“The Future is Bright, The Future is British” by Jess Roche, Founder

The Times article
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/consumer/article3937680.ece
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As I sat, reading The Times over breakfast on Monday 2nd December, I got a bit of a shock when I read the page 5 article about Jeremy Hackett’s claims about British tailoring. He said, “who can make a quality Jermyn Street shirt these days? It’s pretty much gone.” Well if this was the case, I would have found it impossible to source a top quality British manufacturer for my clothing company, Oswald & Kane.

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Proudly showing off my British made shirts

After leaving school at 18, I founded my own clothing company, with the aim to manufacture as many products in the UK as possible. I knew this would be a challenge, with more and more companies transferring their manufacturing overseas; but it was a challenge I was willing to accept. I tried a few different kinds of manufacturers, from the small fashion units, found in East London, to a larger manufacturer, that specialises in high quality shirts.

I am 21 now, and Oswald and Kane has been running for over a year. At the moment we sell online, and have done some small shows, as we love meeting people and talking about our shirts and where they are made. Many people are surprised, as a start up, that our shirts are made in Britain, but they also seem to be under an illusion, that all the brands that trade on their “British heritage” actually manufacture all their clothing over here.

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A ladies shirt, from the Oswald & Kane collection

Although I was certain about having British made shirts, I did not want to compromise their quality, just to have the “Made in Britain” label on them. All our customers have commented favourably on the quality of our shirts. A lot of time has been spent in ensuring they are the best quality, even though they are smart casual shirts, an area of shirting where quality often comes a long way after the brand name.

A lot of clothing companies, that manufacture overseas, have such a large demand for clothing orders, that many current UK factories would struggle to cope. That does not mean it is impossible to bring back British manufacturing, but these companies would need to start transferring work back to factories over here, and overtime the British clothing manufacturing industry would start to boom. The main reason for moving production overseas for any company, is an increase in profit margins, rather than poor quality British manufacturing. We have a lot of niche markets for high end clothing, but we also still have a strong manufacturing base for tailored clothing such as suits, shirts and jackets.

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One of our models, showing off a high quality British shirt.

 

An Oswald & Kane shirt, costs up to £89, which is in the “upper high street” bracket. The price takes into account the cost of the quality shirting fabric that we use, as well as the cost of high quality British manufacturing. Although £89 makes them far from the cheapest smart casual shirts on the market, it does not make them more expensive than many big brands, and often come in cheaper, even though they are made in the UK. I believe if you are proud enough to flaunt your British heritage, then you should make every attempt to help the British economy, and make as many of your clothes over here as possible! I would, personally, feel very uncomfortable in trading on my company’s British roots, if I did not have the majority of my products made over here; and this is something I will stick to as the company grows.

I am realistic enough to realise, that especially in cheaper made goods, it is not economically viable at the moment to make all these products over here. I remember trying to find somewhere in the UK that could make polo shirts and hoodies, when I considered a more casual line, and I did draw a blank on who could manufacture these. This made me more surprised that Jeremy Hackett, highlighted British tailoring as being the poor quality part of British manufactured clothes. There are fantastic manufacturers, that make not only shirts, but tailored jackets, and beautifully cut suits.

I believe the quality of tailoring you can get over here is fantastic, and although it costs more than overseas, I believe that is a cost worth paying. I believe as a country, we are thinking more about ethical production, and where our clothes come from. In different industries such as farming, there are different schemes promoting British produce, and in other industries  we are constantly reminded about how far things have travelled, and the effect on the environment. We need a similar promotion in the fashion industry, where consumers have a transparent labelling system, where companies must limit their marketing on their British heritage, unless they start manufacturing a higher percentage of their goods in the UK.

The fashion world, has transformed, from well made pieces that are made to last, to a world of “fast fashion” where trends come and go, and clothes are seen as disposable, as they are so cheap. I think this opinion is slowly on the decrease, with the “future generation” which at 21, I see myself as part of, starts to consider the ethical side of manufacturing clothes, and thinks about quality over quantity. It may be a slow process, but it is one we really must encourage. I do believe, there is a great future for manufacturing in this country, especially in the classic style of tailored clothing.

If you have any questions about this blog post, or want a press release on it, please contact:

jess.roche@oswaldandkane.com

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Oswald & Kane Rep Scheme

Welcome to our brand new Oswald & Kane rep scheme!

We are looking for reps in British universities, societies and towns; to promote the Oswald & Kane brand!

If you are interested please email over:
-A copy of your CV
-A photograph of yourself
-A brief note as to why you think you would make a perfect rep for Oswald & Kane

jess.roche@oswaldandkane.com or info@oswaldandkane.com

Oswald & Kane currently sells British made shirts, made by the shirt experts, Rayner & Sturges, down in the West Country. Our shirts are made with love and attention, and provide the perfect balance of smart and casual.

As a rep you will receive 10% of everything you sell, and you will be able to offer your friends, colleagues and acquaintances a 10% discount off all Oswald & Kane shirts. The more you sell, the more benefits there will be!

