London is one of the world’s great menswear destinations and its reputation is growing internationally as enclaves of new tailoring and refined casualwear crop up all over the city. From the suave shirtmakers of Jermyn Street to the vibrant menswear boutiques around Carnaby Street, not to mention Redchurch Street’s new laid-back luxury stores, London’s well-dressed male fashion tribes have never been so well catered for.
The traditionalist’s choice, Jermyn Street, has long been known for its shirt making, and its fashion credentials are accentuated by the statue of 19th-century icon Beau Brummell, one of the city’s original dandies, which was erected here. Hawes & Curtis, which recently celebrated its centenary, has been a Jermyn Street stalwart for many years. Edward Smith, head of brand at Hawes & Curtis, believes that Brummell’s legacy has influenced the labels that have flocked here. ‘He was all about fit and tailoring and I think that has resonated,’ he says. ‘Jermyn Street has seized this title and there are now countless shops – mainstream and artisan – that celebrate the best clothing and accessories on offer.’
Luxurious British label Hackett has had a store on Jermyn Street for two decades. Jeremy Hackett, founder of the brand, sings the shopping boulevard’s praises. ‘Nowhere in the world is there a thoroughfare quite like Jermyn Street, a street that caters for classically inclined gentlemen from all over the world,’ he says. ‘You can be measured for a hat and purchase bespoke briefcases. There are barbershops and perfumeries for gentlemanly colognes. Why would a gentleman wish to shop anywhere else?’
Yet despite the street’s myriad delights, those who prefer a more contemporary aesthetic have been venturing further afield.
Carnaby Street’s style associations date back to the swinging 60s and the popularity of hippie and mod fashion. Today that influence has spread, with Brewer Street to the south and Berwick Street to the east attracting trend-focused men who want clothing with a contemporary flavour.
‘If you are a guy into products there is a nice circuit you can walk with a great blend of stores and products on offer,’ says Ben Banks, director of sales for Woolrich. To walk the Carnaby circuit, take Brewer Street as your starting point: inside the Woolrich store you’ll find lightweight yet durable jackets and seersucker shirts. Make Jack Spade, with its utilitarian chic products, your next stop. Melissa Xides from Jack Spade believes that Brewer Street appeals to the modern man because of its ‘diverse mix of menswear brands, which offer great products sold by passionate people’.
Heading east from Brewer Street, turn north onto Berwick Street to find the Percival store. Opened in December 2012, the boutique sells timeless, well-made men’s garments. The Percival founders chose the street as the perfect setting for their first shop because of its ‘centrality and strong tradition of independent traders’. ‘There seems to be an honesty to Berwick Street that has become quite rare in London. It also has such a rich cultural history, and as a brand that’s something we want to be synonymous with,’ says account director Jacob Sorkin.
It’s not just the brains behind Percival that have recognised the draw of Berwick Street. Oliver Spencer and Universal Works have chosen to open stores on this rakish road, to complement each brand’s stores on Lamb’s Conduit Street – another central London menswear hub.
Follow Berwick Street north towards Oxford Street and turn onto D’Arblay Street, where you’ll find edgy tailoring from Sir Tom Baker. Trained on Savile Row, Sir Tom opened his Soho boutique in 1996. Located a short walk from Carnaby Street, the store takes the sartorial traditions of his former home and blends them with pop culture influences to create suiting with flair. ‘Soho is an area where small shop spaces are available and this allows small labels to have a platform without having to take on huge rents,’ Sir Tom says. He also acknowledges that the area’s importance to London’s rock ‘n’ roll scene in the 1960s has also played a role. Those looking for a touch of rebellion in their wardrobe need look no further.
Another hip menswear locale is Redchurch Street in Shoreditch. Home to Hostem, APC and Sunspel this is the place in which to shop and be seen. ‘It has become one of the most unique shopping destinations in London, partly due to the diverse cultural landscape of the area,’ says Nicholas Brooke, CEO of Sunspel. ‘It is a creative hub with a flourishing art, fashion and music scene, but in close proximity to the city.’
Whether you prefer to shop in the historical home of British menswear, tread the culturally significant streets of the Carnaby circuit or opt for the directional choice of Redchurch Street, London has a menswear area to suit every style tribe.