Savile Row has been known since the early 1800s as the most prestigious address for high-end menswear and tailored suits. However, there are many more classic and venerable British brands than those that congregate on this Mayfair street. Here we’ve rounded up the classic British brands you should know about.
There are many British brands that have survived the ups and downs of fashion and convey the luxury and craftsmanship you’d expect from a truly quality garment.
Below are some of the most genuine and classic British brands among clothing, accessories and other accessories for the gentleman.
1. Floris London
Among the classic men’s fragrances on the market, there is one brand in particular that stands out from the crowd thanks to its history. Floris London was founded by Juan Famenias Floris in 1730, when he and his wife Elizabeth opened a combined barbershop and decanter shop at 89 Jermyn Street in central London. Soon they also began making bespoke perfumes for the society.
It wasn’t long before they became court suppliers to the British Royal Family. Famous people who have used Flori’s perfumes include Sir Winston Churchill and Ian Fleming.
2. Lock & Co Hatters
Lock & Co. Hatters is the world’s oldest hat shop, founded in 1676 by Robert Davis. The company is known for originating the bowler hat and is a Royal warrant holder. At the back of the shop at 6 St James’s Street in London is a hard-hat fitting room which is adorned with framed and signed head shapes of famous costumers. Oscar Wilde, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Charlie Chaplin and Lord Nelson are just a few of all the persons that have had their head shapes measured by Lock & Co. Hatters.
Read more about the history of Men’s Hats.
3. Fox Umbrellas
An underrated accessory in the male wardrobe is a good quality umbrella that can withstand harsh winds. Since 1868, British company Fox Umbrellas has been handcrafting umbrellas – often to special orders with built-in swords or embellishments on the handle.
The umbrellas have a very durable metal construction, which is made of 25″ Fox Steel Frame.
Throughout its history, Barbour has launched several classic and timeless jackets in green waxed cotton fabric. Barbour jackets have become synonymous with what is often referred to as “British Country Clothing”. J. Barbour and Sons Ltd, as the brand is actually known, is the Royal Court Supplier to the British Royal Family under the category of “Waterproof and Protective Clothing” – something it first became in 1974.
5. John Lobb
John Lobb is one of the most luxurious shoe brands on the market. John Lobb shoes are handmade using the same traditional methods used at the company’s founding in 1849, with 190 different steps. It takes several weeks to make each pair at the Northampton factory.
Founded by Michael Drake in 1977, the Drake’s brand is perhaps best known for its exclusive, handmade ties, scarves and handkerchiefs. Their own factories in London and Somerset also produce shirts and outerwear using materials from some of the world’s finest weaving mills.
In recent years we have also seen shoes in the Drake’s collections.
Although Sunspel is now perhaps most associated with its iconic swimwear and picket shirts from the 1960s Bond films, the company has a much longer legacy than that. Founded back in 1860, Sunspel became widely known when it launched boxers in England in the 1940s.
For spring and summer, we recommend the classic Riviera pique sweater in warp-knitted, breathable cotton mesh. This was originally tailored for Daniel Craig in the role of James Bond in the film Casino Royal.
8. Derek Rose
Anyone looking for high quality nightwear should definitely take a look at the range at Derek Rose. The brand’s history began in 1926 when Lou Rose began manufacturing exclusive nightwear sheepskin and cotton fabrics in central London. The company was given its current name in 1953 when son Derek Rose joined.
Smythson, or Smythson of Bond Street, was founded in 1887 and produces mainly high-quality leather goods for the home. There is hardly anything more classically British among notebooks than those made by Smythson.
Dunhill was founded in 1893 by Alfred Dunhill and initially produced mainly motorsport clothing. Over time, Dunhill developed an impressive product portfolio ranging from pipes and lighters to luxury clothing. Nowadays, Dunhill is known as a luxury brand – the fact that style icons such as Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra often visited London to pick up suits from Dunhill has at least not diminished Dunhill’s reputation as one of England’s most prestigious menswear brands.
11. Huntsman of Savile Row
H. Huntsman & Sons or more commonly known as Huntsman of Savile Row was founded in 1849 and is one of the most famous tailors on classic Savile Row in London. It received the first of many accolades as court suppliers when it became the manufacturer of riding breeches for Edward VII in 1886.
Huntsman were the ones who served as the inspiration for the films Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. It was also in Huntsman’s premises that scenes from the shop areas where the clothes were tried on were filmed.
12. Henry Poole
Henry Poole & Co, also located on Savile Row in London, was founded in 1806 and is known for having many of Europe’s royalty on its client list over the years. Henry Poole & Co. was also the company that produced the first modern tuxedo in accordance with the wishes of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) in the 1880s.
A tuxedo jacket that he could wear to informal dinner parties at Sandringham. This page lists a number of famous people from Henry Poole’s client list.
Burberry is best known for the classic beige trench coat and the Nova Check pattern in beige, white, black and red. Burberry was founded in 1856 and is now the court supplier to both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.
14. Turnbull & Asser
Turnbull & Asser was founded in 1885 and has had a large number of celebrity clients on its books over the years – both real and fictional. These include Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin and Pablo Picasso. In the very first Bond film, Dr. No, Sean Connery wore shirts from Turnbull & Asser. Since 1980, the brand has been the court supplier to Prince Charles.
Globe-Trotter makes some of the most iconic suitcases on the market. Ever since the company was founded in 1897, manufacturing has taken place in Hertfordshire, England. It takes as long as 10 days to produce a single piece of luggage that comes with a lifetime guarantee. Winston Churchill is one of the many famous customers who have used Globe-Trotter suitcases.
Summary – Classic British Brands
There are many classic British brands for men. If you’re looking for top quality shirts and jackets, we can also recommend John Smedley, which has a history dating back to 1784.
Amongst venerable British shoe brands, brands such as Crockett & Jones and Loake 1880 are also worth mentioning. Both have a history dating back to the 1880s and are well known for their quality handmade shoes.
Alongside Burberry and Barbour, the venerable Mackintosh is a brand to look out for in terms of high quality outerwear.
In other words, there are plenty of classic British brands to choose from. Quality is something that is common to all of these brands and it is also something that more and more people are starting to appreciate in menswear!