Harry Stedman is a brand whose collection we look forward to seeing each season and each season they take inspiration from their namesake grandfather's wardrobe and turn it in to something wearable and great. This season their lookbook is shot on a ship and expresses the tougher side to the brand's origins; life as a sailor isn't all gravy and sea biscuits. We asked some questions of two of the guys behind the brand and Harry's relations Rick & Ryan.
1. Where are you based? Are you a team of scousers that live and work in London or are you all still up north?
Rick: We are based in Hackney Downs far away from our Scouse routes. In fact, Phil (Harry’s Son) and Ryan who heads up our PR are our only true Scousers. I’m (Harry’s grandson) technically half scouse as my mum (Harry’s daughter) moved to Bolton and brought us up in a small town called Horwich. Amy is from the South East but has spent most her years in London.
2. If you are in London what do you miss about Liverpool? If you're in Liverpool do you think it could do with anything that's only in London?
Ryan: Apart from family of course, I miss the general friendliness and humor of Liverpool, London isn’t as harsh as most people think but in Liverpool people just seem more willing to go out of their way to make you laugh/smile. Liverpool could do with London’s Public Transport, spent half my life waiting for buses and trains up there.
3. The north west is a bit of a creative hot bed of talent at the moment with Oi Polloi, 6876, Hip Store, Norman Walsh etc - is this something that you feel part of? Does northern-ness make up a large part of your identity?
Rick: Yeah it always has been and we feel a huge part of it. When we look at some of the stores you mentioned, it’s interesting to see that many of the stylistic influences were born out of people like Harry bringing garments back from his travels, which is deeply rooted in everything we do today.
Also, as a kid I grew up just down the road from the Norman Walsh factory and therefore understand the importance these businesses have on a local town and it’s local people, something that drives us to manufacture as much we can in the UK.
4. You've been on your travels lately as a brand: Liberty Fair in NYC and the Goodwood festival, can you tell us any interesting stories from your trips?
Rick: Interesting stories???? Well I guess one funny night in NYC whilst showing at Liberty Fair was the evening we went out and had one to many beers in Brooklyn, lost the key to our apartment and had no idea how we were going to get back in. Luckily my bedroom window was at street level and whilst rather inebriated, managed to force the window open and climb through head first to save the night. How the police didn’t turn up and arrest us for breaking and entering I will never now.
5. Are there any pieces from the Harry Stedman archives that you're dying to recreate but haven't yet?
Rick: I would love to recreate a special parka. Mountaineering still plays a big part in my life and it would be amazing to create a piece of kit I could take on some adventures and really put it through it’s paces, much like Harry’s clothes were put to the test whilst working in The Army and on the ships in often tough conditions
Ryan: I’d love to recreate Harry’s half-Zip popover jumper that he’s wearing on one of our best photographs of the man himself, it has a lovely ribbed knit and a sort of half roll neck. Aesthetic and thermal qualities on point, it’d be the perfect layering piece.
6. What are your favourite pieces from AW15?
Ryan: Personally the Deck Jacket and Peacoat are unbelievable quality and if you’ve got one you’re sorted for a coat until you pop your clogs. Plus, being pretty utilitarian the Denim Popover and Cigarette Pocket Shirts provide all your storage needs, the large panel patch pockets on the popover are a touch.
7. If we go to Liverpool for the day what must we not miss out on?
Ryan: Firstly Pick up an Independent Map Co map, which we will pretty much have you sorted, other than that
-Art fix – Tate, Bluecoat Arts Centre, Open Eye Gallery, Walker Art Gallery
-Coffee – Bold Street Coffee
-Shopping - Weavers Doors, 69A Intandane and the Oxfam on Bold Street has came up with some gems over the years.
-Catch a show at Unity Theatre
-Have a wander around St James Cemetary, an oasis of calm at the foot of the Anglican Cathedral.
8. What is in store for Harry Stedman in 2016?
Ryan: Well it’s still a work in progress but think more hard work, grit, physicality, clenched fists, blackened hands, determination, freedom, purposeful garments.
9. You have U.K., U.S.A. and Japanese manufacturing - how different are each of these to work with, do you visit them and if you do are they as fun and fascinating as they seem?
Ryan: Quality is paramount here at HS, which is why sourcing fabric and production from the likes of Japan and US came about, both countries are renowned for their attention to detail and supreme standards when it comes to creating garments that stand the test of time. We do also try and bring as much manufacturing as close to home as possible and do so where we see the quality of US and Japan being matched or exceeded. The key for all our manufacturers is the relationship we have built with them, we like to work closely with fluid communication to make sure we get things right for our customers.
10. What music is currently being played in the Harry Stedman office?
Ryan: Day-to-Day it’s usually a 6 music show, either Giles Peterson, Huey Morgan or Craig Charles. Other than that, tracks we’re into at the moment are ‘Love is a Hurtin’ Thing – Gloria Ann Taylor’ or Jive Baby on a Saturday Night – The Jellies’