It’s difficult to go into any new situation without a prejudice of some kind. When it comes to clothing, it is sometimes impossible to see the thing in front of you without being clouded by catchphrases like “fashion forward”, “classic” or “handmade”.
With all that in mind, I ventured to Toronto’s Gotstyle to have a look at the Without Prejudice clothing line knowing next to nothing about the company – simply that they are from England. What I found was clothing that while definitely contemporary, is firmly rooted in traditional British tailoring.
I first tried on the Kilburn Birdseye Wool Suit in blue. Gotstyle store manager Daria Tcherkachina told me that it is part of their new season line, which is trimmer in the chest and waist than the Kilburns used to be. A bit of digging after the fact and I discovered that “slim fit” has been added to the name. The jacket is most definitely slim – I am a 42 tall, but had to upsize to 44 to find a good fit. And it did fit well. In some ways, the jacket is very modern: soft, lightly padded shoulders, very short length, ending just past the sleeves, and with very slim lapels. The lapels are so slim in fact, that the buttonhole has been rotated to a vertical position. It seems to be part of Without Prejudice’s signature style and I must admit that it looks rather unique. This suit is built, despite these modern touches, on classic British tailoring DNA. The jacket features double vents, a button stance that is neither high nor low but at the natural waist, a nipped waist and a slightly flared skirt. What impressed me most, however, was the fabric. Not only does it feel luxurious and soft, but it is a very bright and fun blue.
I asked Daria how Without Prejudice is doing? “Very well,” she told me. “It’s an amazing product and at an affordable price.” Even though most new customers have never heard of the line, it has earned itself a lot of repeat customers since arriving about 2 years ago. Guys are falling in love with the style, quality and playfulness of the brand.
Next I tried the Salisbury 3-button Cotton Blazer with patch pockets. While this jacket is still quite short, again just past the sleeves, the lapels are a bit wider than the Kilbourn, also featuring the vertical buttonhole. The most striking feature of this jacket are the buttons, of various shades of blue. They, along with the patch pockets and overall loose cut of the jacket, make it feel very casual, almost like a work jacket. But it really comes to life once you open it up, featuring a half lining in white, blue, floral trim and even patches of pink. And again what I enjoyed most of all was simply the feel of the fabric: almost impossibly soft and sumptuous – I wanted to lay down in a bed of it.
There is definitely an exciting energy around Without Prejudice. As part of the new British Invasion – menswear wise – they are helping to make dressing well seem cool and fun again. And hopefully their connection to classic English tailoring will help them navigate their way through fickle trends and passing fashions to become an enduring brand.
This is the first article from our Pedro Mendes our new correspondent from Toronto
Kilburn Birdseye Wool Suit image from House of Fraser.
Great article and a fantastics brand. It’s always good to see British tailoring make a come back!
Pedro, I expected to hear more about the quality of structure, canvassing/fuseing, trim, fabric weight and durability. Is the detailing there? are the button/lapel holes functional? I know this isn’t a Saville Row suit, but how does it’s English pedigree holdup against the onslaught of off-the-rack menswear.
Kurt: some of those issues would be hard to determine without actually taking one of these jackets apart 🙂 however I was able to feel that there is at least one fused layer in the Kilburn jacket. The overall quality of construction I’d say is comparable to most high-end OTR suits today, which is quite good. The jacket does have working cuffs which are not a positive for me, as sleeves almost always need to be adjusted and this way, there is less than an inch to play with. You can get more info inside the suit here: http://www.withoutprejudice.com/blog/menswear-suit-journey/