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S.E.H Kelly, Customer Spotlight #10

S.E.H Kelly, Customer Spotlight #10
30/06/2015

S.E.H Kelly is the collaboration of Sara Kelly and Paul Vincent. Founded in 2009, the brand has been committed to keeping their garments 100% British using the finest sourced materials around the British Isles. Their style offers the gentlemen a clean and contemporary look, while resonating quality craftsmanship. Each individual garment shows how S.E.H. Kelly have utilised our landscapes heritage working with cotton mills, linen weavers, horn button makers and brass foundries (such as ourselves) stretching from the South West right up to the Inner Hebrides. Never more has the phrase ‘Best of British’ been so honest. We caught up with Paul to find out more…

Who or what inspired S.E.H. Kelly? We began the brand a few years ago, after Sara had finished her time working on Savile Row. The idea was to use the same mills and factories with which she had become acquainted with on the Row -- the best of the best, all across the British Isles -- but to make garments perhaps better-suited to everyday wear.

What does the “E.H” stand for? I am afraid to say that one is a secret.

If you were to describe S.E.H. Kelly in three words, what would they be? Quiet and simple and unassuming.

How do you balance creativity with commerce? What ties the two things together is quality, and making things in a way which will endure. Most of our designs are simple, and pared back, but they are always made in a way that is, for want of a better word, proper. They are made properly -- which is where the makers I mentioned above come in. Their expertise, be it in cloth or components or cutting and sewing, keeps our ideas and our designs on the straight and narrow.

You have proven popular with the Japanese market. Why do you think this is? There is simple a huge menswear market out there, for one, with hundreds of independent shops all over the country. There is also a long-standing appreciation of things British in Japan, especially the old and the traditional -- which is a bracket into which a lot of our cloth mills and other suppliers fall into.

Over the past couple of years, there has been a real push for British manufacturing. It is quite clear that the S.E.H. Kelly brand carries a strong ethos for British made goods. How important is it for you and Sara to continue making your products here in the UK? It is really fundamental to the brand. It is one of the founding tenets. If we wished to make any aspect of our garments overseas, then we would start a different company.

How difficult has it been sourcing British made materials/components for your garments? Not in the least bit difficult. In fact, it is has and continues to be a pleasure. We have been able to get our hands on wonderful cloth, buttons, buckles, and all manner of other things, and I don't think a month goes by without us finding out about other new possibilities. We've also met some great people along the way, and clocked up a good many good train journeys.

What influences can we see in your designs? To be honest, and wishing to sound enigmatic -- our designs are formed in our heads, slowly, over time. A new one is informed by one preceding it. We evolve our designs, and introduce new ideas, or better ways of doing things, to existing designs. And, when we want to develop a new garment, it takes its cues and ideas from things that have gone before.

What is your most popular item? We find that heavy wool jackets and coats in winter do best -- especially, in recent years, with cloth made in Ireland.

Since the establishment of S.E.H. Kelly, what has been its greatest success? I think establishing the brand in the shops we're lucky enough to work with in Japan has been our biggest success. There are only two of us here, and we do everything between us, so to have shops of that calibre take interest in what we do is really a source of pride.

Where do you see S.E.H. Kelly in 5 years’ time? In much the same place -- but with better designs, better cloth, and hopefully a few new customers.

For more information on  S.E.H Kelly, Customer Spotlight #10  talk to  Abbey England Ltd

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