Private White Peacoat
It’s all coming back, scrap sportswear, tailoring is the new thing. Clothes, cyclical as ever.
I was thinking this last week. First thing we sold when we opened the doors of Daniel Jenkins in September 2007 was a navy blue melton wool pea coat. Subconsciously and amusingly, the first thing I bought a couple of months back when I started chatting with more people about this website was a navy blue melton wool pea coat.
The initial pea coat was made by the ungooglable ‘&I’ who were one of London’s cult labels at the time. Judging by the spam emails and LinkedIn requests, Google positioning is now a slightly more pressing concern than product – note, please do not email me about SEO, it goes straight in the bin, thanks.
Great coat though, saw me through many an early morning de-icing the car and though it’s not been worn in an age, resides happily in my closet, yet more proof of the sentimental nature of clothing.
Also, proof that quality will prevail. Marketing, merchandising and all of the retail arts help, but if your product isn’t up to much, then it’ll never work.
As to the newcomer, typical me story, late summer, early autumn, I go to see a mate for a coffee, come home with a winter coat.
Navy melton wool, double breasted, generous but not flashy of cut. I’m no collar popper that’s a tad too sartorial superhero, so this sits elegantly, buttoned or unbuttoned, with pleasingly shaped collar kept down, worn this morning with my new Anderson & Sheppard boatbuilder in green, old selvedge denim and Edward Green’s Dover.
It’s passed the test. Attracting unsolicited but favourable comments in the most interesting places and from people who more than know their stuff.
The detailing is exquisite, stitching in all of the right places to add shape, structure and resilience. A proper heavyweight melton, one that will welcome and improve the more it is worn and worn hard.
Cord lining on cuffs and hip pockets is welcome, as are the two large tablet pockets which if honest I wasn’t sure I would ever use, but, are perfect and long enough to take my wallet in one and car keys in the other without ruining the drape.
Now, the coffee proposer who sold it to me is Andrew Allans, someone I’ve known and dealt with for years and is now retail director at Private White. Every brand worth their salt should have an Andrew, someone who understands the beauty of men’s retail. Forget the glamour and the nonsense that everyone expects, the simple art of understanding each customers needs and helping them over a long period make regular appropriate purchases. It’s beyond a skill, to my mind it’s an art form.
Private White themselves are fascinating. If you get the chance, go to Manchester and see the factory. I’m fortunate in that both James & Mike have taken me round, two different generations, different backgrounds, perhaps differing perspectives on the industry itself but a shared well thought out plan to save it.
A plan to be talked about separately. But, sometimes as a brand/restaurant/artist there can be a confidence issue, in the desire to prove your worth, you forget what makes you so special.
You just need to breathe and concentrate on you.
Right now, Private White are confident and it shows. There is a quiet swagger to everything they do.
The desire to take what initially made you successful and change it is is exciting. To improve, to refine and elevate your key product is to be praised.
Which brings us back to the coat in question. Three years ago I wasn’t Private White’s customer. I certainly kept an eye on them and admired what they did, but it wasn’t there yet. Now, it is.
This is beautiful, softly cut and dare I say it rather sexy British made clothing, all at an extraordinary price. They really could be on to something…