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Brand Profile: Nigel Cabourn

Lifestyle brand Nigel Cabourn is undoubtedly one of the most hyped high-end new comers to the heritage market in recent years. But contrary to many of its competitor this brand can actually back every single stitch with a rich knowledge and experience. It’s really not that hard to see the difference between the imitators and the originals, which is probably also why Nigel Cabourn Authentic has become such huge success after only seven years in business.

Inspiration for the spring/summer 2013 season is taken from sports and Olympics, and along those lines developed it into a cricket and golfing theme. Especially the cricketer Denis Compton who spent the whole of his career in the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s with Middlesex has fed the designers with inspiration. Basically they wanted to keep their trademark military look and mix it in the other influences, which is why the collection has been split into three sub-collections. First is the classic range, which includes new developments in terms of seamed sealing on the shower proof Ventile garment; secondly the sports and cricket inspired collection; and finally third is the jungle story.

Known as a rather heavy jacket, the Cameraman (below) is already an iconic Cabourn style and for the spring it’s been further development by using L34 Ventile fabric to make the garment lighter. The fabric was developed during WWII to keep pilots landed in water alive. Today the fabric is used as an exclusive 100% cotton technical material. Also, the new Cameraman has every seam sealed and in combination with the Ventile fabric it will be almost completely water and wind proof. To match the Ventile jackets Nigel Cabourn has collaborated with Converse to make a sneaker in the same fabric.

All fabrics and trims are specially and exclusively made for Nigel Cabourn, including the lovely Prince of Wales check, and generally a lot of thoughts have been put into every detail. Every piece in the collections is developed in close cooperation with the factories, which the designers visit regularly. This is far from the normal procedure in the clothing business in terms of design; it’s completely unique and that’s what makes the products unique. One could say that Nigel Cabourn turns the clothing world as we know it upside down.

Nigel Cabourn collaborates with Merz b. Schwanen to make special pieces of his amazing jersey.

Nigel Cabourn has been working in the industry for 40 odd years and he started straight out of Fashion College in New Castle where he has been based ever since. Together with Drew Holmes he started the Nigel Cabourn Authentic brand in 2005, so it’s still a quite young company, but they really have the knowledge to back it up and it’s already a massive success. Nigel has previously worked with his own brand Cricket, but he has also worked closely with some rather famous people in the business like Paul Smith in the 70s. Nigel has always been very passionate about honest products and never made off shore or been interested in manufacturing in China. That’s what give the garments such a special feel to them.

For this spring season the brand has worked a bit on price points to introduce more affordable basics, like three different styles of shirts in different fabrics retailing around the £200 mark, give or take. But the fact that the brand is generally known for its outerwear makes the spring season a hard one to sell.

Nigel Cabourn Authentic is made in England while the Nigel Cabourn mainline (pictures below) is made and designed in Japan.

This is the cricket collection.

Nigel Cabourn reintroduced the cricket hat.

Below is the jungle collection.

The brand has about 15 retail accounts in England, a good amount of accounts in Germany, VMC in Switzerland, shops like Barney’s in the US, and some very exclusive retailers in Japan as well. Germany is actually one of the strongest European markets for Nigel Cabourn with some very loyal retailers like 14 oz., a massive backer of the brand. In the opinion of one of the designers, the Germans seem to take it a little bit more seriously and respect the quality of the products and the prices that go along with it, whereas the price point may be a bit too high for many Britons who don’t quite understand it. But wholesale is tricky and the next big thing for Nigel Cabourn is to open a flagship store in London to be able to present the brand in a proper way.

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