“The world needs pioneers”. That’s the philosophy that drives unique workwear label &SONS. Created in the UK by photographer Phil James, &SONS is designed by and for craftspeople, artisans and creatives with a passion for craftsmanship and quality. Taking on the values of quality, tradition and skill, &SONS are pioneers when it comes to creating a classic workwear look that fits seamlessly into modern life. We sat down with founder and creative director Phil James to find out just what &SONS stand for, and what we can expect to see from the brand at Jacket Required SS20.
TELL US THE STORY BEHIND &SONS – HOW DID THE BRAND START?
It all started when I was on a location photoshoot (I’m an advertising photographer) and there was a broken down old building that had part of a sign on the front. The main name was missing but the second half was still there - it said …&SONS. I loved the ambiguity of that as a brand name and registered the URL straight away. I also have two sons so there was something personal about it too!
I wear hardworking clothes as I'm always lying or kneeling, shooting in the middle of nowhere but still want to look cool. I have always been into workwear and a 1950’s style but I was ordering from ten different websites to get the look I wanted. I thought, there must be other people like me who would be interested in a brand that didn't just sell jeans but an entire ‘style’ from head to toe on one website. So, I decided that the &SONS name would be a clothing brand and set about designing. We launched the brand on Kickstarter in August 2016.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE &SONS AESTHETIC?
Our motto is ‘Taking the best from the past to create beautiful things for the here and now’, so I think our aesthetic is based on ‘classic timeless’ style but with workwear and a ruggedness at its core. A lot of workwear can be stiff and uncomfortable. We’ve tried to keep the style but add comfort and more tactile fabrics to the look.
WHAT INSPIRED THE NEW COLLECTION? ARE THERE ANY THEMES WE SHOULD BE LOOKING OUT FOR?
As always, we are inspired by classic design from the past. We looked to create the effortless, cool style of icons like Steve McQueen and James Dean. Our collection is designed around a layering system; with a base of a simple classic white t-shirt and our raw selvedge denim you can layer up depending on the season or the occasion. For example, you can add our Lincoln waistcoat/vest, one of our ‘Chore’ jackets, a bandana or Japanese scarf and cap it off with one of our signature baker
WHAT DOES BEING A BRITISH BRAND MEAN TO YOU?
It is very important to us to be one of a growing number of British fashion brands. We want to bring back the pride of manufacturing in Britain. The skills of craftsmanship are very important to us, in both what we make and the and in the people who support and buy our products. We celebrate the ‘Makers’ in our series of Pioneer films and love meeting these inspiring individuals who are going their own way. Our plan is to be completely designing and manufacturing 100% of our products in Britain by the end of 2019.
WHY ARE YOU EXHIBITING AT JACKET REQUIRED THIS SEASON?
We had an awesome response to the brand at our first Jacket Required show and picked up many new retailers who wanted to stock our clothing. We also made some great contacts within the industry, as well as the social side and chatting to lots of like-minded people.
WHAT WILL YOU BE BRINGING TO THE SS20 EDITION?
We are constantly expanding our range of menswear and accessories, so we will have a larger range of denim, both in black and indigo British-made selvedge denim. We also want to expand our unisex range with new overalls and workwear layers. We have some exciting collaborations with some well-known brands approaching so these will feature heavily in the SS20 edition… Watch this space!