An afternoon with Jeremy Hackett

Nothing beats a good chat with someone who knows how to dress. And not just themselves. I mean humans. Jeremy Hackett is a fascinating person. His iconic British brand, Hackett, is a pioneer in menswear across the world. In Ireland, its South Anne Street store in Dublin is a form of escapism. From a bustling street you step onto a pristinely tiled floor and you are whisked away to a land full of exquisite tailoring and contemporary menswear.

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“I would say that it’s reasonably classic with a light touch” says Jeremy of his brand when I ask him how he would describe it to a new customer. For a brand that is synonymous with exceptional tailoring, Jeremy tells me that it’s gained a young following now. “It’s the younger customer who are buying tailoring more than the older ones. This is why tailoring is growing because younger people are buying into it as well as the older man. There’s a whole raft of guys out there who don’t really follow fashion. They want to be well dressed, have a nice suit, but they are not bothered with the finer details of a fashion moment. They just want a suit; a decent cloth that fits properly”. This is so true. Jeremy and I talk at length at how we fashion people are really a niche. Fashion influences a small proportion of society and what we have to concentrate on are those customers, both existing and potential, that just want to buy their clothes for practicality as well as quality. And that leads us to talk about why I’ve come to London to chat to this truly amazing tailor. His collection shown at London Collections Mens back in January was aptly named “Sheep Shape and London Fashion” as a tribute to wool and flannel used in throughout this 12-piece collection.

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Jeremy has worked with Fox Brothers for over 20 years, to channel the finest British cloth into his collections. I ask if he always seeks out new suppliers and his answer is vehemently no. “I prefer to build relationships with the mill. It means you buy more cloth from them. It means better deliveries and you get a better price”, he explains. If only every business followed the same essential mantra! There’s unequivocally a focus on luxury and quality across every aspect of the brand. It’s tailoring speaks for itself, although the more main line pieces are equally as luxurious but suit a more casual wardrobe. That ignites a question in me, what should a man have in his wardrobe? We consistently speak about women’s capsule closets, but what about the boys? Do they know what they need? “The things we sell best are the very basic items, a navy blazer; It’s the mens version of the little black dress. [They need] a grey flannel suit, chambray shirts, neater fitting chinos and good shoes. Ladies always notice good shoes”, ┬áJeremy says with a smile. Now, that I can agree with. We also concur on having an array of good socks. Yes, highly essential.

I’m keen to know his brand highlight, given that there have been so many. Jeremy ponders this for a few minutes but decides on something I wasn’t expecting. In fact, I didn’t know of this collection at all. “We did a great collection a few summers ago around cricket. We had the London Philharmonia orchestra and they were behind a curtain. Before people were seated they thought the music was coming through the speakers. And when the curtains came back, there was this orchestra. It was fantastic. It was fabulous”. The way he tells this story with such vigour and enthusiasm makes me rather jealous I missed this.

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One thing I learned from our chat (it wasn’t really an interview!) was that Jeremy is a down to earth, hard working man who immerses himself in what he does to the nth degree of detail. Even the kids room at the Hackett showroom on Bond St, pays tribute to some of the most personal moments in his life: his dogs. As we chat, the beautiful Muffin is curled up at our feet having some R&R time. She works hard does Muffin. She graced the catwalk alongside her devoted owner at the finale of the LCM event. She’s at ease today and when we knocked on the showroom door, it was a warm welcome from a wagging tail that greeted us.

Hackett feels like a home, both in terms of their shops and their showroom. The collections, both the current Spring Summer and future Autumn Winter ranges, are injected with Jeremy’s first rate eye on fabrics, and his innate love for design. It’s this passion that leaves me thinking how important it is for a brand to have a personable leader. On the plane home as I typed up our chat, I smiled at Jeremy’s endearing way of discussing his work. Although my longer than anticipated chat, meant he missed dessert. I’ll keep apologising to him about that over the next number of years, I have no doubt.

But when will womenswear come to us? “I’ll remind you again in six months”, I say. “Remind me again in six years”, he replies. Oh Jeremy and I are going to be the best of friends.