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Q&A with Jamie Harris, founder of Modern English

Jamie Harris

Jamie Harris


Jamie Harris founder Of Modern English

What is the Modern English design process like?
It doesn’t happen in some studio in Dalston. It’s a conversation between a designer, a maker and me, with the majority of the design work happening at the maker’s bench. When we have some physical output, we test it by wearing it.

It’s not a conventional fashion approach; it’s probably closer to product design. It’s why we don’t have a seasonal schedule, because when you do that, you’re tempted to deliver something before it’s ready.

Is Modern English a heritage brand?
I’m not sentimental; I’m more interested in progress than retrospection. As a group, we strive to make things the best they can be, which means they have to function in a contemporary context. The England I love has historically been churlish, irreverent and independent. It’s the birthplace of punk. That’s why I don’t want to be part of the gang flogging traditionally welted brogues with a twist. Surely it’s time for something new?

What’s next?
We’re a small, self-funded brand and we want to grow organically. Rather than have a big range with the lifespan of a season, we’re about minimalist, function-led design. We’ll be adding bags after Christmas, then small leather goods. We’re also launching our ecommerce site in December.

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