Our feet are set to be exceptionally well dressed this season with thanks to our favourite French sock suppliers, Bonne Maison.
This is the brand that has taken sock making to the next level, each season presenting a series of brilliantly inspired and whimsical designs that are produced to the highest of standards; using the best quality Egyptian cotton, spun in Italy and dyed to Bonne Maison’s exacting colour palettes; then manufactured in France, double thread knitted for optimal strength using fine gauge machines which allow them to accurately reproduce the intricate patterns. All of it resulting in by far the most beautiful socks we ever did sport.
For A/W'17 we’ve got monkeys, peacocks, trails of flowers, abstract waves and bold block camo in super lovely colours. Forget the hats and scarves people, accessory of the season right here.
Steeped in denim history, MiH has always been somewhat retrospective in its approach, often recalling its 70s heritage in its collections. (Founder Chloe Lonsdale is daughter of Tony Lonsdale, the man behind the legendary Jean Machine stores, and denim model Chekkie Maskell).
This season, however, MiH is taking us back to the 90s with Golborne Road by Bay Garnett, a capsule collection inspired by the West London style scene of the 90s; a vintage scene which is legendary, emanating from Portobello Road market - stretching from Golborne Road to Westbourne Grove. It was a time that introduced a new way of dressing; mixing vintage, denim and streetwear in a seemingly slapdash way that continues to define good street style today.
Pioneering the look was famed British stylist Bay Garnett; Golborne Road was her running ground, and this capsule collection, a curated selection of just eight vintage treasures thrifted over the years, plucked from her archives and faithfully reproduced for the masses.
Here at The Hambledon we're stocking the Tiger Camo Shirt and Turner Dress, two classic and downright fabulous pieces, which we're tempted to wear together in true Golborne Road style.
Universal Works' Ltd. Store is here - a project of exclusives and firsts with one of our favourite labels, and something we could not be more excited about. We’ve worked with many brands in our project space over the years but we’ve never collaborated with a label to the extent where they’re designing exclusive pieces and branding for the space. Not only that, in reflection of our different retail departments, David and Steph (Universal Works' co-founders) also went and produced womenswear and homewares designs in addition to menswear, marking the label’s first offering beyond menswear. All of it, a cause for major celebration. So that’s what we did.
With the paintwork dry and the last spot vinyl in place, Rob hit the decks, Laurie, Amy and Alice set up bar and we welcomed the first of many guests that evening (including super star of the night, Cosmo the dog). We drank (super nice shorts, courtesy of Bruichladdich and The Botanist Gin; even better for the rosemary Alice nabbed from her mum’s garden and the tonic and ginger ale brought buy a lovely chap called Barry). We chatted (David, Steph, Martin and Jamie from Universal Works meeting many of our lovely customers). We shopped (a lot, and sold out of some sizes). And then, tired and happy, we shut up shop, went for a curry and toasted Ltd. Store and the very wonderful David and Steph who made it all happen. Cheers guys!
Universal Works has to be one of our favourite menswear labels; for their good quality, honest menswear, commitment to top-notch production, and because designer and co-founder David Keyte is one of the nicest guys in the industry. For all these reasons and more, we couldn’t be happier to welcome the label to our project space with Ltd. Store - a super exciting collab. featuring menswear, womenswear and homewares designed exclusively for the project. We took the opportunity to get David's take on it all.
This is a first for our project space; its own identity, branding and exclusive garments. How did the idea for Ltd. Store evolve?
Rob, The Hambledon's menswear buyer approached us to work on a pop up, and we liked the idea as we like the store a lot. We have done a series of Ltd. Stores, our own version of the pop up, in recent seasons; a couple in Tokyo, one in Paris, so why not Winchester! Each time we have made exclusive items and they have always been fun to work on and popular with the local customers.
Tell us a bit about the collection, its inspiration and references.
I based it all on one visit I made to a fabric supplier in Tokyo earlier this year. I had the Ltd. Store concept in mind for The Hambledon and bought a few really special fabrics, fabrics I thought would fit the store well, and work for both men and women. So they became the inspiration for the store merchandise; it's all about a crazy irregular spot print I found in Japan and and beautiful wool blend ripstop, a fabric that looks like old workwear but is more luxury.
Production values are hugely important to Universal Works. Where is the Ltd. Store collection made?
