Kent & Curwen is a quintessentially British brand. The company established its name supplying ties to all manner of British institutions, from the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge Universities, to the country’s leading schools and the Army’s finest regiments. From 1972 the company supplied the caps and sweaters worn by the England cricket XI.
The company traces its origins to the romance between Eric Kent and Dorothy Curwen who met on Savile Row in the 1920s and went into business together, founding their eponymous company in 1926. In 1932 they married, further cementing the partnership. A major aspect of the design process at Kent & Curwen is the constant reference to the brand’s archives and British history. Kent & Curwen can lay claim to the creation of some of the most recognisable pieces of sportswear in British history from the striped tie to the cricket jumper. Daniel Kearns, creative director at Kent & Curwen, is keen to combine the authenticity of the historical record with modernity, breathing new life into the brand by adapting its traditions for the 21st century.
Kent & Curwen can lay claim to the creation of some of the most recognisable pieces of sportswear in British history
The Autumn/Winter 2018 collection brings with it a focus on three characters – ‘The Boxer’, ‘The Artist’ and ‘The Musician’. Enlisting the talents of award-winning photographer and filmmaker Perry Ogden, Kent & Curwen has produced a series of portraits and a short film to capture the mood of the season. Ogden cast real boxers, artists and musicians for the project. The Repton Boxing Gym in Bethnal Green, which has trained many champions over the years, provided the boxers while the arts colleges of London that nurtured the talents of Freud, Bacon, Auerbach and many others produced the artists. The musicians are members of Kent & Curwen’s band, an emerging group on London’s indie scene.
The film is called ‘The Boxer, The Artist and The Musician’. It evokes the heritage of the venerable British label that has touched the lives of sportsmen, aristocrats and celebrities since the 1920s. ‘The Artist’ dresses with the eclectic nonchalance of the art school, in Fair Isle sweaters, velvet, loud tweed checks and denim jeans and jackets. ‘The Boxer’ look is inspired by vintage training and sporting kit. Retro-style tracksuits, singlets and sweats in old-fashioned tones combined with Kent & Curwen’s distinctive badging evoke the gentlemanly, Corinthian sporting spirit of long ago. ‘The Musician’ wears grungy, patched plaids and a military greatcoat with striped, fitted cotton polo shirts and drainpipe trousers.
A major aspect of the design process at Kent & Curwen is the constant reference to the brand’s archives and British history.
This look draws on the constantly evolving London music scene and features a reworking of the traditional Doctor Martens boot with artful distressing of the leather to impart a vintage feel. Ogden’s work is praised by David Beckham, Kent & Curwen’s business partner. ‘I’ve always respected Perry’s work and he really has captured the essence of the brand in a powerful way,’ says Beckham. ‘The idea of preparation strikes a chord with me personally as that has always been a key characteristic of my career – and Perry has managed to capture those moments in his brilliant film.’
KENT & CURWEN 11-12 FLORAL STREET, LONDON WC2E 9DH +44 (0)20 7240 6618