21st May 2018 | Words by Jack Hart @ WildBounds HQ
When Phil James first started sketching the apparel that would eventually form the basis of &SONS, conditions were less than perfect. For one, he was 30,000ft in the air en route to a family holiday, but he also had no prior experience designing or manufacturing clothing. What he did have was a list of inspirations and an eye for quality craftsmanship. For the former, think vintage workwear infused with notes of motorbike oil and paint-splattered denim. For the latter - well, just look at &SONS’ range of apparel and accessories, which are some of the finest quality garments we’ve encountered.
The basis for &SONS' entire range is a fusion of style and substance; this is clothing that will front up to daily use by hands-on creatives, artists and workmen, not just look like it does. It possesses a vintage style, yes, but that look caters for men and women for whom getting their hands dirty is a way of life: painters, mechanics, barbers, photographers, you name it. The ideal is to create quality apparel for those who will truly appreciate it in their daily life, and exude that same quality in their own work.
The name itself - &SONS - embodies this same ideal and aesthetic. James noticed a battered old store sign while photographing, with most of it faded to oblivion but still clearly proclaiming ‘&SONS’. Not only did this complement his sketches’ vintage aesthetic, it resonated in James’ own sense of family - he has two sons and endeavoured to create a family business that could be handed over to them in time. Authenticity and substance are defining values for &SONS, and its name speaks to those ideals.
No matter how substantial your designs and concepts are, though, they’ll materialise to little without practical experience. To that end, James assembled a collective of designers and manufacturers to turn his sketches into reality, with strict instructions to adhere to his focus on quality and craftsmanship. Sourcing wool from British farms and denim from specialists in Turkey, the &SONS crew set about creating a full range of jeans, shirts, jackets, boots and accessories - with breathtaking results.
Each garment is a fusion of vintage style and innovative design, tailored for use by hands-on creatives. Take their Frontier 12oz Denim Jeans: made from heavyweight selvedge 12oz blue denim, they’re designed to improve with age, fading and scarring to create an inimitable map of your experiences. The detachable chore pocket on the right hip is perfect for stashing combs, tools and valuables, while the denim bike strap keeps your turn-ups oil free while cycling. These are garments made by creatives for creatives, as those finer details show.
Every product receives the same close attention, which has resulted in a range of exceptional quality. The wool in their Pioneer II British Wool Jumper is treated so that water runs off rather than soaking in, and inside each of their Peaky Blinders-esque Baker Boy Caps sits a leather peak branded with the &SONS logo. When these garments are layered together, it creates a unique look that’s at home in urban streets or rural pubs, from the Shoreditch to Brooklyn.
James and co have been creating clothing that they themselves aspire to wear, with features that they appreciate - so far, that enthusiasm has found a willing audience in their customers. Innovation and authenticity have propelled &SONS forward, and with more exciting projects in the works, they’re not about to slow down now.