London is full of amazing people’s stories. Streets are filled with passengers, with scenarios of crimes and hopes. When it comes to fashion, well, it’s as intense: there are journeys, unexpected encounters, love, friendship. We had a chance to interview Robbie Humphries, the half of the brilliant brand “Humphries and Begg“, just before the launch of their second pop up shop.
How did you decided to launch your own fashion brand?
We created Humphries and Begg not long after Alice Begg and I, Robbie Humphries, met at Secret Garden Party. Within a month of this fateful meeting we had booked tickets to India and were on our way to our future together. We both had an interest in clothes. Alice had dragged me across the world to find manufacturers for her boxer shorts brand “Syndicut”. Earlier that year I had got the bug in Bahrain, after playing at the Grand Prix with my band ‘The Cash Cows’ and came home with a tailored purple velvet suit. Whilst gazing over the beautiful valleys of Northern India we decided to pool our creative talents and begin a label and call it Humphries and Begg.
There’s a tremendous buzz around the “Made in Great Britain”: do you think that the story of Humpries & Begg is part of this movement?
I feel the ‘Made in the UK’ craze is more a move towards cottage industry, smaller organisations than necessarily having things created in Great Britain. It is a case of “we can do this, why let BIG business take control of what we wear? (They control pretty much everything else!)”. We are very much a part of this trend. We work with a tailor in London who creates our bespoke suits and ties. It is great having things made in the UK as it is very easy to talk face to face with our makers and pattern cutters etc. Having said that communications being what they are in 2013 it is possible to connect instantly to anywhere in the world.
Our Blockprint shirts are made in Jaipur, India this is because they create the block print fabric in house and it makes sense for them to make the shirts too. We have a great relationship with those guys and have experienced every part of the process from printing to stitching.
Apart from the impressive sartorial universe, we also feel a very good sense of humor among the brand: any interesting story to share with our readers?
We try not to take ourselves to seriously. Life is too short. Walking round Fashion Week you see collections that are simply ridiculous with their creators standing by earnestly grim faced actually believing they have re invented the wheel. We are all about clothes that are wearable and fairly priced. I don’t believe in high fashion or low fashion just comfort and style.
I am a musician by trade and like to keep life light, this is reflected in our brand and in everything we do.
What are the next steps for the brand?
We are opening our second ‘Pop-Up Shop’ or ‘Temporary Store’ on Thursday this week and it will run for 2 weeks in St Katharines dock. This is exciting. We have developed a new range of shirts in a range of colours with a lovely little polka dot. I’ve always been a fan of spots ever since seeing Bob Dylan wearing them and eventually finding my perfect polka dot shirt on Melrose Place in Hollywood. Next year we are going to roll out more ladies wear in the form of block print smock dresses and maybe having another go at a light Linen summer jacket, we sampled these this year but they never got to production stage.
In the further future we hope to develop a home-wear department and concentrate on ‘H&B Creative’ designing clothes for organisations we respect. We are currently redesigning the skipper uniforms for a Swedish company called Yacht Week and working on some waistcoats for a bar in Soho.