From the heritage fashion houses to the new generation of avant-garde designers, we’ve sourced the ten British brands to add some sophistication and East London attitude to your wardrobe this summer.
10 Iconic British Brands Every Gentleman Should Know
Two British houses claim to have invented the trench coat: Aquascutum and Burberry. And, since 1856, it’s the latter that has seized the style moment and continues to capitalise on its heritage trench coat.
Summer’s answer to an overcoat, the Kensington model in camel weatherproof gabardine is a must-have with its double-breasted closure, reworked into modern proportions, with buffalo horn buttons and Burberry’s signature check under the collar. Britons like their subtleties.
Available at burberry.com
Since the sudden passing of a very young Alexander McQueen in 2010, Sarah Burton has carried on the East Londoner’s creative legacy as Britain’s original enfant terrible. Just look at these McQueen jeans: a pair of raw Japanese denim jeans in dark, dark blue.
Cut in a straight crop leg, these jeans are far from coy summer styling. Grazing the ankle, the American five-pocket jean is Anglo-cised with a bold red royal check, to be worn turned up for all to admire your tartan flair.
Available at alexandermcqueen.com
Timeless tailoring is Drake’s speciality. Founded in the late '70s, Drake’s made in England ‘Easyday’ line is ever-so-summer and riffs on the relaxed elegance ethos of the clothier.
Take Drake’s cotton-poplin button-down. With a dazzling cutaway collar and sartorial gingham check in blue, here’s your answer to summer shirting; be it for a warm weather wedding or stylish day in the office.
Available at mrporter.com
J.W. Anderson has surged to fashion fame in recent years. This season, in an ode to Britain’s historic university culture, the label offers up a dapper collegiate shirt for summer. Crafted from mid-weight cotton for a relaxed fit, the design features a contrasting grey collar and a logo appliqué across the front. In ivy-league green, it will add a sophisticated sportswear edge to your off-duty outfit.
Availables at matchesfashion.com
From the same designer generation as Jonathan Anderson, Craig Green has turned the fashion aristocracy on their heads with his innovative utilitarian style. Always an eye-catcher at London Men’s Fashion Week, Green’s worker jacket is a key part of his repertoire.
Cut in Italy from a lightweight vertical-striped quilted shell (so it’s ideal for summer), the UK preppy is slipped in this navy version, with collegiate stripe details on the collar, cuffs and hem.
Available at mrporter.com
Paul Smith is known globally for his heritage craftsmanship with an alternative edge, usually via way of a punchy pattern or jaunty colour pop. And these ‘Simmons’ leather loafers are Smith’s style statement for your feet this summer.
Made in Italy from premium calf-leather leather, the unique double-tasselled fronts and vibrant teal uppers complement the sturdy brown leather soles. Add in a pair of bold print socks for more Paul Smith pizzazz.
Available at paulsmith.com
A newcomer to the men’s fashion scene this year, Stella McCartney’s designs—in fabrication and aesthetic—ooze eco-chic. This season, the Londoner’s beachwear pieces feature bold colours and prints in soft Italian materials.
Super-luxe to touch, this half-placket shirt is your summer go-to: made in a mesh-like cotton-linen blend, and striking emerald green. Just add crazy-graphic swim shorts and your favourite espadrilles.
Available at stellamccartney.com
What started as a maker of tobacco paraphernalia and motoring accessories in London in 1893, Alfred Dunhill’s innovation has become a British beacon for luxury, as seen in today’s suiting, clothing and of course, its leather accessories.
Enter, the Chiltern drawstring backpack in butterscotch caramel biscotto leather. Inside, the softly lined interior features a slip pocket, with the 'Alfred Dunhill 1893' motif branded on the front. It’s almost too luxe for the beach, but you’ll want to take it everywhere.
Available at dunhill.com
Not all British designers get the royal nod of approval. And, they’re not all as unconventional as Dame Vivienne Westwood. The UK activist/fashion icon first established her name in the late '70s, where she translated Britain’s roaring punk scene into luxury clothes.
This season, she continues to rock the status quo, especially in tailoring. Her latest suit jacket—duly named the ‘classic’— carries a natty three-pocket design and cuts squarely on the shoulder. Westwood’s choice of summery cotton-twill ensues something offbeat in a bold red so, like Westwood, it’s not one for conservatives.
Available at viviennewestwood.com
You can’t get more ubiquitously British than Church’s. The Church family started making shoes in 1675, before 1881, where they were the first cobblers to produce differently shaped left and right shoes (now common practice).
Keeping to tradition, the ‘Monkton’ double-monk shoe is set over a sturdy Goodyear welt and leather sole. In rich oxblood leather, the shoe’s upper is punctuated by brogueing for perforations that will perpetually lift your formal shoe game this summer, and for years to come.
Available at church-footwear.com