The director and designer at premium menswear brand Percival tells Graeme Moran why its new store is here to stay.
Your first permanent Percival store opens this week. Why now and why on Berwick Street, Soho?
It’s a culmination of natural growth and experience at retail. We’ve had five pop-up shops and now want a permanent home for the brand. We also wanted an area that balances our independence but is still discoverable. Berwick Street has some random shops but among them a real community of great businesses including Oliver Spencer, Foot Patrol and Supreme.
Tell us about the concept of the new store.
Our garments always have a subtle twist, whether it be a golden lining, custom pattern or embroidery, and we wanted the store to echo these little details. We have hand-painted, reclaimed enamel lamps and reclaimed oak floor, but this contrasts nicely with clean walls and geometric, clean wood.
You have collaborated with The Sculpture House on a piece of in-store art – tell us about this.
It’s a Persian rug but cast in concrete by artist Alex Chinneck. It will be an ideal focus and talking point of the interiors in the store. That idea of subtly subverting something normal fits the ethos of Percival.
Opening a permanent shop is a big step – what other plans do you have?
The needs of the store change the seasonal design process, so we plan to introduce a more basic range available all year round. Also, we have started to develop accessories and leather goods, some of which should be available when we open.
You believe in quality workmanship and local production. How does this manifest itself?
That ethos manifests itself more easily in some garments than others! For outerwear we have a found a few local factories in Bethnal Green, Stratford and Dalston; suppliers are more willing to make small quantities of outerwear at a fair price. Some key pieces of shirting are still made here, for example, our origami print shirt has British woven twill that’s screen printed in London Bridge and constructed in Bethnal Green.
What can you tell us about the autumn 13 collection?
Escher is one of my favourite artists – a person that proves maths and art can coexist and depend on one another. That and the colour green have inspired the collection.
What’s your career highlight so far?
Signing the lease of the new shop.
What’s the most expensive fashion item you’ve ever bought?
A vintage kimono that cost £600 from a shop in Kyoto, Japan. The airline lost my luggage on the way back.
If you could see anyone, dead or alive, wearing Percival clothing, who would it be?
Buddy Holly, Werner Herzog and Cillian Murphy.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Shake, shake the ketchup bottle, first comes none then a lot’ll – a rhyme my grandad taught me. He was a spy in MI6.