Hackett Traditional Menswear Clothing
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Essential British Kit: History of the Hackett Brand
The Hackett brand was founded from humble beginnings in 1979 when Jeremy Hackett and Ashley Lloyd-Jennings met in London’s Portobello Market searching for second-hand traditional British menswear. A business partnership soon formed, with a Portobello market stall selling their menswear finds after cleaning and repairs. Their Portobello market store thrived and in 1983, the pair opened their first Hackett standalone store on London’s New Kings Road, selling the finest quality second-hand traditional British clothing and accessories.
Since that first store opening selling the menswear garments they found in house clearances and antique markets, the Hackett brand has gone from strength to strength. Realising that demand would consistently exceed the supply of quality second hand clothing and accessories, Hackett launch their own menswear collection in 1985 and the rest, as they say, is history. As of 2011, the brand has 6 collections: menswear, formal kit, tailoring, eyewear, accessories and childrenswear. International expansion since the brand’s inception now (as of 2011) sees the brand stocked in over 70 stores in over 15 countries.
A Snapshot history of the Hackett brand
- 1979: Hackett is founded by friends Jeremy Hackett and Ashley Lloyd-Jennings. The duo sell second-hand clothing on a small stall in Notting Hill’s Portobello Market.
- 1983: Success of the Portobello market stall allowed the opening of the first Hackett store on London’s New Kings Road – still selling second-hand traditional British clothing.
- 1985: Unable to consistently meet demands for quality second-hand clothing, the brand starts their own menswear line, working with traditional manufacturers, to compliment their second hand offerings.
- 1986: Following the success of the New Kings Road store, further Hackett stores are opened locally including one for shirts and ties, one for tailoring, a specialist formalwear shop, a barber’s and gentlemen’s accessories shop, and a sportswear shop. All are within a hundred yards of each other and the area becomes affectionately known by London taxi drivers as ‘Hackett Cross’.
- 1987: The Hackett Polo Team is formed, seeing the beginning of the Hackett polo shirt. Additionally, a growing patronage of the city professional prompted Hackett to open stores in the financial and legal districts of London in Eastcheap, Bishopsgate and Holborn.
- 1988: Hackett begin advertising using the long-standing slogan ‘Essential British Kit’.
- 1989: Capitalising on interest from overseas custom, Hackett opens its first European store in Madrid with Spanish partners. Success of this venture sees Hackett soon opens concessions with the Spanish department store group, El Corte Ingles.
- 1992: Alfred Dunhill buys a majority stake in the Hackett brand and this cash injection facilitates the opening of the flagship Hackett store on London’s Sloane Street.
- 1993: Hackett becomes the first sponsor of the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
- 1994: The expansion of Hackett continues with the opening of a store on the Left Bank in Paris.
- 1995: The Hackett boy’s childrenswear collection is launched to meet customer demand.
- 1997: Hackett begins a long-term sponsorship relationship with the England Rugby team.
- 1999: Hackett launches a bold and colourful tweed with a green base and red over-check in conjunction with ‘Horse and Hound’ magazine.
- 2002: Jonny Wilkinson becomes the face of Hackett. Other famous faces of the brand include actors Robert Pattinson and Matthew Goode, and tennis players Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.
- 2005: Hackett becomes Official Partner to the GT1 works Aston Martin Racing team, providing official team clothing and selling a range of licensed clothing and accessories. Also this year, the Pepe London Group acquires Hackett from Richemont (the owner of Dunhill) and invests heavily in the development of the brand with the aim of reinforcing its position as the best in British style in the UK and abroad.
- 2010: Hackett teams up with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to create a limited edition collection of children’s clothes to raise funds for the Home, to celebrate its 150th Anniversary.
An Athletic Brand: Hackett and Sport
In 1987, Hackett begins what is to be a long relationship with the sport of Polo. The brand was approached by two army officers looking for sponsorship and the Hackett Polo Team was formed, playing out of the Guards Polo Club. The Hackett polo team sparks the creation of the now iconic Hackett Polo shirt; originally made just for the team, Hackett customers watching the sport would ask where they could buy a Hackett polo shirt for themselves. Jeremy Hackett and Ashley Lloyd-Jennings finally relent and begin to produce the Hackett polo shirt to meet their customer’s demands. As of 2011, Hackett was still heavily involved on polo, with teams in the UK, Spain and France.
In 1997, Hackett begins another long-term sporting relationship with the England Rugby team. The brand, as the Official Formal Wear Suppliers to Sir Clive Woodward’s team, kits out the players with bespoke blazers and flannels, and later on introducing the team’s first ever England team suit. Such is the strength of this relationship that, in 2002, Jonny Wilkinson becomes the face of the Hackett brand. He was an obvious choice to represent the brand due to his links with the England rugby team and to him being the perfect embodiment of the modern “English Gentleman”.
As of 2011, sponsorship of Hackett include Aston Martin Cygnet, Aston Martin Racing, international tennis, British Army polo, international polo, the London rowing club, British polo day, the Boat Race and Elephant Polo.
Future of Hackett fashion label
In 2005, Hackett appointed American creative director Michael Sondag, joining from American label Tommy Hilfiger. However, as yet, there are no Hackett stores within the United States. Hackett founder, Jeremy Hackett was quoted in a 2009 Drapers interview saying “Yes, we looked at the US and got very close to opening on Madison [Avenue, New York] last autumn but we decided the time was not quite right”. So in the future, potentially expect to see Hackett expansion into the US, while continuing to produce quality clothing for the British gentleman.
Visit the official Hackett website here.