be in high demand. After careful persuasion Goldschmidt convinced local machine makers P.A. Bentley to produce a specialist sock machine. The demand for lightweight men’s socks was significant. By the time the competitors cottoned on to Goldschmidt’s innovative design plans he had already set the industry standard, leaving the competition in the shadows. Pantherella was renowned for creating the world’s finest socks. “In 1990, after Pantherella was floated on the stock exchange, the brand was acquired by

Burberry,” says Townsin. “Even they continued to produce in the same Leicestershire factory.” It wasn’t until 2001 that the HJ Sock Group bought the Pantherella sock brand from Burberry. Then, in 2006, Scott-Nichol, the iconic leisure sock brand, was acquired by Pantherella. “As of June 2016, we took the view to bring all the brands under one umbrella, called the Pantherella International Group Limited.” Pantherella is at the high end of the brand offer. Scott-Nichol is more country and urban casual and chunky knit-type socks, while HJ Hall has ranges from health to outdoor and technical type products. Says Townsin: “We are, without a doubt, the one-stop shop for high-end hosiery – for any channel, which makes us very appealing as a business.” Distribution is different for each of the brands. A typical Pantherella customer is from the AB1 affluent demographic. “He’s educated, over 40 and interested in quality. So we do handlinked toe seams, which are very important for durability and comfort, and we use very high-end yarns, some of which are exclusive to Pantherella in the sock world, such as Escorial wool, which is a rare and super luxurious wool only found on sheep in certain parts of Australia and New Zealand,” Townsin explains. Pantherella also produces socks in cashmere, Egyptian cotton – the finest grade of cotton in the world – silk and West Indian Sea Island cotton. “That’s a fibre which has good strength, it’s got a great sheen to it and it’s got a lovely hand feel,” offers Townsin. “It’s like anything: you know when you’re wearing a good pair of jeans, you know when you’re wearing a good pair of shoes, and you know when you’re wearing a pair of Pantherella socks.” The more premium offer allows Pantherella to trade with some of the best department stores and retailers across the world. So it supplies the

likes of Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Liberty in London, and Barneys, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus in the USA. “We’re right there in the top of the triangle from a branded perspective. We also have famous fans of Pantherella’s socks, including actors Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey,” says Townsin. In terms of the Scott-Nichol brand, the customer is a bit younger. He’s more like the 30-something ‘urban casual’ guy, who’s probably wearing selvedge denim and Red Wing boots. For HJ Hall, the offer is more technical, so it has anything from basic outdoor walking socks, to super technical walking socks. They come with all sorts of technical features, from waterproofing to cushioned soles. HJ Hall also has a really high volume of what it calls ‘soft top’ socks, which have been endorsed by the Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. The relaxed top also means it’s suitable for diabetics and people who have swollen ankles and medical issues, because there’s no pressure on the legs. Townsin explains: “We started that whole soft top thing, and we are the brand of choice for that. It performs really well in our health channel of distribution, and within other gentleman’s retailers too, but generally for an older consumer.” HJ Hall was founded in 1882 by one John Hall. Renowned for his honesty and integrity, he was known as ‘Honest John’ – hence the initials in the brand name. The company produced in Hinckley in Leicestershire, a county that is really the home of hosiery, and made socks in its factory there until October 2015, when the decision was made to move production to the Far East in order to remain competitive. “HJ Hall is now performing incredibly well,” offers Townsin. “But it’s great we’ve been able to keep the focus on making in England for Pantherella, because that’s what sets that brand apart.” —



The next edition of the ever-expanding show introduces new features and more countries. —

Already the largest and fastest growing apparel sourcing show in the UK, the organisers of Fashion SVP have announced that they are expanding the event to include fashion accessories and other exciting new features, as well as hosting once more their popular Sourcing Briefing seminar sessions. A versatile trade fair, Fashion SVP presents a first-class exhibition of over 120 exhibitors from an expanded range of more than 16 countries, combined with excellent networking and information gathering opportunities for all those involved in sourcing fashion. The show serves both independent womenswear retailers and brands and the UK’s top fashion houses, who all attend. The event is held on 27-28 June 2017 at Olympia, London’s leading venue, and exhibitors at the show are a carefully selected line-up coming from near shore European and Mediterranean countries, and a special group from Mauritius. The manufacturers not only show their latest collections but also share up to date knowledge about production, product development and innovation. For buyers, the event is the perfect destination to discover the latest in sourcing know-how, evaluate and meet potential new fashion manufacturers, many of whom offer full design services, and network with other professionals from the fashion industry. Buyers can also take advantage of the new features, which for 2017 include a New Designer Award, an exciting competition aimed at spotting emerging new talent with a fresh take on design. The winning designs will be showcased at the event, with the final winner announced at the show. There will also be a special focus on athleisure and activewear fashions; a jobs forum for anyone looking for new opportunities in the fashion market, and a manufacturing feature with actual production being demonstrated by experts who’ll be on hand to give advice and answer questions. The producers at the show range from large to small with many accepting low minimum orders, which will be of particular interest to emerging brands and fashion retailers sourcing directly from manufacturers for the first time. Therefore, the show provides a

