The middle ground of modern menswear at Hardy Amies

Darren Barrowcliff, the Savile Row tailor's head of design, on finding the balance between formal and fun


I don't think a lot of today's designers are stopping to look at the gaps and needs in the menswear marketplace. This season I wanted to do just that – focus on creating a balance between clothing for day and night, elevating casual pieces with luxury elements while introducing unexpected details to tailoring and formalwear.

This is particularly important coming from the position of a brand such as Hardy Amies. There's a lot of stuffiness associated with "The Row" [Savile Row], which is something I want to take the brand away from. The AW16 collection is a contemporary statement about men's dress. It's about offering the modern guy options and a cooler approach to wearing clothes, with versatile looks that enable you to get mileage out of the pieces you invest in.

The outerwear features slouchier, sleeker silhouettes. With the pea coat, I've elongated the shape, making the lapel longer and bringing in a drop shoulder. It creates a look that I call "good sloppy" – dishevelled but still very chic.

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We always offer great classic tailoring, but I also wanted to move the suit on for our customers. A lot of people have picked up on the cargo-style pockets on the trousers – it's small details like this that enable the wearer to say something different with a suit. That's the fun of clothing, and the fun of moving on in menswear, which isn't very easy to do in a subtle Savile Row manner. I think we're achieving it really interestingly. At the end of the day it's completely wearable, and that's the key. These pieces are also sold as separates, so you can get that additional wear out of them – you could mix and match suit trousers with a jumper and T-shirt, for example.

Another highlight is the cocktail suit. Again, this is a menswear brief I'm aiming to fulfil – an evening event might not necessitate a full-on dinner suit, but men also might not want to go out in the same suit they've worn at the office all day.

This provides a middle ground – something that's still a suit, but enhanced through the fabrication and details such as smoked mother-of-pearl buttons.

Ultimately, I'm aiming to get guys interested in the brand and being involved. I want to stay away from the prissy and pristine side of things and create more accessibility, but also guarantee a level of design and quality that isn't the churned-out, throwaway culture that has become the norm. That being said, I don't like to watch people see things they love and think, "That's great, but I could never afford it". Where’s the fun in that?

DARREN BARROWCLIFF is head of design at Hardy Amies. As a native of Detroit, his taste is informed by a love of the eclectic music scene of that city. He found his way to the UK via Parsons School of Design in New York, and his stateside punky roots are finding expression in his work at Hardy Amies;

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