The urban squire
by David Hayes
FT.com, 18 March 2011
There is a new breed of smart young man around London’s Square Mile. He’s identifiable via his perfectly turned-out suit, pristine shirt and tie, polished brogues and briefcase, all topped off with a coat more suited for a weekend trudging through a muddy field than the short walk from Monument Underground station to the office.
You know the kind of thing; those quilted nylon jackets in navy, mud brown or olive green with their neat corduroy collars and brass popper fastenings – jackets, that not so very long ago, were the sole preserve of Sloane Rangers
Just when did the country look – and in particular that essential signifier of 1980s Sloane Ranger style, the quilted jacket – get so cool? “‘Heritage’ became a strong theme in men’s wear a few seasons ago and is still going strong this spring,” says Sam Lobban, a buyer of contemporary brands at Selfridges. “We have seen a desire for products and brands that evoke quality, tradition and integrity – brands such as Barbour, Lavenham and Hunter. These successful ‘heritage’ brands are also the ones that have tweaked their products to accommodate the more fashion-focused markets. Lavenham in particular has done this extremely well and has found itself at the forefront of the trend.”
“It’s shower-proof and warm but not too bulky on the train for my daily commute,” says one Suffolk-based City broker of his Lavenham quilted jacket. “The brand name caught my eye in Selfridges as Lavenham village is not far from where I live. And it looks a whole lot smarter for the office than my old North Face anorak.”
“There is a real feeling of British euphoria building, with the success of The King’s Speech and the global excitement for the royal wedding. The timing was right to make a piece that would reflect the Lotus brand’s particularly British history, and the quilted jacket felt like a perfect fit.”
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