perfect opportunity to all brands to explore the latest approaches to manufacturing. In addition to tailoring, formal wear, shirts, casuals, polos, streetwear and denim, the new focus on fashion accessories manufacturers will be an exciting addition to the event, according to event director Buzz Carter. “Buyers have been feeding back to us for the past couple of editions that they would welcome accessories alongside the showing of apparel,” he says. “We have been in discussions with our partners and contacts and now present a special selection of quality producers of belts, shoes, neckwear and small leather goods from around the UK, Europe and the Mediterranean region. We also have an excellent range of producers showing socks which will be welcomed by menswear buyers.” The event’s menswear offer includes quality producers such as LTM (Lithuania: formal wear and shirts), Comintern (Belarus: formal wear), Sancar (Portugal: men’s socks), Jack Masters (UK: knitwear), L&Co (UK: formal, suitings and casuals) António Manuel de Sousa (Portugal: neckwear), HMD (France: suitings and formal wear) and Eliz (Belarus), a number of excellent producers from Mauritius and many more. The show will cater for fashion buyers interested in both men’s and boys’ wear and accessories. In addition, the much talked about athleisure has been on Fashion SVP’s radar and will be featured at the show, introducing buyers to new technical innovations and designs in the field. Fashion SVP will also once again host its Sourcing Briefing seminars, which were a huge success last year. The seminars will include insightful sessions about the latest developments on the market, the likely impacts of Brexit, and ethical trade and sourcing with presentations and discussions led by industry experts. — For more details of Fashion SVP, The New Designer Awards, and all news and features of the event, as well as free registration, visit


PRS FOR MUSIC LAUNCHES MUSIC MAKEOVER 2017 COMPETITION FOR FASHION RETAILERS Following on from its successful launch last year, PRS for Music is proud to relaunch its Music Makeover competition for fashion retailers with the winning prize of a £5,000 makeover. PRS for Music devised the Music Makeover campaign to showcase and raise awareness of how good music can impact businesses. The quality of the sound system itself, the acoustics, music choice and volume all impact your customer and staff experience. Celebrating the value of music in fashion stores, PRS for Music is also offering a bespoke music consultation from a leading music and technology expert advising them on the best use of music in their store and a launch event to celebrate and promote their win, featuring live music from PRS for Music members alongside the £5,000 prize. Last year attracted more than 130 entries, with Accent Clothing in Leeds being crowned the winners. The store, which was also voted Best Fashion Retailer in Leeds in 2016, received a bespoke music consultancy from leading record producer Steve Levine, who helped them to revamp the store for live performances as it continues to support the local scene. The £5,000 prize also allowed them to upgrade their in-store sound system across both floors to improve the shopping experience. Accent feels music plays a vital role in their business; it’s about how customers interact when they come into store and creating an environment that they feel welcome in and can relate to on a personal level. As part of the celebrations, PRS for Music hosted a launch party, where rising Leeds act Bianca Gerald, who was dressed by Accent Clothing for last year’s MOBO Awards, and PRS Foundationsupported Marsicans, also from Leeds, performed live upstairs in the revamped store, gaining prestigious national and regional media coverage. “We’re absolutely thrilled with the result; winning this competition is a huge deal for Accent Clothing,” says Becky Schneider, eCommerce Manager at Accent Clothing. “This has given us the ability to do something that we have wanted to do for years: host high quality live music events in store. With the rise of online shopping it is more important than ever that bricks and mortar stores innovate in order to keep customers returning – they have to be a ‘must-visit destination’ in their city. Thank you PRS for Music.”

For 2017, PRS for Music is offering a winning prize of a £5,000 makeover alongside a runners-up prize of £2,500. So do you think your fashion store would benefit from a Music Makeover? To enter you need to: 1. Have a valid PRS for Music licence 2. Complete our quick and easy entry form For full details on how to enter, previous winner information and full terms & conditions, please go to: musicmakeover Deadline is Friday 16 June 2017 at 5pm



With a new layout to the show, an increase in exhibition space to accommodate further growth, and innovative features and events, the s/s 18 edition of Pitti Uomo is set to be one of its most inspiring yet. MWB discovers why the Italian show is the must-visit this June. — With the January edition of Pitti Uomo attracting over 30,000 visitors, it is clear to see why Florence remains one of the leading trade shows on the international buying calendar. Spanning 60,000 sq m, with a brand new floor plan and extended exhibition space to react to further growth, this coming summer will see Pitti Uomo 92 return with a comprehensive programme of special events and an inspiring line-up of premium menswear, accessories, footwear and grooming. Reinvention is key to the s/s 18 as the exhibition unveils its new theme – Boom, Pitti Blooms – focusing on the energy and beauty in flowers. With layout and creative direction by Sergio Colantuoni, the look of the fair itself is designed to excite and inspire with chromatic contrasts on façades, spaces and objects and sculptures throughout the grounds of the Fortezza da Basso. Categorised into 15 unique areas, including Make, Pop Up Stores, Born in the USA, I Play and My Factory, visitors will be able to view over 1,220 collections, 540 of which are international brands from countries such as the UK, Denmark, Japan, France and the US. The Guest Nation, for example, will focus on the talents of Australia this season – a project in collaboration with Fondazione Pitti Immagine

Discovery and The Woolmark Company, which will see eight designers present their collections in the Spazio Carra area, located on the lower level of the Main Pavilion. In conjunction with the Australian Fashion Chamber, it is the first time that a project of this entity has involved Australian designers – including Chris Ran Lin, Sener Besim and P.E Nation – in an international fashion event. The Tokyo Fashion Award, meanwhile, focuses on the new talents of Japanese fashion design. Thanks to the close relationship between Pitti Immagine and the award, the collections of six up-and-coming brands from Japan will be on view at the Fortezza, with a dedicated corner inside the Unconventional area at the Archivi. The participating designers on show include Bed J.W. Ford, Chika Kisada, Doublet, Roggykei, Taakk and Yohei Ohno. The Unconventional area itself will expand this season, doubling its current exhibition space to focus on luxury underground fashion styles, primarily the trend for athleisure and a contemporary, gender-neutral wardrobe. Further developments at Pitti Uomo will see the relaunch of MAKE, a section within the show that maximises the rediscovery of artisan craftsmanship. Strategically shown for the first time in the Sala della Ronda, visitors can expect

