The Hotel Culture

Jamie Ferguson, Drake’s London

 “I love seeing different brands come to together and produce something that actually works.” Jamie Ferguson, Drake’s London

Jamie is the Online Editor for Drake’s London. Founded in 1977 by Michael Drake, the original Drake’s collection was comprised of men’s quality scarves. A range of English handmade ties and pocket squares quickly followed, which swiftly became the ‘heart and soul’ of the business. Over the years the company has won prestigious accolades for design and export achievement, including the Queen’s Award for Outstanding Export Achievement.

THC: What inspires you?

Jamie: I got into menswear through getting into photography, especially street style photography like early The Sartorialist work. I love seeing a different side to the way men dress, one that you wouldn’t see all the time. I really enjoy helping guys dress well. I certainly think with the products here at Drake’s, we’re able to do that and more. I’m inspired by seeing well dressed men, we just got back from Pitti Uomo 86 in Florence and there you’re exposed to lots of different cultures and styles. The Japanese, American and Scandinavian style is amazing. It really get’s you thinking about your own sense of dress from a completely different perspective.

THC: How did you get into your business?

Jamie: There has always been this underlying interest in menswear throughout my whole life. Wanting to dress well has always been important to me and I suppose, subconsciously, this has steered my career path. The boom in the menswear industry in the last decade has been great for brands, like Drake’s, who are focussing on quality and craftsmanship, where an item is made, what it is made from and how it is made, rather than simply mass-producing stuff. I was interning for various menswear companies for a year and worked within a range of disciplines from fashion agencies, trend forecasting agencies, and street style photography. In the back of my mind I had always wanted to work for a British company who’s product I believed in and would wear myself and I’m very lucky to have been given that opportunity at Drake’s.

THC: What are you working on right now?

Jamie: We’ve just come back from Pitti Uomo, so right now we’re jumping into our SS15 selling season. We had a good showing at Pitti, which was great and in July our creative director Michael Hill and sales manager Juan Rivero Bosch are off to New York and they’ll be doing MRket there and visiting all our major stockists. Our designers are focusing on Autumn/ Winter 2015. At the moment we are also pushing our shirts, Cleeve of London. In April of last year we bought a shirting factory in Somerset and we’re excited to be introducing that into the Drake’s range. We’re instilling our ethos and manufacturing principles that we expect from our ties into our shirts. Alongside the Ready-to-Wear, we’ve just launched our made to order and bespoke shirting programs.

THC: How do you see your space evolving?

Jamie: We’ve certainly had a lot of evolution in the last year or so. We opened the Clifford Street store in Mayfair around 3 years ago, and prior to that we had the online shop. The store has allowed us to evolve the Drake’s look by adding in tailoring and knitwear. We also just moved into our new home in Haberdasher Street last year.  So a lot of sudden growth for us and we’re still relatively new as retailers. So it’d be nice if things settled down a bit!

THC: Who is your hero/ icon?

Jamie: I’m always been fascinated by the way that the Japanese dress. A couple of the gentlemen from United Arrows, Mr. Kurino and Yasuto Camoshita, who is now Creative Director of his own brand. They’ve taken this Americana ivy-league prep thing and given it a twist, and refined it. Whenever you see a photograph of them, they’re looking sharp.

THC: What is your favourite spot around the world?

Jamie: I feel very lucky to be in London, a city where you feel comfortable, and you can dress how you like. My parents are originally from Edinburgh and Belfast, I went to University in Scotland, and I was born and raised in Canada, till I was 15. When I came to London, I started to slowly realise that you could play around with style much more easily than you could than in a small town in Scotland!

THC: What is your favourite injection of culture into a brand?

Jamie: There’s a company up in Scotland who do outerwear called Hancock VA. They’ve collaborated with Converse and their Chuck Taylors; the hightop sneaker with a vulcanised rubber toe. It really needs to be seen in the flesh! It’s the marriage of something iconic with modern design, beautiful craftsmanship, functionality and it looks amazing. I love seeing different brands come to together and produce something that actually works! Especially brands from different parts of the world.