Joshua Kane, is taking bespoke tailoring to a whole new level with his exciting, modern twists on classic craftsmanship. With Joshua, what you see is what you get - a successful tailor, designer and businessman built on hard graft, commitment and creativity. It was a pleasure to sit down and talk all things #BloodSweatAndShears...
GROWING UP, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE OLDER?
Joshua Kane: Interesting question; I had a very diverse route to get into tailoring from playing semi-professional football for Fulham from age 13-18, to skateboarding semi-professionally, playing table tennis to a high level, all manner of sports. So sport, lots of sports, anything competitive, anything I could get addicted to, anything that involved hours and hours of commitment to get to a really high level... for me it was the addiction, something that you can work on perfecting.
WHERE DID YOU STUDY TAILORING?
Joshua Kane: I studied fashion design at Kingston University and in my first year I met my pattern cutting tutor, a chap called Tony who’s a Savile Row pattern cutter. I worked with him within university and also trained with him outside university hours either in his studio or wherever he was working, designing patterns, developing my own style, problem solving and learning by mistake really. Being sort of obsessed with something means that I can never put it down.
I think I've always counted myself as so grateful to be able to do what I do from being in university, to being accepted on the course, to getting the tutors that I got that gave me the training, to meet new amazing people that trained me outside, to getting my first work placement unpaid or whatever, but met amazing people that inspired me. Every aspect has been long hours and really hard work, challenging and frustrating at times but at the back of my head I was always so grateful for what I've got now.
I LOVE YOUR HASHTAG #BLOODSWEATANDSHEARS - WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AS A WORKAHOLIC?
Joshua Kane: That was the mentality that built this place. I started this company and it's still true to today - with no investment, I did it all from my savings and we’re still 100% owned by me I own every piece of product, every piece of furniture, every item, every piece of equipment and that’s just purely down to hard work. My mum painted the banister when we got the shop and one of the team here plastered the walls when she was an intern and now she’s a design assistant here and that's just really the ethos behind it.
Carl Thompson: Is that why you feel so welcoming when you come in?
Joshua Kane: Yeah because it is like a family. There’s a family ethos all the way through it. I like to think of it as the ethos of that old family tailor’s but with modernity. Still charming and beautiful but moving forward with new designs and new creativity but with old mentality. Beautiful construction within tailoring needs to be moved on - either in shape, fabric and cut to keep progressing because if everything stays the same all the time then it's going to get left behind and I think the way that I run the business, the way that we work with our staff, the way that we design the collection, it all comes from the same embodiment.
WHAT INFLUENCES YOUR STYLE AND DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE STILL ADAPTING AND LEARNING?
Joshua Kane: Yeah completely adapting, learning, changing, problem-solving, is key just because I did something last season and it was good doesn’t mean I want to do it the same even if it was the best part of last season it doesn’t mean we should do it the same again we should continue to change and adapt and rework things. If I use the button as an example you know we might have designed a really great button last season but we were ordering that many now we're ordering you know twice as many because we're going to push the collection even further it's actually not even viable to do a button that's that detailed to that many units so you need to consider the design, you need to consider the end purpose and equate that back into the beginning.
WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE SPITALFIELDS AS APPOSED TO SAVILE ROW FOR YOUR FLAGSHIP STORE?
Joshua Kane: For me, the area is completely synonymous with the garment industry, this is where tailoring really started in East London. You had all of the textiles industry that was based in and around this area for garment production. The whole area is completely synonymous with craft from people in the market from pop-up birthday cards that are immaculately cut to the people making the beautiful cakes and then people curating their old vintage stalls.
Not only that the area is so amazingly regenerating from Belstaff opening on the opposite side to other big houses that I know are opening in the next six months. I saw an opportunity to be a part of something just when it was about to get really exciting and that's what really inspired me it will be the new Bond Street of East London within the next five years and to have our foothold in it now and be a part of it growing and regenerating and doing what I’m sought to preaching about I think is really great rather than just going to Carnaby Street and paying the rent or going to Savile Row and then pitching myself up against the people that have been doing it for hundreds of years I think it almost does them a disservice because they won't necessarily appreciate my aesthetic anyway, whereas maybe it's easier to appreciate each other from afar because we’re that different. You know I wouldn't say a negative word about anyone I love everyone for their own respects and their own heritage but mine is a bit different.
IT'S QUITE RARE THAT I LIKE EVERY PIECE IN A COLLECTION, BUT I COULD SEE MYSELF IN EVERY PIECE OF YOURS. WAS IT YOUR AIM TO CREATE SOMETHING THAT IS BESPOKE AND SO VERY WEARABLE?
Joshua Kane: It's interesting you say that because I always think about the levels of the design parameter that you can play around with. Again a different cutter taught me a really valuable lesson that is sort of repeated everywhere, about understanding what the rules are before being allowed to break them. That can come in so many different ways it’s so much more of a deeper statement than everyone else thinks. I think when they reuse it and the rules don't just have to be that you know the sleeve should finish X number of centimetres from the shirt cuff or the jacket should always be X number of centimetres long, it’s more about understanding a balance of a wardrobe for example, about understanding men's sartorial classic staples, the raincoat, the tailored overcoat, the single breasted coat against the double breasted coat and understanding all of those proportions and then when putting them together how extreme to push the proportions or indeed doing it in one of our more classic suit shapes and doing a really extreme fabric and doing nothing else to it.
It’s understanding that the collection has got to have a beginning, middle and an end, the end pieces are the wow the shock and awe pieces but usually they’re then styled in a way that tone them down and that's understanding the balance of the collection. It's so important to capture the mood of the collection with then how it all goes together.
VISIT JOSHUA KANE
Joshua Kane, Flagship Store, 53 Brushfield Street, Old Spitalfields, London, E1 6AA.
Shop Online via joshuakanebespoke.com
PHOTO CREDIT - MATT EDGE