If you are appointed as an Oswald & Kane representative, you will be encouraged to set up your own Twitter page as a link to the company, and you will be strongly encouraged to invite all your friends to “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. You will be able to offer your friends and associates, the best deals around!

Being an Oswald & Kane rep will look great on any CV and really help with promoting, communication and sales skills.

We are looking for confident people that love interacting with their fellow students/associates. A knowledge of social media such as Facebook and Twitter will be an advantage!

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European Shipping

Oswald & Kane is proud to announce that we will now be shipping to a selection of European countries as well as accepting the Euro!

We now ship to:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

We are hoping to extend our shipping area very soon to include non European countries.

We have a flat rate shipping fee of £8.95 and all parcels will require a signature on receipt.

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Facebook and Twitter

Are you a social media user?

Over the upcoming months we are going to become more interactive on social media, especially Twitter and Facebook.

If you don’t “follow” or “like” us already, then why not check it out!

www.facebook.com/oswaldandkane

www.twitter.com/oswaldandkane

 

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Our First Stall

On Saturday 30th March we braved the blizzards and had our first stall at the Essex & Suffolk Point-to-Point at Higham.

Thank you to everyone who came over to visit us, especially those of you who bought shirts!


We will hopefully be doing a few more stalls over the next few months, with the next two being:

Saturday 6th April- Essex Point-to-Point at High Easter, Essex

Saturday 27th April- Puckeridge Point-to-Point at Horseheath, Cambridgeshire

We are also looking at adding a new product to go with our shirt collection! We will update you shortly!

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Contrasting Cuffs

One of the distinctive features of our luxury, casual shirts, are their cuffs. We think they give a stylish finish to the shirt, and something a little bit different.

The sleeves can be rolled up showing a hint of colour for a more casual look with jeans, or kept done up for a more smart/casual dress code.
The underneath of the collars is also made of a contrasting fabric, so if you like to wear your collar up, our shirts are perfect for you!

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Launch Party

We held our launch party at Ashfields Carriage and Polo Club in Essex.

Thank you to those of you who came along, and for anyone that couldn’t make it, here is a chance to have a peek at the day.

Here are some photos from the party, photographed by Roy Strutt www.strutt.org

 

Oswald and Kane launch party at the Ashfields Carriage and Polo Club from Roy Strutt on Vimeo.

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Our First Photoshoot

On one of the only warm days of October, a group gathered down in Ongar in Essex for the first Oswald & Kane photoshoot.

Here is the team:

(From left to right: Roy Strutt (photographer), Henry (model), Zoe (all round good egg and helper), James (model), Kate (model), Andrew (model), Jordan (lighting assistant 1) and Emma (lighting assistant 2)

Roy Strutt Photography

Roy is a photographer based in Essex although he does lots of work around the South East and Eastern region. He specialises in portraiture and wedding photographs as well, as you can see from our photoshoot, in lifestyle fashion shoots.

Roy is an amazing photographer and we wholeheartedly recommend him to anyone. He captured the shots we were after quickly and put all the models at ease.

If you are interested in seeing more of his work and his very interesting blog, please check out his website www.strutt.org 

The Models

Finding models to help us on our first photoshoot was not the most straightforward task as it can be a pretty daunting experience! Luckily our models were made of stern stuff, and I think they quite enjoyed it. Most of them were picked up at Essex Young Farmers www.essexyoungfarmers.com thanks to Jess, the owner’s, involvement with this charitable organisation. We all think they did a splendid job on the day, and we are sure you agree that they all look fabulous!

The Glamorous Assistants

This photoshoot would not have run nearly as smoothly without Zoe, Jordan and Emma who not only contributed their time and energy but also ran around making sure lighting and the setting was perfect for shooting.

All three are students at Writtle College in Essex and if they work as hard at University as they did on the photoshoot we are sure great things lie ahead in their future.

Zoe’s contribution extended to writing lots of lists and making sure all the correct shirts and props were packed- one very organised young lady!

Emma and Jordan’s skills lay in the positioning of the lights, guided by Roy the photographer.

Oswald & Kane would like to thank everyone listed above for their help with our first photoshoot, and we hope they are as proud of it as we are.

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Our First Little Post

Well welcome everybody to our first post coming in this slightly chilly November.

Everything is all go, go, go in the Oswald world with the website having gone live last week and our launch party where all our shirts were on show.

To give you an insight into how our shirts have been designed: they are tailored, designed to flatter your figure. It is our belief that a well made shirt can conceal any flaws you think you may have and emphasise the best of your features. A shirt should also feel like a second skin, something we have spent many months perfecting.

Our ladies fit is nipped in at the waist to give you that hourglass figure so many of us crave, and our gentleman’s fit narrows in around the waist to emphasise those manly shoulders!

We believe luxury should be available to the masses, something that ends up being most cost effective than buying fast fashion imported from the Far East. A good shirt should last you years, unless you do some rather crazy things in yours!

We love hearing from our customers so please send in your photos of you wearing the latest Oswald & Kane shirt and we love to hear what you think of our clothes, so please drop us a line about them or review them on our product page.

We will be constantly updating our website, Twitter, Facebook and this blog, and our next post will give you more of an insight into the Oswald & Kane World!

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