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Q&A with Jamie Harris, founder of Modern English

Jamie Harris

Jamie Harris

Q&A

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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