to see a new generation of names such as Ateliers Auguste, Bravur Watches, Casablanca 1942, Lamler, The Bespoke Dudes Eyewear and Title of Work. Within Pitti Uomo’s comprehensive programme of events, the ninth edition of ‘Who is on Next? Uomo’ will take place during the show to celebrate and award new menswear fashion talents, in collaboration between Pitti Immagine Uomo, Alta Roma and L’Uomo Vogue. Finalists include Bad Deal, Magliano, matteo lamandini, Milano 140, Omar and SELFMADE by Gianfranco Villegas. Freshness continues throughout the show as Alanui – a nomad-chic style project launched by Nicolo and Charlotta Oddi – will make its debut, showcasing a special site-specific installation on the morning of 15 June within the Roster Tepidarium, designed to engage and inspire buyers. Premium footwear designer, Christian Louboutin, meanwhile, will present a surprising special event, involving not only the fashion community, but the city of Florence itself. Finally, visitors to the fair will be able to continue business in a digital form following the four-day event with running online from 26 June – 27 August.



THE EPHEMERAL MUSEUM OF FASHION AT PALAZZO PITTI On Tuesday 13 June, Il Museo Effimero della Moda (‘The Ephemeral Museum of Fashion’), produced by the Fondazione Pitti Immagine Discovery with the Gallerie degli Uffizi and the Palais Galliera will be inaugurated at Palazzo Pitti. The exhibition. which is open until 22 October, is the second episode in a three-year program promoted by the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana and the Gallerie degli Uffizi and is curated by Olivier Saillard (pictured) in collaboration with Caterina Chiarelli. —

J.W. ANDERSON The Special Guest of Pitti Uomo 92, J.W. Anderson has become established as an internationally recognised fashion brand thanks to the creativity and eclecticism expressed by the designer from Northern Ireland. His collections are famed for being unique in their quality of manufacturing and their reinterpretation of today’s youth culture and art scene. On the evening of Wednesday 14 June, at Villa La Pietra, J.W. Anderson will present his s/s 18 men’s collection in Italy for the first time. —




Hugo Boss, the most fashion-forward line within the Hugo Boss brand, makes its debut at Pitti Uomo as the show’s Special Guest for s/s 18. On the evening of Tuesday 13 June, at the Manifattura Tabacchi, the Hugo collection will be presented with a special fashion show combining both menswear and womenswear. —

Designer Federico Curradi returns to Pitti Uomo to present the premiere of the s/s 18 menswear collection of the brand that carries his name, with a special event on the morning of Wednesday 14 June at the Museo Bardini. On stage will be a “romantic warrior who encompasses various souls of Florence, including craftsmanship and calico storico (historical football).” —

A mixture of fashion and streetwear, Virgil Abloh (pictured) has transformed his own lifestyle into a successful brand, leading Off-White to full stylistic maturity without losing its initial capacity to shock and surprise. Guests will be invited to view the Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh collection on the evening of Thursday 15 June, presenting its s/s 18 menswear collection alongside a selection of the women’s pre-collection. —

160 YEARS IN THE MAKING B E A PA R T O F T H E M O S T E XC LU S I V E K N I T W E A R B R A N D F O R G E N E R AT I O N S A L I M I T E D N U M B E R O F R E TA I L L I S T I N G S A V A I L A B L E . T O E N Q U I R E A B O U T B E C O M I N G A N E X C L U S I V E S T O C K I S T, C A L L + 4 4 ( 0 ) 1 4 8 4 8 4 8 4 3 4 O R E M A I L I N F O R M AT I O N @ S L A I T H. C O. U K


PALLADIUM MARCHES ON IN STYLE French canvas footwear brand Palladium, which originally produced boots for the French Foreign Legion back in 1947, is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Tom Bottomley discovers what the future plans are from the label’s global marketing manager, Joe Khalifa. — To get its heritage message across in this, its 70th anniversary year, Palladium is launching an archive ‘Pop-up Museum’ concept for a/w 17. Travelling internationally and reaching London in September, the display will include a timeline of product, key stories and archive advertising campaigns dating all the way back to 1947. “We will also issue a special anniversary book that will feature key moments in the brand’s past as well as some insightful interviews,” reveals Palladium’s global marketing manager, Joe Khalifa. Furthermore, s/s 17 saw the reissue of Palladium’s L’Original Pampa Boot in all five original colourways as part of the 70th anniversary. It’s a pretty special boot that features all the original branding, design details and construction aspects. These styles will remain in the core heritage collection for future seasons. Palladium originally made the classic Pampa and Pallabrouse boots, a staple of the collection ever since their creation. Originally created to uniform the French Foreign Legion due to the lightweight canvas and durability of the rubber outsole, the boots were quickly adopted by adventurers and explorers, helping lay the foundations of Palladium becoming the lifestyle brand that it is today. These days the Palladium brand is owned by K-SWISS Global Brands, which also owns Supra, Krew Denim, K-SWISS and many more. However, Palladium has recently appointed a new brand president, one Christophe Mortemousque, who just happens to be the old owner of Palladium. Since his appointment, Mortemousque has moved all global operations to Lyon, France, Palladium’s birthplace. “This was a strategic move

to help Palladium build on its new contemporary identity while remaining true to its heritage,” says Khalifa. “Compared to last year, across all markets, we have seen a healthy increase on our wholesale business for a/w 17. France is a much bigger market for Palladium than the UK, but the gap is narrowing and this is important for the long-term strategy of the brand.” Khalifa points out that the UK has been and will always be a particularly significant market for Palladium. “We have experienced, and been at the forefront of many trends over the past few decades in the UK, and have worked hard to ensure we are considered as a must-have lifestyle brand among competitors.” The essence of this has been Palladium’s product and distribution strategy, in which they have ensured a segmentation of certain styles for core independent accounts and key accounts. At the heart of Palladium’s UK plans is a strategy to work with the key independents up and down the country. “We have always strived to work with quality independents and this will always remain a priority for the brand in continuing its growth in the UK,” says Khalifa. “Our new product strategy and segmentation has allowed us to target both types of distribution outlets within the UK, which is key to ensuring we remain commercially successful.” One commercial hit of recent times is the Desville style, Palladium’s latest ‘sneaker boot’. Khalifa says it has sold out pretty much everywhere and all feedback is showing a diverse consumer buying it, a good indicator for future unrealised styles as, for all the reissues of classic styles, product development is a key factor to attract new Palladium customers.

