Heritage Research – Archive Interview with Russ Gater

Heritage, Research……If there are two words to sum up the vision of Russ Gater and Daniel Savory, these two are probably the best. Matching their extensive knowledge of the mens fashion industry with a genuine passion for clothing of real substance they have come up with a collection which expounds Heritage and Research. So that’s what they called it. We decided it’d be nice to find out more.

Russ kindly answered our questions in Issue 8 of Proper, back in early 2009.


 

 

Tell us about yourself and the people behind Heritage Research.

HR was started by Dan and I in 2008 as an ongoing project that is essentially fuelled by our interest in historical garments and their application in contemporary style. We’ve both worked within in the design and fashion industry for about 9 years and prior to that I sourced vintage clothing for for a living. Both of us have collected vintage pieces for a long time from denim to military to sportswear and so on and decided it was time to put our expertise to good use.

We’re the type of consumers that require context within the things we buy so decided to create a brand where every piece directly references a garment from the past but isn’t necessarily an exact copy, more of a hybrid of all the best elements.

Who is involved in the brand and what are they responsible for?

There’s a small team behind the brand. The concept and design is formed by myself and Dan, we provide the original source garments and designs which are then deconstructed and reconstructed by pattern maker, cutter and tailor Paul Hubbard.

Paul started his career in 1961 working for Kilgour’s of Savile Row where he initially trained as a trouser maker before climbing the ranks to become one of their head tailors in the 1970’s. Following that he started his own studio and makes garments for the likes of Paul Harnden, Vexed Generation, Hysteric Glamour, Luella, United Arrows, Giles Deacon and Beams among others. The rest of the team consists of an assistant cutter and two very skilled technicians who assemble and finish the garments. There’s an emphasis on each garment being constructed using traditional English tailoring methods.

What does that mean in laymans terms?

Basically this references an older process of making clothing that doesn’t generally exist anymore in an age of production lines of machinists, conveyor belts and laser pattern cutting. A lot of the techniques employed on the HR collection have their origins in pre WWII English tailoring.

All of the HR patterns for each style are bespoke cut by hand allowing for subtle adaptations as the garment is developed, the garments are ‘crafted’ rather than ‘produced’ as each team member is physically connected to each individual piece in the way that a traditional tailor works by hand and is connected to everything he makes.

Hand stitching is used on elements of each piece such as the bluff pocket on the Artillery Jacket which features an old bespoke method used on blazers where the stitch is invisible, we also use hand folded seams, authentic shank cuffs, elements you would usually only find on a made to measure garment. Our processes use only the simplest machinery to ensure the garments retain the feel of a bespoke piece and not the homogeneous output of a large factory. We like the fact that each piece is slightly different and not every stitched seam is exact to the millimetre.

While Heritage Research has been available in Japan before now, this is your first collection available in the UK. What made you bring it back home?

It was partly influenced by enquiries from people who had seen it in Japan and wondered why they couldn’t buy it over here but mostly due the fact that I think consumers have finally become fed up with the generic brands that are available in most stores and are actively seeking out new and interesting clothing that actually has a point for being made beyond making money. Particularly brands like Folk and YMC who offer classically styled garments seem to be crossing over to a more mainstream consumer which is great. It seemed if there was ever a time to give it a go in the UK it was now.

What are the main influences behind this collection and the brand in general?There’s a lot of American Civil War era influences in this collection that gives it cohesion and quite a strong narrative, a few other ideas were drawn from classic garments we particularly like such as 60/40 Mountain Parkas, Fishing Jackets and some later military spec stuff.

The ACW is something that particularly interests us and we find loads of contemporary applications in the uniforms and workwear of that era. The brand in general is brought to life purely by our interests in historical clothing whether it be military, outdoors, workwear or sportswear, if we like a detail, we try to incorporate it in one way or another!

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