More small brands you might be interested in…

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I often find myself liking what the smaller brands are up to. Smaller brands are leaner, more dedicated, less desperate to take over the world. I might be hopelessly blue-eyed, but think of it like this: If I convert my grand vision of the most sublime waistcoat ever into being and make 50 of them, I only need to find 50 people who get what I’m doing to have succeeded. That means what I’ve made didn’t have to pander to the whimsy, fashion, crowd-approval etc as if I was every person on the planet was a potential customer.

Some of the characteristics of small brands are:

  • A clear vision of what is to be achieved
  • Smaller production numbers
  • Sales directly to customers, giving lower retail prices
  • More personal service
  • Higher quality production with more details
  • A greater focus on local production

Now, not all of these may apply to all companies that are small, but in general terms, they apply. The direct sales is an interesting model as well, as in addition to giving the customer a better deal, by cutting out the middleman and the middleman’s markup, the advantage in pricing can be shared by both brand and customer, thereby making it a more viable business model even with what can amount to small sales figures.

In no particular order, I’d like to introduce you to some more small brands I appreciate:

North Sea Clothing

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North Sea Clothing has a background in vintage clothes of the more rugged kind. After dealing in vintage garments for years they started remaking and improving the vintage styles. This makes sense, as unless you’re seriously into collecting the originals, there are probably many subtle ways old designs can be improved. Manufacturing technology has changed and may allow tweaks in constructions and our preference for how clothes fit may also have changed. I especially like the smocks and the knitwear, all made in the UK. Reasonably priced and properly made.

Find North Sea Clothing on the web here.

Mister Miller Caps

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Mister Miller is a one-man British company that’s been busy hand making caps and hats for the past 25 years. Using mainly British fabrics there is a standard range of caps, but also the opportunity to order bespoke headwear (more on this at a later point).

Find Mister Miller on Etsy here.

HebTroCo

HebTroCo

HebTroCo

I’ve mentioned HebTroCo before when I visited them in Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire in March. They still fit into the small company concept though, quietly introducing garments they like and want to share, be it a new design of heavy boots, a woolly cap or variations on the trousers they are most known for. Working with a slowly expanding range of makers, it’s well worth subscribing to their newsletter for both the japes, honesty and great kit.

Find HebTroCo on the web here.

HAAR Scotland

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HAAR Scotland launched only this Autumn with a small range of interesting designs. The name comes from the morning mist that shrouds the coast of Scotland (and I’m still uncertain of how to pronounce it without sounding like a cut-rate pirate). Their initial range of shirts and CPO shirts is all made in Scotland, either in low volume or to order. With a background in high-end menswear retail, HAAR has an eye for quality and design.

Find HAAR Scotland on the web here.

& Sons

& Sons

& Sons

You could almost say that Bristol-based & Sons is the basis for my “small company checklist”. Their selection of goods is very much in the “I like, hence we’ll make” way of thinking, resulting in an oddly eclectic, yet also rather personal selection of goods. All made to according to a vision, all made well, all in a denim, workwear style. Their Carver mk II jacket is a nice evolution of the traditional chore coat.

Find & Sons on the web here.

Curzon Classics

Curzon Classics

Curzon Classics

Curson Classics is an odd one in this setting. It’s a company selling British menswear, owned by a British couple, yet located in Spain. Very much in the tweed and country gent style of things, most of the selection is made in Britain and fairly reasonably priced. Check out the tweed Teba jackets for a welcome twist to the tweed formula. Oh, and the wool ties are great as well.

Find Curzon Classic on the web here.

Spencers Trousers

Spencers trousers

Spencers trousers

It seems impossible that a company like Spencers Trousers exists in 2018 (much like William Lennon really). They have a small factory in Yorkshire, the actual building on the photos over, where they produce quality trousers to order in a bewildering array of fabrics and styles, and they do so at remarkably reasonable prices and do so quickly. It’s all quite wonderful really.

Find Spencers Trousers on the web here.

Frahm

Fram field jacket

Frahm field jacket

Another newcomer in the small company stakes is Frahm. Not without former experience though, as Frahm is the venture from the former owner of Vulpine. This time in a much smaller scale and more focused. Going back to the roots and love of jackets, the initial offerings are limited to jackets. The first jacket is described as the last field jacket will ever need, the distilled essence of the designers experience in such jackets. A portion of the profit of each jacket is also donated to a mental health charity, which is charmingly human in this day and age.

Find Frahm on the web here.

5 Comments

  • Roland Novak 15/12/2018 at 11:02

    Great overview Nick! Small companies like these are definitely the best thing the networked economy gives to us hunters for the unspoiled authentic (sic, but in this case it’s appropriate)!

    Reply
  • Shaun Brown 15/12/2018 at 11:19

    In manufacturing this scale, cutting out the middle man , selling direct, seems a wonderful idea.

    Reply
    • nick 16/12/2018 at 14:47

      For the consumers at least. Not so much for the large industry that lives off the markups. In this matter there isn’t only winners.

      Reply
  • Ed 16/12/2018 at 15:12

    This is a great article Nick, thank you for doing the (wait for it…) leg work. 🙂

    Reply
    • nick 16/12/2018 at 16:11

      Thank you, Ed. Garment related puns are always very much appreciated.

      Reply

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