As part of the new a/w 17 design developments comes the ‘Elements’ line, Palladium’s technical category. “We continue to see huge growth on our technical products,” offers Khalifa. “Especially on our waterproof range which is part of the Elements family. The key style in this range is the Pampa Sport Cuff WPN.” The Elements category allows more resources to be dedicated to research and development, not only on new innovative waterproof styles, but also other technical features such as enhancing grip technology for special sole units, or cooling air flow features on uppers for s/s 18 styles – which will be shown to accounts soon. This category is a big commercial driver for the brand and for its wholesale accounts. “We are also wanting to open up a concept flagship store this year in the UK that will really showcase Palladium as the lifestyle brand we are,” says Khalifa. It’s a move that will help to drive its UK wholesale business too, as it can showcase the brand in all its glory. “The store will include not only our developed footwear product programme, but also our accessory and apparel range that we currently only sell in the APAC market. It’s an exciting step for the brand,” he adds. Another big development for s/s 18 and a/w 18 is a new collaboration with highly acclaimed designer Christopher Raeburn. “He is a master when it comes to sustainable fashion, and this is a really important concept for us going forward,” offers Khalifa. “With his expertise we will launch our first remade and recycled pack for s/s 18. They are pretty special, I have to say.” No doubt the French Foreign Legion would approve.


LONDON FASHION WEEK MEN’S Set to present a wealth of fashion-forward menswear designs for s/s 18, MWB profiles some of the latest signings to London Fashion Week Men’s. — MOCHA SALT


Mocha Salt was created with the intention to push boundaries of men’s swimwear by applying advanced technical fabrics and performance innovations to traditional tailoring and craftsmanship. Beginning life in Sydney in 2014, the brand is now sold in over 40 countries worldwide. Combining European style with the famous carefree Aussie flair, fabrics include Italian linen, Japanese technical cotton-nylon and Australian merino wool. —

Beau Homme is a menswear brand from London, founded in 2012 by design duo Justin Mansfield and George Bunker. Worn by the likes of musician Wretch 32, The Hurts and Years & Years, the brand blends “utilitarian military influence with an eccentric individualism.” This season sees a more refined collection, with hand knitted jumpers, tailored trousers and oversized jackets, alongside the introduction of Velcro fastenings and statement pockets and fastenings. —


DRIFTERS LDN p With its new collection, Drifters LDN captures the seamless blend between longevity and comfort of heavy usage apparel and clean simple styling. Silhouettes are formed largely of box shapes, while Velcro straps are present throughout for added convenience, with buckles and large utility pockets providing a durable, authentic feel. Each piece in the collection is individually crafted, with raw hems and silver buttons in a palette of neutral tones against flares of red, black, white and marbled graphics. —

Black Eye Rags’ latest collection draws inspiration from London’s early 80s club scene, fusing it with modern hardware and accessories. The brand has designed silhouettes to create a layered look, where slimmer longer and wider cropped lengths are juxtaposed, with loose fitting and oversizing to contrast shape and form. The play on Balloon fit cropped pleated pants combined with removable heavy zip braces, meanwhile, gives a unique silhouette and attitude to be worn with the brand’s batwing wide bodied shirting in long or short sleeve. —




TALKING BUSINESS The latest edition of Moda brought together some of the key industry experts across social media, e-commerce and in-store retail, who hosted a series of free, topical business workshops and seminars. MWB sums up some of the highlights. —





Music is as integral a part of your brand as your decor and logo. It’s a vital ingredient to your brand mix and can be the key to keeping staff motivated and customers spending. Big brands like Diesel, for instance, spend around £4m on their music a year to ensure that at every touchpoint where you are experiencing the brand, music will be planned. So for example, whether you are in the showroom on your buying appointment or in Selfridges on the Diesel mat, the music will be in line with brand message and image. Here are a few steps you can take to make music work best for you: Take control of your music Even though music is not a tangible physical thing, your customers are experiencing your brand through sound whether you like it or not. If you’re not in control of it, you’re missing a trick. Some retailers don’t think about it hard enough and just play mainstream chart music or a random selection. But doing this means you could end up sounding like everybody else on the high street. Retailers need to consider which music represents their brand and if it will be relevant to their audience. What is your offer? Are you a premium brand or store offering premium products? If so, the music you use should convey your high-end positioning, but you should also make sure the tempo is appropriate. Slower tempo music will relax people and encourage longer browsing, whereas fast music could stimulate people to move through the store quicker. ‘Day-parting’ your music selection Time of day is crucial to what music you play. For instance, you may want to start the day with gentle sounds and gradually grow in tempo as you get busier. There is a different atmosphere on a busy Saturday shopping day to a quiet Tuesday morning and your music should reflect and acknowledge that. Using music to customise atmosphere You want to create a welcoming atmosphere in-store and music plays a vital role in achieving this. Monitor the volume levels; assess how the music sounds. Investing in a decent quality sound system will help create a better atmosphere than cheap-sounding low quality speakers. Expanding your music selection Some stores allow staff to choose music, but this has its flaws, as they are likely to be selecting tracks based on their personal taste rather than music that evokes the essence of the brand. It’s also important to make sure the music is regularly updated whilst keeping it on-brand. Keeping the music fresh and relevant will be noticed by customers. —

