This week I took the long'ish journey up the M40 towards Birmingham to setup our exhibition stand for Hawkins & Shepherd at Moda.
Moda is the UK's leading fashion trade event and is essential for buyers to explore new and established brands.
Our brand has established a loyal following worldwide throughout the last year and is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. After speaking to many buyers, bloggers, stylists, customers and brands over the past year, it seems that the menswear consumer habits are changing. Brands that base their products on quality fabrics and attention to detail are prevailing as men are becoming more savvy. I would say that mens fashion is moving more and more in the direction of luxury and away from disposable fashion and I applaud that.
So after selling online building our customer base, it was time to offer our lovely handcrafted shirts to retail stores. The event was successful and you'll be seeing our shirts in boutiques across the UK in 2015 and we are working hard to cover every major city - so you all have a chance to try on and appreciate the Hawkins & Shepherd qualities.
Spending 3 days at Moda checking out our competition was good to appreciate other brands and their exceptional qualities and here are my TOP 4.
1. Gibson London (gibsonlondon.com)
What immediately stood out was their phenomenal tailored tweed and herringbone jackets. My personal favourite was a herringbone weave blazer with subtle orange windowpane check and their unique colours discreetly placed on the underside of the collar.
I genuinely I don't believe I have seen such quality at these affordable prices anywhere.
2. Hawkins & Shepherd (hawkinsandshepherd.com)
Okay okay, so its my brand but; hand on heart we were, by a mile the best shirt brand at Moda. We had a large range of collar types and fabrics all handmade with mother of pearl buttons, edge stitching and little touches like embroidered last button hole. Our range is all wearable and affordable luxury, whereas similar shirt brands at the event you could choose only 1 or 2 (if that) that make the grade. I mean there were some truly shocking designs, I was at times thinking to myself, designing a shirt is relatively easy - how can these brands mess it up so badly! I mean, triple layered collars with 6 buttons to do it up, then all sorts of mismatching of fabrics - how do they stay in business?! If you want quality, classic designs that when worn give you the confidence for the day ahead, shop with Hawkins & Shepherd.
3. Dickens & Browne (dickensandbrowne.com)
If you look on their website you'll be mistaken into thinking all they do is polo shirts. This father and son brand caught my eye with my favourite single piece at Moda...a grey chunky roll-neck knit.
4. Peregrine (peregrineclothing.co.uk)
This 'Made in England' brand by J G Glover & Co are producing high quality crafted knitwear here in England and is 100% British...now thats something to be proud of. Feeling the quality of the wools used in their knits and after talking to the brand ambassadors they are passionate about their brand and that was infectious.