While some tailoring brands are adjusting to our new normal by offering deconstructed suiting and sportswear, Edward Sexton has prospered in London by staying true to its roots. Known for structured, architectural designs and bold fabrications, the British label is growing fast thanks to its charismatic take on menswear.
Sexton’s ready-to-wear collection sales are four to five times what they were in 2019, says creative director Dominic Sebag-Montefiore. “Whereas a lot of Savile Row relies on selling classic navy and gray suits, we’ve gone more punchy—we’re more about statement pieces.” From grapefruit-pink suits to double-breasted greatcoats in turmeric-colored cashmere and sensuous silk shirts in black or ivory, Sexton’s creations are nothing if not dramatic.
“We were doing this before the pandemic, but we’re pushing this harder now, because for us the suit was always about fun and expression,” continues Sebag-Montefiore. “I think people who looked at our suits before and thought, ‘I could never wear that,’ are getting comfortable with wearing our clothes now, because they’re not in conservative office suits five days a week.”
Interpreting the brand’s heritage sympathetically while creating ready-to-wear collections that feel modern and coherent is no mean feat. Sexton himself, who turns 80 in November, still heads up the company’s bespoke cutting room. His work has varied dramatically, from minimalist suits in the ’60s to maximalist designs in the ’70s, power suits in the ’80s and modern-classic tailoring in this century. To Sebag-Montefiore, capturing the different facets of Sexton’s career in an off-the-peg collection, though challenging, is essential to the brand’s success.
“There’s a lot to draw on, but we have to always reflect Edward’s work,” he says. “For me, sportswear and drawstring trousers simply aren’t what we’re about. It’s about staying true to our tailoring heritage as we evolve.”
The brand’s rapid growth is starting to pay dividends. For years, Sexton was based in a small workshop in Knightsbridge but recently upsized its premises and moved to Savile Row, housing the tailoring workrooms and client fitting rooms on one side of the street, the ready-to-wear shop on the other.
Sexton’s secret? “We’ve been decisive,” explains Sebag-Montefiore. “We decided at the start of the pandemic just to stay in our lane and make tailoring that we believe in. I thought, ‘We might not sell as many clothes as Uniqlo will, but we’re going to do what we do and there’ll be enough people who want it.’ ”
With 500 percent growth in ready-to-wear sales, the Sexton look seems more desirable than ever.