You’re not going to get much attention on Instagram unless you have a winning profile. Here’s what you need to do: • Your Instagram handle should always tie in with your brand name and/or service. • When creating a business profile, your best bet is to use your company logo as the profile image. For a perfectly proportional square shape, the dimensions should be 180 by 180 pixels. • Always put your business web address in the URL section; there’s a good chance Instagram will block a shortened URL. Take measures to make sure traffic generated on Instagram goes right back to your blog or website. • The profile description should be kept short and original – you get just 150 characters to make an expression. Keep the buzzword business phrases aside, and rely on relevant keywords only. • Businesses do best on Instagram when they share well-crafted content that’s on-brand and driven by a clear objective. Tell your story through captivating images, videos and captions. • You’re going for consistency. If your audience can’t comfortably rely on you to post regularly, you’re not going to find many people willing to follow you on the off chance that you’re going to post something every now and then. Fortunately, you can schedule your content if you use a tool like Hootsuite or Later. • Instagram has more filters than you know; use them. • You can now upload 60-second videos to Instagram, so start creating longer stories about your business and products. • You can upload multiple videos to a post via Video Carousel. Try telling a story throughout the carousel. • Search via geo-location to find local posts to target more potential customers and friends. • Create a great story with multi-video clip editing. Break down larger videos into smaller, more digestible videos. • You can use and search emoji hashtags. • Ensure you’re using Instagram apps Boomerang and Hyperlapse to create more interesting content. —


NURTURING THE ONLINE CUSTOMER WARREN KNIGHT, THINK DIGITAL FIRST Internet users have grown by 82 per cent, or almost 1.7 billion people, since January 2012. More than 1.3 billion people started using social media – that’s a rise of 88 per cent in just five years, and equates to more than eight new users every second. More than 864 million people have started using social platforms via a mobile device in the past 24 months. According to estimates by Statista, the number of worldwide social media users has reached 1.96 billion and this is expected to grow to around 2.5 billion by 2018. The question is, what are you doing to stand out from the crowd in the fashion industry? The first step to a social media plan is NOT social media Entering the social media vortex without the understanding of a target customer is a very costly mistake. Regardless of whether you are selling B2C, or B2B in the fashion industry, defining your target customer is a crucial part of your journey, as is understanding the way you acquire this customer. Attract interest What are you doing to connect with your target audience to get them to engage with you, and draw them into your fashion business? Can you say in less than 30 seconds, or in fewer than 140 characters, who your business is and what you do as an online retailer? Lead magnet After you have understood your target customer, and defined your business, how are you capturing your leads? I use what is called a ‘lead magnet’ which could be a competition, a discount or a free trial of a product. Lead magnets are all about building brand awareness. The less you ask for, the more likely your potential customer will give. Nurture your leads Lead nurturing is all about developing a relationship with your community so that they can trust you as a business. On average, 50 per cent of your leads are not ready to buy from you because they have not been nurtured. Focus on listening to their needs, and fulfilling them. Converting leads When you are converting a lead, focus on one thing. Listen to your customer, use actionable keywords and know your niche within the fashion industry. Customer retention Did you know that businesses lose around 71 per cent of customers due to poor customer service? As a fashion brand or retailer, the success of your business online is about how you connect with customers. Give your customers what they want, and in return your business will thrive online. —

TRANSFORMING YOUR BUSINESS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA LAURA BROWN AND PETE ANDREWS, INTROTWEET Social media is social, so it’s time to get involved… Facebook Facebook is considered ‘the’ social media platform – for both the public and for businesses, both consumer and trade. From a business perspective, there are many tips and tricks for enhancing and showcasing your business to the world, including Facebook Advertising, Pages to Watch and the new Facebook Shop. With a little bit of time, effort, care (and money for advertising), Facebook for business can really transform your business and help you specifically target new customers all around the world. Twitter Twitter is a fantastic platform for fast-paced brand awareness, increased website traffic and opportunities to engage with your target audience. Its short messages are perfect for getting news and comments out as they happen. Hashtags work really well for increasing your Twitter engagement and getting in front of people who may not already know about you and your fantastic business. Another hidden gem is Twitter networking hours, for networking with local, like-minded business people, from the comfort of your own home. Instagram Sharing beautiful images of your products and insights into your business on Instagram really gives people the chance to learn about the face behind the brand. You can upgrade to a business profile, which gives you key business insights and stats for working out what people like on your page and which hashtags are working. Hashtags again offer you extended reach and by searching for industry buzzwords, you can find new people to engage with. Engage, engage, engage The key to any success is putting yourself out there and meeting new people. With social media, the hint is in the name: it’s a social channel, so ensure you are getting involved in conversations, tell people when you love their posts and make new connections. But try not to spread yourself too thinly – choose your key platforms and crack them before you embark on others. Create a content strategy for each week and stick to it, to ensure you’re sharing your news with the world and not missing opportunities when you’re busy. —


UNDER THE INFLUENCE Digital influencer has become a buzz term within the fashion industry of late, with ordinary people becoming seemingly more powerful than traditional celebrities in regards to promoting a product. MWB takes a look at five established and up-and-coming menswear influencers, all of whom have the power to attract thousands of social media ‘likes’ within minutes. —





