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Tuesday
Mar032015

Graeme Fidler of Several;

Lots of conversations led me to believe there was a gap in the market for a British contemporary brand delivering high quality wardrobe pieces made new, wearable and relevant.


— Graeme Fidler, Founder & Designer of Several;

Founded by British designer Graeme Fidler, former head of menswear design at Aquascutum and more recently, creative director for internationally renowned Swiss-based label Bally, in autumn 2014, East London based atelier, Several, is a hybrid fashion concept; fusing Fidler’s past experiences in design roles at iconic and traditional fashion brands and his peculiar commitment to create real-life contemporary menswear. This blend of styles is made evident in Severals simple and elegant design aesthetic which has ensured that they have become popular with those who like to curate a timeless wardrobe of modern pieces.

Fidler felt there was a gap in the market for a British contemporary brand focused on high-quality wardrobe staples made new, wearable and relevant. Extensive research and subsequent regular visits to factories in Portugal and Scotland revealed an opportunity produce desirable product at an accessible price.

The design ethos behind the Several label fuses traditional British tailoring with modern design, taking inspiration from youth and sub-cultures of the past. It has given Several a clearly defined philosophy which is written into every inch of the brands collection and retail store. With a focus on understated clothing made for the style conscious man who appreciates craftsmanship, quality and design, the Several collection is considered but familiar in terms of style and silhouettes; opting to update menswear icons such as the duffle coat, a tailored blazer and the button down oxford shirt. Fidler’s utilitarian design approach is also reflected in the fabrications sourced for the collections; time and attention is paid to research for correct fabric, weave, texture to ensure a precise fit of a garment.

As a menswear stalwart, Fidler has been fortunate enough to have travelled extensively to places like Tokyo, New York, Milan, Florence, Paris and Hong Kong. These trips to fashion capitals has allowed him to discover unseen and original products and brands from early adopters which he has hand-picked to sit alongside and complement the Several collection. Each brand offers a purpose, are functional and are products that Fidler has collated in his personal wardrobe - Aspesi, Mont Bell, Levis Vintage Clothing, Converse and Paraboot, to name but a few. Spring 2015 also sees latest additions in the form of Swedish footwear specialists Spalwart, Clarks Originals and Japanese denim enthusiasts Orslow.

In their exceedingly well appointed retail space located in Rochelle’s School in London’s Shoreditch, Several is a multi-faceted endeavour which includes the Several menswear label, e-commerce business and design consultancy. Fidler has surrounded himself with experience by creating a dedicated Several team; Reuben Billingham formerly Fred Perry business development takes responsibility for the labels wholesale operations while Oi Polloi’s former operations manager Patrick Little is director of retail and e-commerce.

The Several identity and website comes compliments of London-based Commission Studio who worked closely with the Several team across all aspects of the brands output. The branding is represented by the symbol of the semicolon to convey the notion of “several” distinct items that are part of a collective. Furthermore, it reflects continuation, a link for something to follow or connect. Commission Studio purposely kept the Several branding quiet to allow a strong focus on material and technique, communicating the brand to all tastes and interests, but ultimately to be a believable contemporary menswear brand.

While the brand is still in its infancy it has already taken the right steps in establishing the label to an international audience having shown its upcoming Autumn/Winter 2015 collection at London Collections: Men and Man Show in Paris. The AW15 collection is inspired by Chris Killips’ photography series ‘Skinningrove’ which captures a glimpse into an insular working class community in Britain in the late seventies and early youth.

Several continues to develop organically while keeping to the brands ingrained philosophy - to offer clean, modern yet long lasting clothing.

LF: When and where did you study?

GF: I began my career in fashion some 20yrs ago in Newcastle. Studying in Northumbria University Newcastle and working in a tailors learning the fundamental aspects of pattern and garment making. Whilst also learning the ropes for over a year as studio assistant at Nigel Cabourn.

