Ahead of the official launch of the new AW18/19 fieldwear and country clothing collection we caught up with company Brand Manager, Peter Sant, the driving force behind the range.
Has the collection grown much this year Peter?
The Farlows collection has indeed grown. We are nurturing an organic growth across the categories with just small tweaks and introductions and our tweeds gently phase out as new ones are introduced. I try to make the collection cohesive and balanced, so every piece feels like it has its place, not just in my eyes but also for our customers. I am not looking to surprise folk but to reinforce their decision to build their collection of Farlows tweeds and accessories.
Tell us a little more about the tweeds.
The tweeds are subtle and elegant, with a very British feel. I commission bespoke tweed patterns but also select authentic finishes for the fieldwear tweeds to ensure the best performance, and they really work. Beyond looking good and conforming to the etiquette of British shooting they perform how a fieldwear tweed should, they are hardwearing, weather resistant and are great ambassador pieces for us. We proudly hold a Royal Warrant from H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, so every garment is carefully considered to ensure it is a great ambassador not only for us, but also because it carries the Royal Warrant.
And the collection is British made?
Over 95% of the collection is sourced from British manufacturers, across all the product areas. I am extremely proud of the collection and strongly believe it is an extension of the Farlows character.
When did you first start putting the collection together?
I began rebuilding the collection four winters’ ago. The first decision was to craft garments and accessories that represented our core values here at Farlows. Britishness is one of those values, but authenticity is also very important to us.
"We will not let a client leave with anything they cannot trust to keep them warm and dry."
Across the whole portfolio of shooting clothing and accessories we offer here, fitness for purpose is at the very top of our priorities. The kit must work and we will not let a client leave with anything they cannot trust to keep them warm and dry.
And to this season’s collection, what have you created?
For the men's clothing offer I have introduced a new tweed to support the existing family, a dark olive glencheck with a traditional setting. Where I have focussed is on the base colours to produce a muted but complex effect. From a distance, it looks quite solid but as you get closer the fabric becomes richer as the twists and multi-coloured yarns create a complex tonal check, it’s very subtle and elegant.
The tweeds, which are the foundation garments to the collection, are supported by knits, shirts, socks and silks, which make it very simple to pull an outfit together. The colours all work well together and the focus is on traditional fieldwear tones: olives, clarets, golds and browns, with small highlight colours used in the peripheral pieces, items like the shooting stockings and ties.
Our gentlemen clients often focus on creating an outfit around the etiquette required and the necessity of practicality, others see their shooting outfit as an extension of their sartorial wardrobe and like to add flair to their dress. We aspire to appeal to both while maintaining a consistent tone to the whole collection.
And for the ladies?
I take a very similar approach to the ladies’ clothing collection. Our lady clients tend to expect a slightly faster turnaround on the tweeds, more frequent new patterns, as they are very considered with their outfits. This does not mean I introduce tweeds for the sake of fashion but I can add a little more colour. The new season ladies’ tweed is a vibrant windowpane check. The ground is a gold and mustard tone, which is a little brighter than my usual taste, but I am very happy with it. There are turmeric tones in the knitwear which complement this base colour and again it is very easy to pull outfits together across the collection.
You mentioned the knitwear, this was a particularly strong area of the collection last season. How has it changed for AW18/19?
The knitwear is one of my favourite areas of the collection this season. Beyond the new Shetland wool and lambswool palette, I have reworked the traditional Argyle design and applied fieldwear tones to the pattern. It works well and sits with the tweeds very nicely.
The contrasting patterns work well together, the glen checks and the Argyles with a tattersall check shirt and a motif tie. It sounds busy, but it works, and it is not hard to put together, which is always the secret. You shouldn’t have to try too hard and that is where the strength of the collection lies as it is quite simple to put an elegant outfit together, with a multitude of options.
Another key objective is to look relaxed and comfortable, not like you have just walked out of a showroom. We have that covered and the team in the shop is very focused on making sure our clients feel right in their chosen kit. Unless a client insists on top-to-toe matching tweed, the team will gently guide them towards a more suitable ensemble, as it were.
Have you introduced anything different into the range this season?
Yes, I have introduced sheepskin into the range this season. We always do well with our cape designs, they are practical and look great, so I have created a sheepskin cape to sit in with the existing gun club checks and the new windowpane.
There is also a sheepskin jerkin, which can be layered or worn as an outerwear garment. I used a small leather workshop in East London to create these and they have turned out beautifully. The same piece is available in an olive Loden and I am expecting it to become a solid garment in the range and to stay in the collection for many seasons. You know you have got a piece right when you have to keep it in the collection season after season. That is the beauty of working in fieldwear. While the boundaries of etiquette are evident and we have set the standards high as far as practicality and fitness for purpose, which is paramount, the challenge is then to create and rework classic pieces that will help the collection evolve and capture a stronger following.
And finally, what is your hope for the collection?
We have had a great reaction to all the collections so far and I am very much hoping that continues into this winter, when winter arrives, which I hope is early this year! So yes, I am hoping for an early winter!