David Evans is the man behind Grey Fox Blog, one of the most successful menswear blogs in the UK, whose profession away from the web was a teacher, and prior to that, a lawyer. After feeling a distinct lack of inspiration in terms of deciding what to wear as he entered middle age, Evans created a lighthearted view on dressing for the older man. It was after a five-page interview in the Times Magazine on a Saturday with Polly Vernon that Grey Fox started to really see traction. With a global audience, Evans posts up to five times a week showcasing his personal style – which has been described as quintessentially British – and has worked with brands such as Mr Porter, Private White VC, Hackett, Loake, Pantherella, Cheaney, Johnston’s of Elgin and Jigsaw to name a few. —

From a young age, Raja Sapra – the man behind I Am Sapra – has shown a strong flair for creativity, culture and fashion, leading to the organic transition of starting a blog. Expressing himself through his choice of clothes and style, Sapra lives by the motto of “do it with passion or not at all” – something that can be seen running throughout his popular menswear site. Currently studying economics at university, Sapra has partnered with established brands such as H&M and Duchamp London, and was elected at 16 as one of the youngest ambassadors for the organisation City Sikhs – the UK’s largest platform of Sikhs. Blending his traditional dress such as the turban with sharp tailoring and streetwear essentials, Sapra is fast becoming a face to watch on both a creative and business level. —








London based blogger Steve Booker launched his eponymous blog to showcase his love of fashion, design, photography, technology, people and the odd cup of expertly brewed coffee. With just under 200,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, Booker is known for his well puttogether outfits and creating wearable looks for the everyday guy. With travel diaries, as well as interviews with fellow YouTube creatives such as Will Darbyshire, exploring coffee shops the world over and monthly favourites, Booker has become a trusted voice with his legion of fans, especially in terms of music as he regularly shares his personal playlists for his readers to enjoy. Past collaborations have seen this digital influencer work with the likes of Barbour, Pandora, Boss Orange Watches and American Express. —

Founder of premium menswear label Hawkins & Shepherd which launched back in August 2013, Carl Thompson is certainly one to watch among online influencers. Working with brands such as ASOS, Topman, House of Fraser, Bluemint, Chester Barrie, Huntsman, Ralph Lauren and many more, Thompson has become a welcome addition to the menswear blogging scene with his smart approach to dressing. With tailoring being his key focus, the site creates the ideal destination for men looking for stylish workwear outfit ideas. Growing into a fully fledged lifestyle blog, spanning fashion, fitness, grooming, travel and interiors, Thompson has developed a strong social media following, including a growing YouTube channel which captures the audience with his warm, chatty approach to vlogging. —

With an Instagram following of over 36,000 followers and growing daily, it’s fair to say Tottenham born menswear blogger Joey London personifies the term digital influencer. Through his blog and social media channels – which have a combined following of over 70,000, Joey shares his love of fashion, travel, fitness and grooming. Originally beginning his creative journey on YouTube, Joey has perfected his personable tone of voice to inspire a younger, more trend-focused audience. Teaming up with brands such as Topman, TU for Sainsbury’s, HP, New Look and River Island, this blogger has mastered the art of creating stylish outfit inspiration on a modest income. It’s fair to say Joey London is one to watch over the next 12 months. —


COLLECTIVE The people, the places, the products.


SIMON SAYS I was lucky enough to be invited to the Olivier Awards a couple of weeks ago. This auspicious event celebrates success on stage, both in theatre and musicals. It’s a good excuse to get all dressed up and to linger as long as humanly possible on the red carpet in the forlorn hope of being papped and snapped. Unsurprisingly that didn’t happen, and I was asked to move on. There’s a lot of back slapping, tearful acceptances, and much clapping. I did try my Nicole Kidman happy walrus clap but it looked even more peculiar than when she attempted it. Maybe she just has an obscure repetitive strain injury from applauding at too many Oscars. I was struck by just how creative we are. The inventiveness and imagination of some the productions that were recognised was truly impressive. The Oliviers honours not just the shows themselves, and their creators, but also the back of house team; the often unrecognised people who actually make it happen. There, too, lies real creativity and imagination. Together these talented teams help to make British theatre world-class. It led to thinking about our own sector, and whether or not we are truly creative and original any more. It came in a week when Lord Wolfson, CEO of Next, posted like for like sales 5 per cent down and warned that we are in the age of ‘non stuff’. I’ve been banging on about the importance of the ‘experiential spend’ and when one of the smartest retailers of our times says something like that, then we really need to listen. Today I read that Debenhams’ new CEO, Sergio Bucher, has identified ‘the experience’ as key to the group’s turnaround strategy. But what does it mean? More handheld devices from sales staff; a coffee shop in one corner; a nail bar in the other? I think that what is needed is much greater theatre; big stores have the space for big things. Apple’s revamped Regent Street store is the closest to pure retail theatre at present; a vast beautiful vaulted space that you truly want to linger in. I believe that the tweaks and changes that the big retailers are talking about may just be too little too late. Be bold. Be theatrical. Amaze us. — Simon Carter is the CEO of the eponymous brand and retail stores

Boutique style hotel La Lanterne focuses on providing its guests with an authentic Parisian chic experience. Positioned in the heart of Paris’s Latin Quarter, between Notre Dame, the Panthéon and the Seine, the four-star hotel is in the perfect location for taking in the city’s most iconic and recognisable sights. Meanwhile, the hotel’s use of high quality fabrics, thick carpets, quilted plaids and wall coverings underlines an element of refinement throughout the hotel’s 27 rooms. A colour palette of taupe and grey features throughout the hotel, while satin and velvet cushions and curtains in bright hues work alongside artwork showcasing the Latin Quarter. The hotel offers unique space dedicated to relaxation and wellbeing with an indoor swimming pool, a hammam and a sensorial shower. Continuing with its theme of wellness, the hotel also boasts an indoor garden which provides a welcome relaxation space within the bustling 5th arrondissement. —



