He firmly believes in old-school craftsmanship and making garments that are built to last. Handmade, the way things are supposed to be made. Shaun is a a self-taught tie maker who started by breaking-down and reverse-engineering vintage ties that inspired him. Over time (we’re talking many, many hours) he practiced the necessary handwork and developed a carefully-manicured “vintage dandy” aesthetic, which he uses to fuel his brand and keep the craftsmanship pride of the “good old days” alive.
Here Shaun gives us a taste of his personal style, along with some backstory of how he came to be a designer in London’s oldest clothing quarters.
All About Vintage Craftsmanship
“My first style influence was seeing old photographs of my grandfather, Alvin Gordon. He was always impaccably dressed, especially on Sundays going to church…. During university (London College of Fashion) I was what they called a ‘denim freak’. As I grew older my taste became more refined and selective, and I began wearing vintage tailoring with waistcoats and cravats. One day [as I was getting more into tailored clothing] I dressed smart to work, just because I was feeling good that morning. I’ll never forget the feeling it gave me and how differently others were looking at me and treating me… Let’s just say the rest was history.
My style is a personal interpretation of circa 1940s-60s era. It’s a little retro, a little old-school, a little dandy. In my career as a designer it has certainly opened doors for me, as my style gives a good starting point of my aesthetic and how I put together colors, patterns and textures.”
“Currently I create limited edition handmade neckties, which are available to buy online or at the Steven Hitchcock Bespoke tailoring shop based in St George street, Savile Row London.
I began making ties because I was unable to find the exact tie I was looking for. I started by visiting a few vintage markets and found some old ties that inspired me. My goal was to deconstruct these old ties and trace the base pattern onto new fabric. To put it lightly, this was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done! It took many, many attempts, but I was determined and kept practicing until it came out right. Breaking something down and trying to re-build it is a great way to learn how it works. It made me look at a tie (and the art of pattern-making) in a whole different light. It also re-enforced the belief that wearing a tie was the cherry on the cake. It’s the finishing touches in menswear that make all the difference.
In addition to my own design work (RTW and Bespoke ties) I also work with Turnbull and Asser as menswear designer, which involves refreshing their seasonal collection in harmony with their extensive heritage through fit, fabrics, colors, textures, etc. We work in a vertical operation as we have our own shirt & tie factory in England, which makes product development fun. No two days are ever alike, which is very exciting!”
- White Panama Hat by Panama Hat Company
- DB Jacket 1940s Vintage
- Grey & Tan Stripe Wool Trousers Vintage
- Piccadily Shirt by Turnbull & Asser
- Silk Tie by Shaun Gordon
- Pocket Square by Rampley & Co.
- Penny Loafers by Crockett & Jones
A Retro Suit, Re-Cut
This is a great example of how to re-invent a vintage suit and make it look modern and fresh. First, have it recut by a proper tailor, because fit and proportion is everything (see our “How it Should Fit” series).
From there, it’s all about adding personality with some hand-selected accessories, such as a navy panama hat, a serious pair of brow-line shades, a punchy silk tie, an even punchier pocket square, and maybe a vintage tie bar. And don’t forget about the manicured mustache, of course.
“I always seem to find the perfect item of clothing when I am not really looking for it, such as this Prince of Wales check suit. In a dream-like way it sort of presented itself to me, as I scrolled past the market stalls in Portobello on Sunday. The jacket fit my shoulders perfectly, even though it was slightly loose around the waist area – a simple alteration by my tailor.
This was the same jacket I wore to the “I am Dandy”(written by Natty Adams) book signing party at Grieve and Hawkes, London. I consider myself very fortunate to own such a classic and endearing piece in my wardrobe.”
- Navy Panama hat by Christys London
- Brow-line Sunglasses by Lunetier Vintage Eyewear
- Prince of Wales Suit 1950s Vintage
- Shirt by Turnbull & Asser
- Silk Tie by Shaun Gordon
- Pocket Square by Turnbull & Asser
- Silk Socks by Turnbull & Asser
- Brogue Tassel Loafers Vintage Barkers
Looking to the Past for Inspiration
“I am very inspired by Old Hollywood films and photos. It’s not so much what they are wearing, it’s more about how the clothes are being worn. It’s done with such a charm and elegance. To me, style reveals a lot about a person…even though it could all be an illusion, like surrealism.
Recently, I have found myself looking at self portraits by unique artists because I am interested in how they perceive themselves. Or, better yet, how they have decided to present themselves to the world. Artists such as Sean Keating, Van Gogh, and Desmond Haughton come to mind.”
“There are so many individuals and brands doing amazing things in the London menswear space at the moment, it’s hard to name favorites. I am bound to get myself in trouble here!
Michael Browne, tailor at Chittleborough and Morgan for his eye and craftsmanship. He creates a beautiful razor sharp cut with hand details. Adam Rogers has an essence of capturing the moment in photography and his effortless sense of style. Norwegian Rain, where function and tailoring becomes one. Steven Hitchcock for giving traditional soft tailoring a modern edge. And of course, last but not least, Turnbull and Asser for resurrecting “the Peacock of Jermyn St”.