Quality classics at reasonable prices is the German menswear label’s plan of attack in the UK
Managing director Roger Brandts created Fynch-Hatton in 1998, after watching Hollywood blockbuster Out of Africa. Inspired by British explorer Denys Finch Hatton’s grace and style in early 20th-century colonial Africa, the Fynch-Hatton brand is synonymous with the rugged elegance Hatton epitomised in the midst of his Serengeti adventures.
The brand’s core collection, ranging from classic knitwear to sporty polos and sweats, exudes high-quality workmanship and is made from ethically sourced natural fibres such as long-stapled cotton, lambswool and cashmere. Bestsellers include pullovers refined through washing to create a super-soft handle; hand-stitched cashmere knits sourced in Outer Mongolia; and cosy fleece-lined wool cardigans and pullovers.
For autumn 10, the collection delves into a sophisticated palette, using grape and wine shades to spice up a spectrum that also takes in teal, charcoal and shades of brown. The season will also see the brand extend its range of casual two-ply cotton shirts.
Fynch-Hatton was brought to the UK four years ago by Michael Spriggs and his eponymous agency. Spriggs says knitwear in general was trading poorly that season so he felt cautious about the launch. However, retailer reactions soon changed his mind. “Customers naturally gravitated towards it and it became obvious that the merchandise was extremely good for the price. The idea is to give customers really top-end quality and lower prices,” he says.
With wholesale prices ranging from £19 to £35, Spriggs sees the German import as a bridge brand in the UK. “A lot of retailers are putting it next to Ralph Lauren, Gant and Tommy Hilfiger, and Fynch-Hatton comes in just under them in terms of price point,” he says.
It’s a point underlined by Brandts. He says: “Our job is to be a bridge between private label and designer.” He notes that casual shirts have been crucial to growing sales and emphasises the importance of quality: “The reason for our success is the price/quality ratio. These days you can’t sell rubbish so the quality has to be really high.”
Now stocked in more than 120 department stores and independents across the UK, Fynch-Hatton has doubled its turnover in the past three years - although Brandts won’t give sales figures, he estimates that it is sold in nearly 1,000 doors internationally - and Spriggs says that growth has been reflected in the UK.
Fynch-Hatton will make its UK trade show debut at Moda Menswear in Birmingham on February 21-23.