Nigel Cabourn and Fred Perry are two monumental names in British Menswear, both share great similarities in that they always stay true to their design principles, have never been swayed by the fads and passing trends of Fashion and both share a passion for Sport. Perry’s is a more obvious one, with his heritage deeply entrenched in tennis, but Cabourn too finds great inspiration in Sporting attire.
Premium menswear retailer, Woodhouse Clothing has been selected as one of 10 limited retailers who are housing the exclusive Nigel Cabourn for Fred Perry SS15 collection which is inspired by table tennis. The 12 piece collection which comprises of polo shirts, shorts and lightweight jackets.
Gavin Crossland, head of buying at Woodhouse said “We’re delighted that Woodhouse has been chosen to sell the Nigel Cabourn collection for spring/summer 2015. The collection is steeped in heritage and ticks all the right boxes for our consumer. As we head towards our 40th anniversary this year, it cements our position in offering exclusive brand collections.”
We were lucky enough to be invited to Nigel Cabourn’s Army Gym concept store in Covent Garden to talk with the man himself about the collection.
Can you explain a bit about this collection and the thinking behind it?
This particular project is really about Fred himself. Obviously when you do a collaboration, from my point of view, it should be 50/50. I have a big interest in table tennis anyway, I was a young kid in the ‘50s and table tennis was quite a big sport then and that’s when Fred Perry began his clothing range.
When the team at Fred Perry came to me and asked would I work with them I immediately said I’d be interested but I wanted to focus on Fred because he was world champion in table tennis in 1929. They sort of dropped their jaws a little bit because I’m not sure how aware they were of that – everyone thinks of him as a Wimbledon Champion before anything else.
I said if we can do the collaboration on table tennis then we’ll do it, so basically this is a combination of my love of Ping-Pong as a kid and the fact that was where Fred really began.
Do you still play?
Oh yeah! I play a lot, I’ve got my own table and up until recently I was probably playing 4 or 5 times a week. I’m very much into keep fit but unfortunately I can’t do everything, I’m doing a lot more boxing and army training at the moment but table tennis is really good for your mind and quick thinking.
What’s your favourite item from the collection?
The Sweat Suit is definitely my favourite, it’s basically what Fred Perry were making around 1954 and in 54/55 as a kid I was wearing that same tracksuit bottom with the over the head half zip top which was actually a football kit of the day.
I love the full suit, you’ll see from my Instagram that I’ve been wearing it a lot. I’ve been using it for everything from riding my fat bike to boxing and playing tennis, it’s great.
Can you describe the collection in a few words?
It’s based on table tennis, it’s inspired by table tennis and it’s really what Fred Perry were specialising in from 1952. The collection is true to that and uses all of the original fabrics from the early 50’s as well as the original branding from the laurel wreath to the back neck label. It epitomises Fred Perry at the beginning.
Can we expect any more Fred Perry x Cabourn in the future?
Well this is the first one, I’ve designed two more since then so we’ve got three collections coming out in the next 18 months and I’m pretty sure we’ll be doing another one, so it’s going to be a two year collaboration.
The next one is based on Fred training with the Arsenal football team in 1936, which again, not a lot of people know about. When he was a tennis player challenging at Wimbledon during the height of his success in tennis he was also at the training ground with Arsenal.
The next collection is heavily focused on that. It’s really cool, there’s roll neck sweaters like the old goalkeepers wore mixed in with sweat pants and tops.
Fred Perry have got such a good following and the great thing about this project is it’s a very natural one for me as you can see, you can’t just make that stuff up.
It’s a big part my heritage as well, I’m 65 for god sake and my brand is already 45 years old, Fred Perry is about 60 odd years old too. I knew a lot about this and it looks great.