Whether you’re a fan or not, when Robbie Williams walks into a room, people listen. What they don’t expect him to be talking about is fashion.
However, since the launch of William’s brand Farrell in September 2011, he has been instrumental not only in promoting the brand by attending launches but actively talking about the inspiration behind the collection.
Already stocked in House of Fraser and Selfridges, Farrell now plan to wholesale to a select group of independents across the UK. With this in mind, the brand invited these said independents (and myself) to an intimate event at the Durrants Hotel in London.
Williams is joined at the event by his partner in crime and head of design Ben Dickens. Having met the two before when interviewing them for a Drapers Close-Up, the relationship between them is great to watch, with the two bouncing off of one another from the start.
Whilst Williams seems more subdued than the previous meeting, as soon as they begin to discuss the product he becomes completely animated and explains his initial reasons for launching the brand. “I wanted my mates in the pub to be able to afford the same gear I was wearing – and of the same quality”.
Having had the chance to look through the Autumn 13 collection the pieces are strong, particularly the outerwear which can only be credited to ex-Burberry Ben Dickens. Whilst he refers to the details of each piece - patched pockets, action back, half belt throat latch, zig zag stitching, brushed pocket warmers – Williams tells the story of the “stash pocket” charming the room with his mischievous sense of humour. “I thought it would be important for a gentleman to have a statsh pocket so the statsh pocket runs through everything we do from t-shirts to sweatshirts and of course jackets – because you never know when you’re going to have to stash something away - bus fare home or…. .”
And that sets the tone for the rest of the presentation, which is funny owing to the personalities of the two characters before us, but also seriously informative about the collection. Whilst Williams will always draw publicity to the brand, it is ultimately the product that will be the decider on the longevity of Farrell. And if the reaction from a number of indies I spoke to after the event is anything to go by, the collection has definitely impressed.