In the 80s, Jeremy Hackett was at a flea market in Paris. There he met a dealer who was selling second-hand British clothing. The stall was full of Savile Row, Burberry and tweed jackets. He’d grown tired of traveling to London on a weekly basis to restock, and asked Jeremy to do it for him.
After about a year of supplying Paris with men’s high quality second-hand fashion, he thought, why not do it in London under his own name? So in 1983, he opened his own place on Kings Road.
Naturally, at some point he started to run out of goods. He decided to create new pieces based on classic British styling for those who couldn’t afford Savile Row.
By 1989, Hackett was so successful that they were able to open shops outside the UK. They expanded to Madrid and later Paris, and even started a children’s line in 1995. Development continued and they began collaborations with rugby and polo players, rowing teams and Aston Martin.
Understandably, this became too much for the guy who happened to be shopping at the Parisian flea market less than two decades before this, and Hackett was sold to Vendôme Luxury Group LLC. Other mergers and acquisitions have happened over the years.
That may seem like a lot of changes, but Jeremy Hackett has never left his baby unattended. He has been CEO and has remained in a consultant position for the brand throughout, and it remains in line with his vision of what a well dressed Englishman should wear. He’s even written a book entitled Mr. Classic, a quality read.
These days, they also have items inspired by current trends, and feature military and urban looks and fabrics. Don’t worry, they haven’t lost their roots. There are plenty of looks to suit James Bond-cool style icons such as Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant.
Now Leipzig gets to see his handiwork first-hand: A new flagship store has opened in Mädler-Passage.
Our own Uemit Appenzeller had the pleasure of talking to Francesco di Caro, the General Manager, to find out why the brand has come to our Leipzig and what sets them apart from others.
Uemit Appenzeller: Why have you decided to open up a flagship store in Leipzig when so many brands are being put to the test with online shopping?
Francesco di Caro: We researched the market in Germany and have found that Leipzig has the biggest potential and is the fastest growing city, combined with its neighbouring communities in Saxony / Germany.
When we found the location, we were utterly happy, as this presents the best place to showcase our brand, and hopefully we will be able to expand to have made-to-measure suiting here in the future. And obviously Hackett believes in the symbiosis of the stationary and digital world alike.
UA: What is the essence of the Hackett brand?
FC: Jeremy Hackett himself, as you can see on the picture behind me, is the living DNA of our brand. He is still involved in the brand and is the best ambassador for us. The quality of our fabrics is key to us.
We try to source as much fabric as possible in Great Britain or work up exclusive cloths from Italy, like Loro Piana for example, and have our design team in London that will create the typical Hackett signature with a bit of an Italian feeling.
The look and feel of the material speaks for itself – craftsmanship with classic yet contemporary interpreted elements is one of our strengths, and most of our products are being produced in Europe.
The moment you put on a Hackett Club jacket/blazer, you will feel the perfect fitting with edgy details, like the so-called “gentleman stitches” buttonhole on the backside of the revers to put your flower in. The personal connection between our clients and our brand is of key importance to us. When you come to my store, we will find the best, and authentic, outfit that will resonate with your personality together.
For me, this is the epitome of customer relationship. With my wealth of experience, I can tell what will work and what will not – and I am being very honest there. The customer will only come back and have brand loyalty when they feel understood and served in their individuality.
That is our mission: to see the holistic person.
Let me tell you a story. A few days ago, a man came to my store and asked whether I could repair his 8 year old polo shirt that had some rugged areas around the patches. We fixed it and returned it to his full satisfaction, and this is what I love about my profession. Seeing customers happy and creating a sustainable relationship with them.
We are the purveyor of manly happiness, and if our customer is happy, then we are happy. And then obviously price is not really the most decisive criteria as the loyalty to our brand is priceless.
UA: What is the age group you target?
FC: Hackett is known as a brand which is able to accompany men for a whole life, as our range starts with our infant line (beginning with size 1 year), and the main range is more or less ageless. Although we do regard 30+ as our target group, we can also observe that generations of fathers and sons are coming to our store, and with millennial influence on their parents becoming more apparent in their style, we are confident that this will continue to become more important.
Also, what is interesting is we have a lot of couples here in Leipzig where the women are browsing in adjacent stores while their spouses come to our shop. With spring around the corner and people visiting local attractions, lots of men are visiting our store and are surprised by our offer, and normally nobody leaves the store empty-handed. When you come to Hackett, you will always make a find.
In addition to the clothing line, we have cardholders, key rings, socks, shoes, belts, scarves or other accessories.
On behalf of The Leipzig Glocal, I’d like to thank Mr. Di Caro for his time and wish him all the best with Hackett in Leipzig. While I browsed through the tables and shelves, I found a wonderful double face scarf and tartan shirt for my husband and son.
So I guess in the future there will also be more women shopping there, while enjoying a wonderful cup of cappuccino with Francesco.
Intro by maeshelle west-davies
Interview by Uemit Appenzeller