Like many of Britain’s best-known menswear brands, Drake’s has a healthy appreciation for its heritage. And while the haberdashery-turned-lifestyle brand is significantly younger than its peers, it still has a rich history to mine—and has turned to its archives to release a capsule collection of accessories celebrating its milestone 40th anniversary.
Though this year the house has released a range of suits and outerwear meant to complete the Drake’s man’s wardrobe, the capsule collection is a decided return to the brand’s roots as a manufacturer of ties and pocket squares. The collection’s ties, pocket squares, and scarves (from $85) all feature modern takes on archival prints like lush paisley, floral medallions and bird of paradise rendered in the brand’s original heavy silk twill and fine wool—striking just the right balance between being vintage and thoroughly fashion-forward.
To celebrate a landmark year for the brand, Robb Report sat down with creative director Michael Hill to discuss the capsule collection, the brand’s future, and the essentials that every many needs to have in his wardrobe.
What is your favorite part of the Anniversary Collection?
The ties. I absolutely love them, and they really resonate with me because they were the first thing that I saw the brand doing when I discovered Drake’s years ago. We worked really hard to get that cloth with the same kind of luster that the vintage ties have, and were able to go back into our archives to find the heavy silk twill that the ties were made of. I love their little neat patterns—the simple design makes them very easy to wear and they work very well with tweed and oxfords.
How do you think the company has evolved over the past four decades?
Our roots are very much in manufacturing and working with other brands, and we still do a lot of that. We are committed to being a maker, no question.
When I joined the brand seven years ago we started rethinking things, we really wanted to meet our customer on our own terms, and go beyond accessories and tailoring. We’ve been very careful to stick to the same handwriting and philosophy that we learned under [founder] Michael Drake, but it is important to stay fresh. We’ve really tried to balance tradition and innovation.
Where do you see Drake’s going over the next 40 years?
We don’t really have a grand plan—our growth has been very instinctive so far. That said, I don’t think there is much in terms of product that we can add, now that we’ve launched the ready-to-wear collection. I do think there is more room for us to experiment with shoes and outerwear though, and our spring collection is going to be a really great example of that. But we want to do things that are absolutely right for us—it needs to be meaningful and special for the brand.
What do you think every man should have in his wardrobe going into the new year?
Drake’s is very much a brand about classics. We want to make things that a guy will be wearing for a long time—for the next 20 years at least! So I think it’s great to build a wardrobe from the basics out. One of my key pieces is a navy blue unstructured blazer, you can wear it in so many different ways, and it’s a basic that you can have a bit of fun with depending on how you style it. Our scarves give a special touch to a basic outfit by adding in a little bit of texture and pattern.
A cotton canvas suit is also a must-have for me. The one that we did for the Drake’s Easyday collection is something you can get dressed in while blindfolded—and it will only look better as you continue to wear it.