My plan B is still very much on the stove and could become reality as soon as I find some time to be left alone, all alone. — After having lived and worked in France for more than 15 years, I have been frustrated more than once with French service, or rather, the lack thereof. If I wasn’t so busy with RON DORFF, I’d love to go into hiding at my country house in Le Perche for a month or two and get down to finally writing ‘How to make (a lot of) money in France by simply being kind’. The book would include groundbreaking tips such as hanging up the phone when a client enters a store, avoiding answering every client question with ‘’Non, c’est pas possible!’’ and even just simply smiling at people here and there, even if they are neither rich nor famous. I guess I would have to go into exile once the book was published but, then again, that’s what a plan B is for. —


CLOSET CONFIDENTIAL ROGER STEPHENSON DEPUTY CHAIRMAN, LOCK & CO. HATTERS First up has to be my Gieves & Hawkes dark navy suit. It has that classic Savile Row elegance with a slightly more modern cut. Coupled with a plain white shirt and navy tie, I always feel very sharply dressed and it makes me walk a bit taller. My Lock & Co. Hatters Muirfield tweed cap is another wardrobe favourite. I have a few eight-piece caps, but this one really does it for me, as it’s so versatile. For the summer I’d also have to include my Lock & Co. Jive Panama hat. Every well-dressed man should have a Panama for the summer. I like this one as it’s less formal than some, and the brown band softens the look. It’s great when I’m kicking back on holiday in a loose linen shirt and shorts. When not in London, I tend to dress pretty casually. You can’t beat a worn-in pair of Levi’s and my favourite Triumph T-shirt. Throw a check shirt over the top and that’s my style. My children take the mickey out of me, as they tell me I haven’t changed my look in over 30 years. Another key piece is my Vanson leather jacket. I don’t only wear this jacket when riding my motorcycles, it’s just a great looking jacket for going out in, and I get a lot of compliments about it. It’s made from competition weight American hide. I’ve owned it for over 10 years and I’m still breaking it in. It gets better with age. In terms of footwear, I’d say my Red Wing ‘Iron Ranger’ boots. They’re based on 19thcentury iron workers’ boots, and they’re really strong, look great and will last forever. Also worthy of a mention is my Omega Speedmaster watch, which I bought as a wedding present to myself in 2004. I must also say I love my The Great Frog skull and crossbones cufflinks. My wife gave them to me for a 50th birthday present. I love them because it makes me feel like I still have a little bit of rebel left in me. —

TOP TWEETS De Montfort Uni DMU @dmuleicester Happy #StarWarsDay! #MayThe4thBeWithYou...#LoveDMU Harry Leslie Smith @Harryslaststand #princephilip may be retiring at 96 but you must never retire from democracy. So vote today in the local elections. #ge2017 innocent drinks @innocent It’s back #DogsAtPollingStations VICE UK @VICEUK Alien Is the Only Film Franchise That Doesn’t Suck JonestownCoffee @jonestowncoffee Trump wants a photo of his dodgy tan removed from the internet. Please do not share. Dan Hasby-Oliver @lsofd How to Waste a Lunch Break: Call @ AskHalifaxBank. After 5 departments & 36 minutes, I began to think; would crucifixion be more fun? Proper Magazine @ProperMag Today’s office chocolate choice: Turkish Delight. Munish Datta @MunishDatta M&S’s new brand philosophy urges customers to focus on what matters to them, their family & community #SpendItWell Donna Ida @donnaida Sitting in a waiting room listening to a couple who are discussing their friends loudly & frankly. This is the most fun I have had all week.






THE BOTTOMLEY LINE MWB deputy editor Tom Bottomley – our man on the inside of menswear.



SHOESHINE BOYS OF THE MODERN ERA Once a feature in every posh arcade in London, shoeshine boys – perfectionists in buffing up a gentleman’s Oxfords and brogues – are rarer to come across now than a bowler hat in the City itself. But keeping the tradition of fresh looking footwear alive, albeit in a more modern sense, comes Sneaker LAB, a company from South Africa that’s making waves in Europe and the US as the premium product to restore sneakers to their former box-fresh glory. Not only that, they are currently running a sneaker cleaning pop-up at Bergdorf Goodman in New York as part of the retailer’s ‘A Good Time at Goodman’s’ series. Billed as ‘luxury sneaker care product’, the Sneaker LAB offer features a new shoe protector with a long-lasting shield, and sneaker wipes to buff up your bad boys on the go. The products are also environmentally friendly, and 100 per cent biodegradable, so you can clean with a clear conscience. It surely won’t be long before the Sneaker LAB team roll up at a store in London to give a sneaker-cleaning masterclass, and sell a shedload of their products too, of course.

YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! It wouldn’t have passed John McEnroe’s court kit inspection back in the day, but it certainly has a tongue-in-cheek bit of fun to it, that’s for sure. As the summer tennis season kicks in, I’m talking, naturally, about the new Lacoste x Yazbukey collaboration collection, featuring sunglassesclad tennis ball emojis, or freaked-out tennis balls running away from Lacoste crocodiles – all a bit bonkers, really. Best known for its deep red ‘orgasm lips’ logo and playful pop references, cult Paris-based accessories designer brand Yazbukey has collaborated with other artists and designers in the past, including Diane Von Furstenberg, Italian furniture brand Altreforme and Japanese cosmetic brand Shu Uemura. This new capsule collection humorously combines its offbeat pop world with the tennis heritage of the crocodile brand. Available at Lacoste stores worldwide for men, women and children, with a leather accessories line included too, this sporty summer collection is complemented by a unisex white cap


on which a tennis ball is chased by three crocodiles. Yaz Kurhan, creator of Yazbukey, recently said in an interview about the collection: “It’s a dream come true. I’ve at last become the tennis champion I dreamt of being as a child. I played tennis a bit, not for very long, but I remember that the coach was so beautiful it completely prevented me from concentrating on the game.” Maybe she should try again and wear some of this new tennis kit – it might be she who is lacking in concentration this time around. But you just know the fashionistas are going to lap this line up.