It all depends on the product itself really as we make in UK, Portugal and one supplier in India. The Ltd. Store special pieces were made in the sample room at our Indian supplier. Our Indian supplier has an amazing sample room and they make many of our trials and first pieces. They're also very good at making the fabrics we buy from Japan. At this facility we can make small numbers of very special pieces to a high quality. Weirdly, in our UK and Portuguese production we have to make greater numbers than we do in India.
Wherever we work, we are very keen to work with smaller suppliers as then we feel we have more control, but also a more positive impact. It means we really know the people who actually make, stich and knit our products. We try to have a very close relationship with everyone that makes anything with the Universal Works label in it. We want to make high quality product with people we like and respect; where were we know first-hand that our products are made by people who care about what they do and are paid properly, we don’t exploit anyone.
Finally, Ltd. Store stocks Universal Work’s first ever womenswear collection. How did the designs develop? Did the process differ?
Victoria had asked us before about some womens pieces and well, we just thought the time was right for this project and it felt truly collaborative as we could reach the entire Hambledon customer-base by including womenswear.
I can’t say we approached the design process any differently really. I guess my favourite womenswear is, and always has been, a sort of 'tomboy' look. Well, maybe not tomboy exactly, just not floaty, sexy, tight, glamorous style womenswear. I guess our vision is more unisex, more practical, more off-duty weekend wear. We have a couple of pieces that are solely womenswear - a dress and a shirt. We first made these styles a few seasons back, but only for Stephanie (my partner and co-owner of the company), as well as a few friends and supporters.
The dress is sort of based on a kimono. It doesn't look in any way like a kimono, it's more to do with the way the pattern was inspired; one size and just simple, straight cutting to achieve a relaxed fit. The shirt is an equally simple, if oversized fit, although it does come in sizes. The rest of the pieces are the same styles we make for men but refitted to make them work for women. We sell a lot to women already, they often just buy the smaller sizes and roll the cuffs on jackets and pants! Maybe it's long overdue as we have had many, many requests. Or maybe it will be a one off just for The Hambledon, let's see.
The Ltd. Store is open until 8 October, in-store and online.
AW17 at The Hambledon has the feel of a different time, stepping back as far as the 19th century to a refined and ever so English affair. In fact, we like to think we’re at home with Jane Austen, taking tea and eyeing up her desk in the corner.
The furnishings are subdued; plush velvets and floral prints, punctuated by rich colours, glints of burnished gold and beautiful objects arrived from far flung shores: candles and confectionery, stationery and china, linens and trinkets.
Of course we’re dressed for the occasion, every occasion, always elegant and polished. Wardrobes laden with heavy velvet, fine knits, print jacquards, metallic stitching, lace trims, and all the colours of autumn; mossy greens, mustard yellows, rich browns and stormy greys.
Welcome to AW17 at The Hambledon.
There’s a small town on the west coast of Wales called Cardigan where lots of really good stuff happens. Much of it is thanks to major do-ers David and Clare Hieatt, who returned to their native Wales after a stint in London back in the 90s. They founded (and later, sold) the original Howies clothing company (you might recall we stocked it for some time), moved to a farmhouse on the edge of Cardigan, dreamt up the Do Lectures (a lecture series which they still hold annually in their cow shed) and set up The Hiut Denim Company, which we’re really pleased to welcome to both menswear and womenswear this season.
Hiut came about after the David and Clare found out about Cardigan’s former denim industry; four hundred locals had been employed making jeans; 35,000 pairs of them a week, for three decades. Until, one day, the factory closed and the business went overseas. The discovery was a bit of a eureka moment for the couple and there and then, the seed for The Hiut Denim Company was sown; a means of bringing manufacturing back home, using the skill on their doorstep, breathing new life back in to the town, and making some really good jeans in the process.
Hiut’s whole ethos is ‘do one thing well’ and that’s what they stick to; using the best quality denims, cutting them with an expert eye, and letting their ‘grand masters’ at the sewing machines do the rest. Even with the music loud and the coffee strong, they can only make 100 pairs of Hiut's a week. But that’s ok, because they are really, really good.
This is the rigid denim we’ll all be wearing this season. For the girls, a classic slim leg style called Coda, a button fly mid-rise crafted from raw denim. Then there’s the Girlfriend, lower in the rise, sitting just above the ankle, made from 13.oz denim, rinsed once. Heading down to menswear you’ll find the Organic Slim, Slim Tapered and Selvedge Slim, all getting the seal of approval from Rob, our chief denim fanatic.
