The Best of Britannia event is now in its third year and it just seems to be going from strength to strength. I went along last year with no idea of what to expect and was pleasantly surprised; there were some great British brands alongside new and innovative ones. It was the same this year and seemed to have even more brands, if that were possible in the space.
Best of Britannia are doing their very best to promote British brands with launching Buy British day, which was on October 3rd.
It takes place in the Farmiloe Building in fashionable Clerkenwell, which has been frequently used for films and other events over the last decade. It is a great venue as it shows the old world charm of Industrial Britain next to this eclectic festival of British brands.
I am splitting this report into two parts as there was so much to cover, although I was there for over 4 hours I only got through the companies I had planned to visit. The first part today focuses Style, some old friends and some new ones.
I made certain to find our new friends, The Cravat Club, who were up on the first floor in what was probably the old offices of the buildings. It was a pleasure to see Jenny and Julian again so soon after our last meeting. It was also good to see all of the Cravats in the flesh. It was a feast for the eyes and made me want to add to my collection.
Next, I visited Susannah Hall Tailors. We had been communicating over Twitter but had never met in person. I was also delighted to see David, The Grey Fox himself, at the stand. We had a delightful conversation and he kindly introduced me to Susannah, who has an infectious intelligence and passion for the subject. They had some of their most excellent works on display. I did disturb their lunch though, apologies. We will report further when we pop along to the store in the near future and do an interview.
As you may know, I do have a penchant for colour coding and that includes Socks. I came across Keith and his business, Sock Club London. They started just as a social media conversation and blossomed into a Sock brand, with a branded Sock Travel case and a very stylish umbrella already they are certainly doing brand extension well. Their socks are bright and colourful, made from a cotton/nylon mix and come from Pantherella. Though the current range is limited, they would make an interesting addition to the draw.
Personally I have a weakness for Pocket Squares. I have been wearing them for over twenty years and my top pocket feels naked without one. I was happy to see Geoff Stocker again from last year, he has branched out on his own and has a huge range of fancy and colourful pocket squares. I was most taken with the short silk scarf on display, sadly not for sale yet.
It seemed to be an accessories day, for next I came across The British Belt Company, which does sell in the UK but its biggest market is in the US, especially for their stylish bags. They also have a collection of braces. I will have to investigate them further in the near future.
Tucked in the corner was the extremely charming and elan, Richard Wigington of Wigington Bros. They are purveyors of ties, tweed and other gentlemanly items. They have stores in both the UK and the US and we look forward discovering more about them in the future.
Finally, there was Cahoonas. They make fabulous underwear, including the first ‘dress preference’ trunk. The engaging Georgia told me some very interesting facts, which I will divulge in due course in a more in depth article. But wait, there’s more! They also make a range of grooming products for Beards & Moustaches; we shall have to get our resident moustache expert Mr Nichol to try them out.
There were many, many others there, but time ran away with me. A few further highlights were: Joseph Cheaney, the great men’s shoe company, whom I had seen last year and written a long piece on; the sock people at Pantherella, who make some beautiful items; another great shoe company but a little more daring is Jeffrey West, we did not have time to chat to them unfortunately.
We did not visit all the more casual and fashion male brands on this trip as Sam our Style PG was not with me. Hopefully, he can be with us next year.
In the next article, the other interesting people and brands we met on the day…