LORD’S SARTORIAL CRACKDOWN IN FULL FORCE On another sporting tip, the spiritual home of cricket that is Lord’s, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) should really have no need to tell spectators how to dress. But the MCC recently felt the need to send a letter to its members telling them what ‘not to wear’ and showing them images of sartorial no-nos they will no longer stand for, including the old peacocks at Pitti’s favourite, shoes worn without socks.

The letter warned that members and their guests are expected to maintain an acceptable standard of dress while in the Members’ Friends’ Enclosures. It says that jackets are not required, but gentlemen much wear collared shirts at all times while in the stands. Shorts and trousers must be tailored, although, shock horror, denim is actually acceptable. Pictures to illustrate offending looks include a man wearing brogues and a blue suit, with his trouser leg hitched up to reveal a sockless, pale ankle. Another features a pair of camo combat shorts, and cargo-style trousers are also not good enough. This is apparently not the first time the MCC has warned its members not to let their standards slip. Five years ago, it issued clothing guidelines following a similar move by Ascot. The letter goes on to say that the minimum standard to enter the Members’ Friends’ Enclosures is ‘smart casual’ for both sexes, and that anyone sporting such crimes against fashion as aforementioned will be refused entry. Now we just await a cricket loving rapper, or an A-list actor, to rock up at Lords with their ‘friend’ who’s a member, wearing something completely inappropriate, to put these new dress code laws to the test.







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LAST ORDERS WITH... KIERON WATTS AND STEPHEN KELLY Launching personal styling website MenStyled at the end of last year, Kieron Watts and Stephen Kelly speak to Victoria Jackson about how they are successfully mixing the one-onone service of a traditional bricks and mortar offering with the responsive technology of online. — Where did the idea of MenStyled originate? SK: While it’s great so many guys spend so long online, we really wanted to put the ‘personal’ back into personal shopping. We want to get to know our clients personally to really help identify their needs. I was approached one summer by loads of different guys via Facebook asking for help and advice for their wedding suit and when helping realised how little they knew. I knew that Kieron and I could offer our expertise and educate guys while helping them feel more confident in what they wear and how to shop. KW: As the menswear personal styling market is growing, we saw a need for a service that mixes current technology in the form of online consultations, inspirational social media content and traditional face to face personal styling and personal shopping with myself and Stephen. How well does a personal styling service work online? KW: Some guys simply don’t have time to shop and don’t necessarily know what they are looking for and how to put stylish looks together. We have been in working in the industry for 10 years; along the way we have observed and are still observing how gents shop, dress and approach style on a daily basis. We do know that guys want to look great without all the confusion; explaining and offering styling tips in a clear and concise way is where MenStyled comes in. SK: I agree; styling can work well online in this new digital age, but we also think that all this living online means people are losing that personal touch and are often just fed algorithm suggestions from a computer without anyone taking the time to get to know them and understand their specific needs. We wanted to change that, and offer truly bespoke experiences to our clients, tailored to them personally. Who is your average customer? KW: Our average customer is aged 25-45 and based in London; our clients are looking for a quick and knowledgeable styling advice of stores to shop in. SK: As Kieron has mentioned, at present they are guys that work a lot and their free time is precious so they don’t have or don’t want to waste time shopping but still want to look great. We also have clients that are a bit older and more assured in what they wear but are looking for new brands or want a slight change in style or direction.

What challenges have you faced launching the service? KW: We faced the challenge of getting the aesthetic of the website and mobile just right at this stage of MenStyled, to ensure our online visual represented what we want to do as a company. SK: Starting a company is always a slow process and we’re currently working to raise our profile and gain new clients. Getting the word out there about who we are and what we do is a slow but key thing for us, along with getting our work to the guys that are after our services, even if they’re not yet aware of it. Where do you look to for inspiration? KW: We both attend fashion industry events together such as London Fashion Week Men’s to see selected shows and to also connect with showroom brands that we feel are right for MenStyled. We still find inspiration from street style globally. I also like to attend exhibitions on menswear, fashion, art, design and photography. The most recent one was the Malick Sidibé one which was so stylish, great photography and style. SK: I like to travel and take a lot of inspiration from that, as well as classic movies and art. I also like researching different sub-cultures and the energy they had as well as a sense of unity within the ‘gang’ of their subculture. Platforms like

Date of birth: KW: 05/04/81 SK: 28/09/85 Place of birth: KW: Birmingham SK: Wolverhampton Live: London Website: Instagram and Pinterest are also great for inspiration as you can find really niche looks and designs from all over the globe. Whether it’s The Sapeurs or a new rap movement in LA, energy and different people’s perspective always inspires. What’s next for MenStyled? Would you ever look into launch a WomenStyled counterpart for example? KW: We only launched MenStyled at the end of last year so we are currently focused on developing the business. We have already spoken about a women’s version of the site. This is a definite possibility for in the future. SK: As Kieron mentioned, we’re walking before we can run but it’s a definite possibility as the business grows. We have already linked up with some womenswear stylists to assist a bride whose groom used our Wedding Service and both the bride and groom wanted the service so we always adapt to cater to anyone. At the moment it’s more specifically aimed at guys but we’ll never turn away a request or idea.

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