Only question is, will you be joining the Hiut No Wash Club? An elite club, where six months without washing means six months - no cold dip in the bath, no getting caught in the rain without an umbrella - all in pursuit of the most beautiful pair of jeans you've ever owned. The bar has just been raised, Hambledon denim lovers, say hello to The Hiut Denim Company.
If you’ve ever coveted a beautiful pair of vintage Levi’s, or found the perfectly frayed and faded pair only to be disappointed by a baggy leg and unsightly crotch, then you need to know all about womenswear’s latest arrival, Re/Done. We’re one of a very select few UK retailers, with limited stock available, and hugely excited because we think we just hit upon the holy grail of denim. No stretch, advanced dyeing processes, or strategically placed rips and tears here, just genuine vintage jeans, worn in to perfection, that also fit to perfection.
And here’s the secret. Re/Done actually take vintage Levi’s apart at the seams and re-purpose the fabric, cutting it to achieve a modern fit. Founded by entrepreneurs, Sean Barron and Jamie Mazur, the brand was born because "all the cool chicks we knew wore vintage Levi's but had them tailored to fit better". It took them almost a year to arrive at the process of taking apart Levi’s that were made for men and re-cutting them to fit women. Now they manufacture their jeans in Downtown LA, with quantities limited since each pair is handpicked, hand cut, and distinctly one of a kind. They like to think of Re/Done as a movement rather than a denim company; a movement to restore individuality in the world of mass-produced fashion, to keep heritage brands relevant and create sustainable fashion.
Here at The Hambledon, we’ve managed to lay our hands on two styles from both their Re/Done Originals line and Re/Done Vintage line. Re/Done Originals replicate the dye history and are created ‘in the spirit of’ vintage Levi's. We’ve got the straight skinny stretch and a high-rise ankle crop. The Vintage line is crafted from genuine, vintage Levi’s and we’re stocking the high-rise ankle crop as well as a relaxed crop. We’ve also got a few of their re-modelled Champion sweatshirts and Hanes Classic Ts to complete the classic Americana look.
A company, a movement, whatever Re/Done is, we're firm fans and followers of what they’re doing. And we’re not the only ones. Be quick, very quick, is all else that needs to be said.
It was a warm and sunny Friday evening when Tim Webb, Moscot’s man in London, arrived with a suitcases full of specs for our Moscot Trunk Show. Many, many Moscots; sunglasses and spectacles of every shape, size and style. We could not have been happier, with buckets of cold beers and a good few hours to chat eyewear and try them all on.
Things continued in the same spirit on the Saturday with many a Moscot fan making a special trip to the store. Some remaining faithful to the classic Lemtosh. Others discovering new styles with thanks to Tim’s expert advice. Everyone leaving looking super smart in their brand new specs. Thanks Tim, great time had by all.
Moscot have been making iconic glasses in New York for over 100 years and have not let up creating the eyewear people want to be seen in. Founded as an opticians, they are renowned for their craftsmanship but have added global fashion brand to their list of quality achievements. We are honoured to have Tim Webb, our favourite bespectaled eyewear oracle, instore for one day only to pass on his extensive knowledge and on-the-button cool advice. Tim is a qualified optician and responsible for bringing Moscot to London. He will be taking time out from running the Moscot Soho store to bring his trunks full of men's and women's optical and sun glasses to Winchester and guide you to find your perfect frames. He knows about sizing, fit, colour and all that but when he says "try these for fun" and "they are killer", you know you will be taking home your favourite ever pair of glasses.
As the buy for each new season progresses, a bit of a theme often starts to emerge. Style references, sometimes subtle, sometimes undeniable, that culminate in a distinct look throughout the store. For SS17, we were seeing the '80s. A coming-of-age kind of summer, fun, laid-back and beachy. The sun shines endlessly and there are pools and palm trees and parties. Think The Breakfast Club meets Miami Vice. Yes, we're in Miami, definitely Miami. But Miami Nice. No bad hair or shoulder pads in sight. Just saturated pastels and bleached out stripes, high waists and relaxed, oversized shapes; metallic details, fun prints and just the right amount of kitsch. This is Miami Nice as seen in womenswear.