OK we aren’t going to ignore the elephant in the room and we all know, not just, Debenhams aren’t doing so well on the High Street at the moment. However, this isn’t something that is overpowering Debenhams and they are coming out fighting. One such example is their latest initiative, Daniel Rynne is the the first ‘pop up’ menswear designer to be added to their portfolio for Autumn Winter 2018, demonstrating the brand’s continued support for design talent.

Rynne, winner of the Menswear Award at Graduate Fashion Week 2017, has worked an internship with the department store’s menswear design team for the past year and has successfully translated his graduate collection into a commercial line for Debenhams.

Originally from Salisbury, Wiltshire, Rynne studied Fashion at The Arts University, Bournemouth. His graduate collection, inspired by Dorothea Lange and her imagery of the great depression in 1930’s rural America, saw Rynne reimagine authentic menswear silhouettes into a contemporary catwalk collection.

Launching later this month, Rynne presents a contemporary take on classicmenswear silhouettes; creating a limited edition range that offers the perfect balance of cutting-edge street style and affordable luxury.

Key pieces include a deconstructed parka with an integral gilet, wide-fit tapered chinos, band collar shirts and baker boy caps. The range combines utilitarian fabrics in neutral sand and khaki tones with meticulous attention to detail seen through the use of fastenings, garment washes, reversed fabric bases and coated hand-dyed fabrics to give a modern twist on the traditional workwear inspired garments.

A collaboration with traditional British shoemaker brand, Loake sees Rynne’s handwriting carried through to footwear with mismatch panelled leather brogues and boots.

On collaborating with Debenhams Daniel Rynne says, “I am beyond thrilled to have worked on a collection that is so integral to my original graduation show. I have learnt an enormous amount from the process and to have a range in a high street store bearing my name, considering I just graduated last summer is amazing.”

Collaborations of this nature come about for all sorts of reasons, meeting at parties, sharing the same PR agency or in this case, it started with a shared passion and through this came an invitation from, Anthony Thompson, the Chief Executive of FatFace to Cathal Mcateer, founder of FOLK, to work together to create something special.

So, with almost 50 years of combined menswear design experience they produced a collection of exceptional clothes, designed exclusively in Britain. Crafted to the highest quality – as is fair to say, synonymous with both brands – and featuring unique fabrics, details and touches; each piece is an easy to wear, modern essential, aligned closely and staying true to FOLK’s style, that’ll become an instant favourite and instant favourites in your Winter Wardrobe.

For over 30 years now, British brand FatFace has designed and created contemporary, stylish clothes. They’re crafted with unique details, to the highest quality. For work, for chilling, for play. For every day.

Similarly, since 2002, the equally British brand, Folk has designed and crafted simple, quality clothes. Their contemporary style doesn’t follow trends; instead it focuses on timeless pieces, made using unique fabrics and featuring special touches. The same approach has been taken when designing this collection, with fastidious attention to detail, from the placement of buttons to the colour of thread used. Colour is used sparingly, with accents of claret adding warmth to an otherwise neutral palette.

Manbags evolve a huge amount of discourse and discussion by gentleman. Strong feelings from both sides are felt, of Marmite proportions. Some guys feel positively naked without their manbags whereas other wouldn’t be seen dead with one and hold them in such low esteem and hatred. 

Nonetheless, on our eternal search for ways and elements to make your life easy, we might well have come across a what we think is the ultimate in versatile manbags. My Lords, fellas and gentlemen can I kindly introduce you to the Travel True Bag by Clarks and why pray tell do you feel this is the ultimate in Manbag attire. 

OK so here goes, this oversized tote can be carried by hand or worn over the shoulder thanks to the durable webbing handles with a comfy material in the middle, ideal for offering protection to your work files and laptop. It comes in a choice of either a rather conservative grey for those wanting it to go with everything and every occasion from work to play. Then for the more adventurous out there the Travel True bag comes in a Khaki camouflage print, sure to make a mature stylish statement. The camouflage woven jacquard adds interest while the rubberised nylon base helps with wear and an inside zip pocket allows for organisation of your essentials. If that wasn’t enough, the bag is sizeable enough to cater for every occasion from the everyday commute to jetting off for a holiday. Lastly, you get all this for a jaw dropping £35 and assured the quality you are assured of with the Great British brand Clarks. 

But if a leftfield partnership for the subject of today’s post. Quintessential British menswear house Hackett have teamed up with iconic Swiss timepiece brand Swatch. 

