No don’t worry, I know there are times my spelling and grammar leave a lot to be desired, but its OK put the red marking pen away, on this occasion. Today’s subject is , Martin Franklin, the man behind the, relatively, new brand Foxhall London, although only founded in 2010 after seeing a gap in the market for a new kind of British menswear targeted to 30-45 year old guys living a modern metropolitan life. And so Foxhall was developed to offer these men an edited contemporary wardrobe, with a full category offering, covering contemporary tailoring through to technical urban outerwear and wardrobe essential items such as selvedge denim, great T-shirts, fitted shirting, classic knitwear and robust, stylish accessories.
Inspired by sports and outdoors brands, functional details with consideration for urban life were considered and incorporated into key outerwear items. The collection has developed a sharp tailored look, and designed to be easy to understand and wear – items that form the foundation of a modern man’s wardrobe.
The name FOXHALL comes from the London Borough of Vauxhall and is probably best explained by Franklin himself, “It’s a much earlier spelling of Vauxhall, the area of London that is amazingly not famous for the spectacular Pleasure Gardens found there for 250 years from the 17th to 19th centuries. Having lived in the area for quite a few years, I learnt more about them and they were an amazing centre of urban recreation – with spectacular energy, a diversity of people, a certain hedonism – everything that makes London such a great city today. I realised 350 years on not much has changed, and because Foxhall celebrates London’s urban fabric, I thought the Pleasure Gardens were a great inspiration for the brand story”.
For Summer 2013, the brand’s collection continues on its tip of offering contemporary ready to wear and accessories in the brand’s signature style. Key developments include summer separates; creating iconic staple designs which will continually evolve with the seasons to provide trademark capsule collections.
Inspired by the various pursuits of the urban lifestyle, each design is created with attention to detail providing form and function in equal measure. Consideration towards transitional design is encompassed within the collection, creating an easy to wear day to night wardrobe. Trends include the development of light outerwear, the Wren ¾ length raincoat and Catesby technical blazer are offered in performance Teflon-coated cotton, whilst high summer sees the introduction of style essentials: jersey shorts, pure cotton fitted vests and the new utility cargo shorts.
The first store opened at 20 Earlham St, Seven Dials Covent Garden, in August 2012 with the Autumn/Winter 2012 Collection. The webstore, foxhalllondon.com, opened for business in October, and ships Foxhall merchandise globally. Anyway enough of me, what has he got to say;
In your words, describe the collection? What was the inspiration for it? What are the key pieces in it?
It’s the complete urban wardrobe. The inspiration behind the label was the plain navy crewneck T – I didn’t know where to find a good one that was neither £20 nor £80 – rather somewhere in-between. I asked all my friends and they didn’t know either. I developed the idea and realised that menswear was missing a contemporary mid-price brand focusing on beautifully made wardrobe essentials fitted to a lean, body-conscious silhouette. The key pieces in our SS13 collection are the Catesby Technical Blazer – it’s a style you won’t find anywhere else, it uses technical Teflon-coated cotton with sealed-seams so it weathers wind and rain well, and it has a great sleek look that can dress smart or casual. Then the Mayhew Light – a half-lined tailored cotton jacket, which is a perfect summer weight, which can be paired with the Symes tailored smart short – to make a very elegant summer short suit. And finally the Bentham Light hooded cotton zip-through – a fitted, lightweight summer top in great colours that will be a comfortable holiday essential. Those three themes comprise the Foxhall collection essentially – Urban Technical wear, Sleek Tailoring and luxe Jerseywear. The urban wardrobe covered.
If you could collaborate with one brand (Who you currently aren’t) who would it be and why?
We’re into our second season and feel confident each design has been thoroughly considered. We are definitely keen to introduce, longer term, brand extensions including footwear, eyewear, technical sportswear etc. and will want to collaborate with the leading companies in their field. It’s more about working with these experts than specific brands but we’re definitely keen to align with these longer term.
Favourite hotel in the world?
Tough choice – probably between the Sukothai in Bangkok, the Raffles in Phnom Penh or the Oberoi in Agra. Hotels that stand out need an exotic location, a concierge who can read you perfectly, a bar with its own atmosphere, a no-holds-barred breakfast and a pool area that feels like an event in itself – and each of those hotels delivers in all areas.
If you could live anywhere where would it be & Why ?
London is unquestionably top of the list. After arriving back from anywhere in the world, London is always a good place to land and call home. It’s the capital of the world for almost everything that’s important to me.
How did you get into the industry, what was your big break?
I got into the industry because I decided to leave Procter&Gamble. I had learnt how to build a brand, and wanted to build my own. I saw the gap in the menswear market based on my own shopping experience, and felt that would be a good place to start. My big break, I think any entrepreneur would agree, was when my investors confirmed their interest in being involved with the project and the first day of the store opening was equally momentous– that’s when it became real.
What do you have to do after this conversation?
Finish the financial projections for our next 2-year business plan. But, given it’s such a spectacular sunny day in London and they’re never to be taken for granted, I would like to be meeting a few people for long cocktails somewhere outside and park like.
What piece of clothing would you relegate to Room 101 ?
The chunky collegiate graphic hoodie. It’s been so remorselessly imitated and cheapened a thousand different ways.
What piece of clothing should everyman have in his wardrobe?
At least 3 good white shirts – in smart, casual and summer variations. When it’s a quality piece it makes anything you wear with it look sharp. I have around 15 in my wardrobe but it’s the Foxhall ones that I wear the most now.
What piece of style advice do you live by?
Buy expensive shoes. Never gone wrong with that.
Who is your style icon ? Why?
Probably Vidal Sassoon. He was so elegant in what we wore, and always dressed so effortlessly appropriately – I remember meeting with him on P&G Sassoon business on a cool-ish November morning in LA and he had just come from the gym and he looked so urbane – a fitted taupe leather biker, casual shirt and jeans – expensive and elegant but understated and casual – like he had made an effort, but not a big effort – as though it happened quite naturally, which for him I suppose it did. For me that’s the best kind of style.
Tell us something no one else knows?
My first-ever fashion week experiences were in 2001 in London and New York when Sassoon was still a big sponsor. I was really nervous about what to wear and what would be considered fashionable enough for fashion week. After much deliberation I just went for black from head to toe, and it totally worked. It didn’t stand out or make a bold statement but it worked, and I felt confidently a part of everything. That was the useful lesson that fashion week taught me.
FOXHALL LONDON SUMMER 2013 COLLECTION