The next generation hits the high street

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Menswear favourite Burton mixes things up by taking on a new student designer. Rebecca Gonsalves reports

Most of the men  shopping at high street staple Burton will know little of the history of the brand. Born in Yorkshire more than 100 years  ago, the chain was founded by a Lithuanian Jewish refugee, later knighted for his services to commerce and charity.

At the time of Sir Montague Burton’s death, he presided over 600 shops, 14 factories and clothed one British man in every four. Now part of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire (also the force behind Topman and BHS), the brand’s roots are rightly something to be celebrated.

The Montague Burton collection was first launched for autumn 2011 and took the focus back to British manufacture and classic design. This season, the collection has been updated by a guest designer and, instead of calling on a household name, the brains behind the brand turned to the Royal College of Art. The students on the Fashion Menswear MA course were given a brief to create a capsule collection of eight outfits to sit within the line.

“We were told all about Montague Burton,” explains Liam Hodges, the student whose designs were inspired by the miners’ strikes of the Eighties. Considering that Burton was largely manufactured in Yorkshire for many years, this was evidence that Hodges had done his homework. “At the time I was really interested in the miners’ strikes and took a lot of images and core research from that,” he says. “I lived in Dalston [east London] at the time and the riots that were happening in Tottenham and Dalston at the time informed a lot of my work too  – looking at those culture clashes.”

Hodges was also inspired by the working class of the modern day, of which he considers himself a member: “My sister worked in Burton, I worked in BHS and my mum did. I grew up in the Medway towns in Kent, and used to go to social clubs, working men’s clubs in Rainham.”

As well as the opportunity to dress a huge section of British men, Hodges was afforded a glimpse at the manufacturing process, which will come in useful when he graduates next year. “I learnt about production practicalities – we wanted to bring English fabrics or a ‘Made in England’ element into the collections but even though production was not as large scale as usual for Burton, British companies still found it hard to cope with.”

The production team were evidently adamant about their demands, however, as yarns and fabrics are all sourced in Britain – including a Harris Tweed suit – while the lambswool for the knitwear is spun and dyed in Leeds, where Burton once oversaw the biggest clothing factory in the world. Closer to home, Hodges knows his wearable collection will have at least one fan: “My mum kept saying, ‘make sure you get them put in Savacentre in Rainham, so when I go and have my coffee on a Sunday I can see them’.”

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Guru Careers: Customer Support Advisor

    Negotiable depending on experience, plus benefits: Guru Careers: We are seekin...

    Guru Careers: Account Managers

    Competitive: Guru Careers: We are seeking Account Managers to join a Digital C...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Store Manager

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This accredited Investors In Pe...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - ASP. NET, C#

    £23000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food