A 40-year love affair with all things made in England serves as the nuts and bolts behind evolving menswear brand WEAR London.
Residing in Spitalfields, London, the new-found label is the brainchild of Alex Hayes and Matt Lea alongside long-time colleague Jim Bender and focusses on utilising their savvy experience to create products that serve men from the age of 20 through to 70.
Subtle, clever styling that taps into those everyday pieces all men need, WEAR London is made in London and proud of it. Built on the foundations of relationships cultivated by Lea specifically, WEAR London is able to buy and create pieces from limited edition and sample length materials bought in from the very best mills in Italy as well as the UK, which in turn helps to keep their price points accessible.
Describing the process of creating in England as a ‘labour of love’, Lea has often worked with the same machinists on different projects around London and understands the need for factories and workers to have a consistent flow of work and salary.
“There are numerous benefits for us making in the UK. For the factories they know they can get a flow of work for 11 months of the year and for us we can develop our pieces quickly, with a talented and capable workforce and obviously we are on site almost daily to make sure of quality control.”
With the move in manufacturing to overseas, namely to China, in the 1970s impacting the UK industry massively due to it being cheaper, the majority of factories simply had to close. However, with Brexit and the recent pandemic having a global affect on international trade including price hikes as well as the increase in waiting times for shipments to arrive, which has almost doubled, there has been an injection of activity back home.
“For now, it seems as though a few brands have thought wisely about where they manufacture and the UK serves as an intelligent choice given the issues around transportation costs and waiting times,” adds Hayes. “For us, it is different as we are unique in the fact that we have always made here, but key is the relationships we have with our mills and the model we work to with regards to being able to access those premium, limited edition fabrics. We don’t buy in bulk.” He adds.
“The infrastructure and capability of countries such as China, where they can literally make anything for anyone in their village-like factory headquarters is astonishing and then you look at how others have come to the fore, especially in recent years with Turkey and Portugal. They serve all the big players and for a company like WEAR London, that process just isn’t what we’re about.”
Where the UK infrastructure or lack of may turn some brands back to manufacturing overseas when things ’sort themselves out’, WEAR London has a very independent and strong position due its model of being able to ‘carry on’ and with those hugely important sustainability values running as a consistent red thread.
“It works for us making here in London and we are proud to be able to be transparent in our communication,” says Lea. “There are always challenges, but being a new business that is manufacturing here on our doorstep, with a low carbon footprint and utilising exclusive fabric runs feels like the progressive brand we want to be known as,” he says.
WEAR London produces an ongoing range of tailored overcoats, jackets and over-shirts through to shirting, T-shirts, pants and accessories.
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