The team at New Heroes and Pioneers is constantly on the lookout for the people that are striving to create something new or take an alternative approach to their craft. With this in mind, I took the opportunity to find out more about one of London’s emerging menswear design companies, Form&Thread, and speak with their co-founder, Rich Jeal, about his take on men’s essentials, quality design and F&T’s approach to branding.
Founded in 2015, F&T have a clear trajectory with their clothing, to bring well designed, uncomplicated, quality menswear essentials but at a more realistic and attainable price. But this is not a novice venture. Prior to F&T’s conception, Rich held senior buying roles at both Swedish fashion store COS and British menswear brand, Albam.
With this fundamental knowledge of buying and design, F&T understands the direction and needs of the well-dressed and ‘modern gent’. Starting out with well packaged and finely crafted socks, the company has expanded their essentials range to well-cut tees and simple sweats – all made with the finest materials in Portugal.
“Our approach to product is simple”, says Rich. “We use the finest fabrics and materials but do not over design. Our products are season-less so that they can run right through the year.”
In order to retain a quality to their product and negate mark ups, F&T have opted to sell their clothing predominantly by their online store. This is sensible. Rich has created a stream of beautifully curated media outlets, from a well-designed and user friendly website, to a consistent and streamlined Instagram account.
Rich takes me through the company’s website and social media and explains how he has chosen to brand and market the company though these platforms. “We want to create a mood and feeling towards our clothes. Without customers being able to readily see the product in person, the quality of the materials and design has to be reflected in the images and media we relay online.” And there is no question that this has been achieved.
F&T has successfully combined a lifestyle element to their branding which emulates the modern minimalism and clean lines of their clothing. Scattered in and amongst their Instagram account, Rich has included striking images of minimalist architecture and scandi-esque interiors all reflecting their fresh and uncluttered clothing designs. This implies a great level of consideration goes into the structure and the detail of F&T’s garments, an extremely important element, Rich explains to me, in their process of creating new items.
NH&P like to recognise others that have a true sense of self and an assurance around their brand and product, be that a narrative, piece of design or a collection of art and words for a book. F&T caught NH&P’s attention as they are that ‘new hero’. I ask Rich what he considers the challenges in maintaining the company’s ethos and who they look to as their own ‘heroes’.
“We want to have the respect of our customers and ensure that those who happen upon us, albeit through formal introduction or simply stumbling upon our online accounts, understand our brand and what we aim to achieve. We love that people can start building up their wardrobe with items made from the best quality materials…and that’s just it, we create products that you’d find hanging in high-end stores, but reasonable priced”.
Rich explains how important it is to remain persistent in creating F&T’s own brand, but acknowledges their ‘hero brands’ that share a similar vision in their designs. We discuss the successes of designer Margaret Howell and how their pieces are well made and do not pander to seasonal trends. Instead, as with F&T, it’s about allowing the customer to be wear pieces throughout the year and focus on great fabrics and classic shapes.
What next for F&T? Fresh off the back of a pop-up store in London’s Covent Garden, Rich expresses the company’s desire to continue to give a tactile experience to those who haven’t tried F&T, “plus its really great to meet existing fans of the brand and introduce ourselves to those new to us”.
So more pop-up stores are lined up and, importantly, an expansion of their menswear essentials collection. This staggered approach to their line has worked in the companies favour. Instead of overindulging on a ‘bit of everything’, their focus has been to create each product with care and consideration. Rich tells me the next six months will see the legwear and outerwear introduced to the online store – all very exciting.
Essentials done well and pioneering in their own right, check out Form&Thread for not only well-made and excellent clothing, but also their assertiveness towards creating a brand that’s clean, considered and accessible.
Find more at www.formandthread.com and their Instagram account @formandthread