The Swatch x Hackett Sistem51, has been designed and crafted by Swatch in collaboration with Jeremy Hackett to create an essential gentleman’s accessory. Only 1,983 watches have been produced paying perfect homage to the birth year of both brands, 1983.  Sistem51, is a mechanical watch for everyone. It’s made not by hand, but on a fully-automated assembly line.

A tough leather strap is gently hugged by brown and green leather loops which form the letter ‘H’ as well as holding a fierce brushed stainless steel buckle. Jeremy Hackett’s Sussex Spaniel, Muffin, is the star of the sun- brushed green dial with the date window and superluminova hands. The brushed stainless steel case has an engraved bezel, filled in light green.

Jeremy Hackett, Founder and Chairman of Hackett London comments: “Watch this space! I am absolutely thrilled to be collaborating with Swatch to create an exclusive Hackett design for the limited edition range”

Do we need another area dedicated to worshipping at the alter of consumerism ? That is the big or bigger question, but nonetheless Coal Drop Yard, the new lifestyle and recreational area in the heart of what was once the main delivery spot into London of goods of every notion and concoction you can imagine.

Designed by Thomas Heatherwick and his design studio, who’s past projects include the British pavilion for the Shanghai Expo 2010 (“The hairy design,” he calls it, referring to its 60,000 swaying optical rods); the Bombay Sapphire Distillery in Hampshire; the revamped London Routemaster double-decker bus.

But what is Coal Drop Yard’s USP ? Well, whatever it is, it’s got tongues wagging and a buzz louder than a swamp of bees around the proverbial pot of honey. Essentially, you don’t have any of your traditional big name retailers that you normally associate with the launch of a shopping concept of this nature, no M&S, no House of Fraser, no Debenhams and certainly no Primark as your cornerstone, flagship retailers. This area has brands, honestly, falling over themselves to take retail premises in this former pair of Victorian sheds on the edge of the canal site that were once used for the storage and distribution of coal around London. Already you have the likes of Universal Works, Wolf & Badger, Tom Dixon, Paul Smith, Rains, Christopher Raeburn, Fred Perry and Lavenham all occupying units and then COS, AESOP, Finisterre all about to! Kings Cross is set to become one of London’s most unique shopping destinations,

However, the brand we are concentrating on through today’s post is the Great British shoes brand Joseph Cheaney. With a concept that is sympathetic to both the brand and London’s latest new shopping district’s history. The distinctive brick viaducts with their cast iron columns, have now been reimagined with a contemporary design with the industrial heritage of the existing Victorian structures to create a dynamic and vibrant retail destination.

Cheaney is a brand with craftsmanship and heritage at its heart. Their shoes are fully handcrafted in England, in the same Northamptonshire factory where they have been hand-making shoes since 1886. Like Coal Drops Yard, Cheaney has undergone a similar reimagination; whilst they still make traditional footwear ranges, these are complemented by their contemporary designs which seamlessly fit into their collection. In turn the brand’s new store concept, also follows the architectural vision, with the area’s architect, Thomas Heatherwick suggests “merges the language of the old and the new”.

Collections are presented in the centre of the store, on a large ‘cutting’ table reminiscent of those found in Cheaney’s Northamptonshire factory. Celebrating the art and craft of shoemaking, the table features silhouettes of the shoemaker’s tools and shoe patterns, which have been carefully cut out of the thick inky blue felt, revealing rich, burnished Cheaney leathers beneath. The language is echoed in a playful Airfix style ‘kit of parts’ installation, located behind the perimeter display, which features the many components that go into making a single pair of Cheaney shoes.
Drawing the attention of customers and passers-by, the central table is also host to a ‘polishing station’ where Cheaney’s staff ‘finger polish’ customers’ shoes to achieve the perfect mirror-shine. The polishing station provides some in-store theatre, whilst promoting the importance of shoe care and the complimentary service Cheaney offer their customers.

At the back of the store, customers can metaphorically meet Joseph Cheaney in person, as a large portrait of the founder presides over the store, some 232 years after he set up the company. In this generous space, furnished with a full length mirror, customers can try on footwear and browse the display of belts and shoe-care accessories presented in pigeonholes above the cash-desk and below the central table.

While the store appears effortless, every detail is considered; from the bonded shelves reminiscent of the layering of materials that can be seen in Cheaney’s Goodyear welted shoe construction to the deep pile carpet which gives a sense of luxury when trying on shoes; and the thick felt upon which Cheaney’s footwear is displayed, that not only creates cosy, aesthetically pleasing surface that protects the leather soles – it’s also an innovative material made from recycled PTF bottles, which once again, like the Coal Drops Yard and like Cheaney, gives the sense of something traditional, done in a new way.