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GANZO × DRAKE'S

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GANZO × DRAKE'S

GANZO × DRAKE'SLeather products in accord with the head of the gentleman

A collaboration between GANZO and Drake's, the British brand known worldwide for its neckties and mufflers, has become a reality. We asked Michael Hill, creative director of Drake's, how the collaboration came about and his thoughts on making things.

About Drake’s

What is the concept of Drakes?

Drake’s has been around for 40 years, steadily gaining an impeccable reputation for the quality of its scarves, initially, followed by the ties and pocket squares we are now best known for. In recent years we have worked hard to define the brand in stronger terms, and to expand our offer to include Italian-made tailoring, as well as a line of English shirting, produced in our very own factory in Somerset. The idea at the heart of Drake’s is to convey a kind of relaxed elegance, and to promote the highest quality of manufacture.

What prompted Drake's to expand into Japan?

Japan has long been an important market for Drake’s. The Japanese have a deep appreciation for true craft, particularly traditional British craft, and Drake’s certainly fits that bill. Our wholesale presence in Japan was well established, but it was still our ambition to have our own little spot somewhere. The opportunity came up to open in the new Ginza Six development in Tokyo, so of course we jumped at the chance.

About GANZO Collaboration

GANZO × DRAKE'S

What are your impressions of GANZO?

In the line of work we are in, it becomes easy to recognise quality when you see it. The high standard of Ganzo products is self-evident, and it’s a brand that has developed and honed its craft over many years, something which we have a lot of respect for.

What impressions do Londoners have towards Japanese leather brands?

While Japan may not be the first country that springs to mind when one thinks of high quality leather goods, that is certainly changing. In the UK, our proximity to Italy has ensured that the market is flooded with Italian-made leather goods. These are often very high-quality, but a Japanese brand has the advantage of standing out a little more. Japan’s commitment to traditional craft and manufacture is well understood over here, so I think a ‘Made in Japan’ stamp is rapidly becoming an assurance of quality.

Why did you decide to collaborate with GANZO?

We are lucky in that much of what we sell we produce ourselves. However, when there’s something we can’t produce, we like to work with the best makers we can find, and Ganzo fit the bill there. Working with a Japanese leather company seemed a little less obvious than an Italian or British maker – we felt that Ganzo would be able to bring something to the table that other brands couldn’t.

We believe that an attribute which people who wear GANZO and Drake's have in common would be "gentleman." What does the word "gentleman" mean to Drake's?

I suppose the concept of the ‘gentleman’ is quite a British idea, and we try to maintain a distinctly British character in everything we do. To us it means being stylish and refined, while remaining lighthearted and a little playful. It’s not too buttoned-up, not too serious, but equally it’s keeping things relatively pared down.

About Mughal patterns

Please talk about the historical background and story.

Mughal art is a tradition that originates in India, during the reign of the Mughal Empire, which ran from the 16th to the 18th Century. It’s a visual style that draws from the Far East as well as Europe. It generally trades in very stylized, very detailed scenes, which lend themselves well to being printed onto fabric.

Please talk about who the designers are, and what kinds of messages are embedded in your products.

Japan has long been an important market for Drake’s. The Japanese have a deep appreciation for true craft, particularly traditional British craft, and Drake’s certainly fits that bill. Our wholesale presence in Japan was well established, but it was still our ambition to have our own little spot somewhere. The opportunity came up to open in the new Ginza Six development in Tokyo, so of course we jumped at the chance.

In what other products do you use Mughal patterns?

Mughal prints have been something of a Drake’s signature for many years. We’ve long been applying them to pocket squares and scarves. This season we have put a Mughal print on a wool challis tie for the first time.

About Leather Products

Mr. Hill, what do leather goods mean to you?

As I have said, the cornerstone of Drake’s is craft – our craftspeople are incredibly skilled, and without them we wouldn’t have the fantastic product that we end up with. Leatherwork is a comparable skill, requiring a remarkable level of diligence, patience and precision. It is so important that these skills are championed and passed on, otherwise we may find ourselves without the ability to produce such wonderful items on a large scale.

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