With a standalone store in the pipeline, things look chipper for the Cockney slang-inspired tie label
Brits love to cash in on their quintessential Englishness. But it took a visit to the US and a discussion about cockney rhyming slang for the founders of London tie brand Peckham Rye, David Walker and Martin Brighty, to dream up their archetypal British brand name.
“Peckham Rye came about as a bit of an accident,” explains Walker. “Martin was in America around the time chef Jamie Oliver was getting his name out there, and everyone wanted to know what his cockney expressions meant. Someone asked Martin what the rhyming slang for tie was. He said Peckham Rye, and realised what a great name it was for a British tie brand.”
Walker and Brighty had already been thinking about launching a fashion-led alter ego to Hunter, the traditional tie brand they set up in 1996, off the back of customers’ requests for a skinny tie style. “The Peckham Rye tie is what we call a Slim Jim. It is 6cm wide, compared to the more traditional 9cm width,” explains Walker. “Ours come in classic pin dots and polka dots, in two-colour stripes, and in more daring fabrics such as rubberised tartan and paisleys.”
Demand for the duo’s styles rocketed, and celebrities such as singer/songwriter Mark Ronson began pairing his luxury Dolce & Gabbana suits with Peckham Rye ties. “A lot of high-end designers dip their toe in skinny tie styles, but while they might retail at £95, ours come in at £55. At that price point we see it as a no-brainer,” says Walker.
Despite a successful first three years - profits have consistently grown 15% to 20% year on year since Peckham Rye’s first year of trading in 2006-07 - the duo have kept the collection tight, focusing on 10 key tie designs, alongside satin scarves, handkerchiefs and bow ties.
Stocked by upmarket department stores such as Selfridges and Harrods, independent boutiques and also etail giant Asos, Peckham Rye’s UK appeal is wide. Other
have proven harder to crack. “The US is a funny one. We’re available in Bloomingdale’s, but Barneys won’t take us because our tie widths are half a centimetre too narrow,” Walker says.
Plans include a debut standalone store in Newburgh Street, just off London’s Carnaby Street, in July. The cosy store - just 87sq ft - will include the full range of Peckham Rye and Hunter ties. “Property agents were showing us 600sq ft areas and we kept saying that all we have is a few ties, we don’t need a huge store. It’s exciting though. Buying a new shirt and tie is much cheaper than buying a suit during the credit crunch, so we’re feeling positive about the future for ties,” says Walker.
- £19 Wholesale starting price for Peckham Rye ties
- 40 Number of UK wholesale accounts
- 87sq ft Size of the debut Peckham Rye and Hunter store, which will open in July
Peckham Rye 020 7868 5525 www.peckhamryelondon.com