I then won a Royal society of arts competition for a project I carried out on Laser welding garments, this not only allowed me to work with The Welding Institute in cambridge who were also working with British Aerospace and Aston Martin to name but a few but also used the prize money to visit NY and seek employment opportunities. On arrival I was offered a great position at Ralph Lauren. A couple of years later I was offered a position back in London as Mens Designer at Aquascutum. I remained at Aqua for 7 yrs developing the global footprint and Asian market. I was then head hunted to go to Bally as Creative Director

LF: Did you have any influencers early on in your career?

GF: It's important to establish a way of working with people you trust and my tutor David Chantry in Northumbria University helped me to develop my skills and taught me to go with my gut feelings.

LF: Where do you find inspiration? Does it come in many guises?

GF: I always like the idea that inspirations are continuous. The fact I travel a lot and find inspiration can be seen in many different forms almost all of the time. I also love books, film, art and technology.

LF: Where did the concept of Several come from, a gap in the market?

GF: Lots of conversations led me to believe there was a gap in the market for a British contemporary brand delivering high quality wardrobe pieces made new, wearable and relevant. We then just began working on finding the right production, going to Portugal and Scotland frequently as at the beginning the factories know you're not going to produce a lot and you're always rendered last in line so you have to show commitment. After exploring the possibilities of these selected factories I received the first three dimensional sketches and realised it was possible to produce desirable product at an accessible price point.

LF: Do you find your approach to Several is different compared to your previous creative direction roles?

GF: The approach is new, there is a lot of choice out there, but a lot of people have became bored of fast fashion and branded luxury. I think its great to be able to channel my experience into creating product that can stand the test of time. I have a vintage Aquascutum raincoat and and pair of Levis jeans that I simply cant wear anymore. I felt attached to them because they had a unique quality and character through ageing. As I wore them, the shape, colour and the texture altered and became more personal. I always like the way clothing fits to your own body after continuous wearing, shrinking or stretching. I try and and design clean but never simple wardrobe essentials. I also take time and attention to researching the right fabric, weave, texture and fit. This is my new Several; approach to design.

LF: Where do you go for production of the Several collection? Any collaborations?

GF: We produce in Europe and work with the most suitable factories providing a great product. We have launched a collaboration with Glenroyal a Leather goods company based in Kilmarnock, Scotland.

LF: What pieces are unmissable in the current Several Collection?

GF: My favourite pieces are the British trucker jacket found in a biscuit factory lorry back in 1990. We have re-made for the several collection. It comes in British canvas with beautiful horn buttons and moleskin trim.

The Several; Peacoat in wool melton has been shortened for a contemporary fit, with an impeccable hand finished quietly luxurious welted pocket. The great coat wrap gives the wearer the option to fasten up for the elements or allow a natural break when the top two button are undone.

LF: How would you describe the Several style?

GF: The Several style is firmly embedded in British youth and sub-culture, Several offers an engaging edit of references to serve an informed man with understated clothing that focuses on quality, craftsmanship, and quiet luxury. Traditional wardrobe pieces are made new, wearable, and relevant. Modernity, detail, and soul are cornerstones of the clothing that it creates.

LF: Is the Several style similar to your own personal style?

GF: Yes, we will only design what we would wear ourselves.

LF: You also present brands alongside the Several collection?

GF: We have taken the opportunity to include brands with integrity such as Mont-Bell from Japan within our studio showroom and this allows us to complete our point of view.

LF: What's your buying approach to this?

GF: I have been lucky to have travelled extensively over the last 15yrs to places like Japan, New York, Milan, Florence, Paris and Hong Kong always looking at new and wonderful product. It is important to find newness then blend with staple icons to create a modern look.

A great new Japanese footwear brand called Doek. There are only a handful of stockists outside of Japan and I believe we are currently one of the only a few stockists in Europe. We have received the 'Oxford' and the ‘Court' style.

LF: You've travelled alot with your roles at Ralph Lauren, Aquascutum, Bally and now Several, where have you most enjoyed?

GF: Vibrant cities such as Hong Kong, New York are favourites, however I also enjoy Lisbon, Vienna and Florence.

LF: Most memorable advice you've been given during your career so far?

GF: To avoid travel sickness Don’t type interview answers in the back of a car driving from Porto to Lisbon