Jeremy Hackett talks luxury, slow style, Savile Row and new eyewear
“Luxury is an incredibly over-used word,” said Jeremy Hackett as he introduced his new limited edition, ultra-high-end Signature eyewear range in London last week. Launching as part of his overall eyewear deal with Mondottica, it was an opportunity to also talk about the wider business.
And there was a lot to say for a company that has been penetrating even deeper into the ultra-luxe segment of the market lately following the opening of its townhouse location at 14 Savile Row last year.
That opening has seen a number of product launches, such as the fragrance collaboration with D.R. Harris (the historic London perfumery’s first-ever collab) that resulted in the No 14 scent.
The new Signature eyewear is also linked to the opening. Retailing at higher price points (around £250) than the Bespoke collection (£185) and the London line (£125), it offers sunglasses and optical frames that complement the very exclusive aura around Savile Row. With a more classic style approach, the individual pieces come as limited editions with each having a production run of 300.
“We've launched this new range because we opened in Savile Row, and because Savile Row is our top range we felt that we needed to reflect our glasses in the same way,” the brand’s founder and still its chief visionary told Fashionnetwork.com. “We’ve used the best Japanese acetate, we’ve used titanium on some of them, and all the glasses have Zeiss lenses. Everything’s been upgraded from our standard Hackett London range. It’s called the Signature range and they all come with my ‘signature’, inspired by my cufflinks. It’s very English and inspired by a nod to the 1960s. Think of Michael Caine, or the sort of glasses you might see Bill Nighy wearing!”
The launch completes the eyewear offer for the overall Hackett business that ranges from upscale ready-to-wear, to personal tailoring (which mixes RTW with personalised elements) and the fully bespoke offer at 14 Savile Row. It’s an interesting mix that never deviates from high-end, even at its lowest price points,
And since the opening on Savile Row last November — in the building that once housed the Hardy Amies couture operation — Hackett as a whole has been anchored even more securely at the heart of the ultra-luxury sector (sorry for using the L-word Jeremy).
So how has it been going? “Savile Row has got off to a really good start,” Hackett said, adding that it’s reaching women as well as men. “When we opened, within two hours the first two customers were ladies. We made them bespoke jackets”.
With its mixture of the very traditional and touches that reflect the highest standards of the modern luxury sector, the location seems likely to appeal to the wide international shopper base that visits London. And Hackett (the man) did say that overall, Hackett (the label) does have a strong international business.
Apart from the UK, Spain is its biggest market and it also goes down well in a number of other key countries. “It’s countries where they appreciate the Britishness of Hackett so France, Germany, Spain, Scandinavia, a little bit in America, and Japan especially, where they really appreciate the whole British style. There aren't many brands that do it the way we do it. It's British, but it's not old-fashioned and it's got a little bit of fun to it as well, a bit of mild eccentricity!”
But he knows that building up this very-high-end part of the business will take time. “The whole thing with bespoke is that it doesn't happen overnight,” he explained, although he’s brimming with confidence and feels the location has some key USPs. “We've got a great cutter, we’ve got a beautiful lounge where we're going to have events. We've got one coming up fairly soon, the campaign for wool. I might have a photography evening, a cigar evening, definitely a drinks evening and all sorts of different things — maybe book launches, something to bring people in other than just trying to sell them something”.
And what about that word ‘luxury’? As already mentioned, he insisted that the word is "incredibly overused,” adding, “and for me true luxury — I call it a necessity really — is bespoke. Also people talk about sustainability, well, bespoke clothing is sustainable. You have it made, you don't just wear it for a season and buy something new”.
It’s the antithesis of the fast-fashion movement that seems to be falling out of favour, despite having dominated the last 20 years. “I think fast fashion is slowing down. How can you keep selling stuff?” he asked.
So are we heading for an era of slower fashion? Jeremy Hackett thinks we are, although he prefers to call it “slow style”. And slow style is crucial when dealing with the kind of affluent, mainly male customers that 14 Savile Row and the new Signature eyewear are aimed at.
“Slow style…that works for men a lot, they like to invest in their clothes. It's like when they go to order a car they're interested in all the details, it's the same with having a suit made, what sort of buttons, what sort of lining, what sort of styling. Men enjoy that and I know I do,” he said with a smile.
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