As part of our ongoing investigation into what all of our mates who are miles cooler than us are up to, this time around we’ve dropped in on Kestin Hare. Currently making some of the best menswear around under his eponymous label Kestin he’s also been busy designing the new Berghaus premium range, which we were lucky enough to check out at Paris fashion week earlier this year and haven’t stop talking about ever since.
So Kestin, how are you finding life in the new normal?
It’s a bit of a roller coaster isn’t it?! Work wise we have been busier than ever and haven’t stopped. In our business you’re always working ahead so our eyes our on 2021 and how we can up the ante. There’s a lot of pretty heavy stuff going on in the world, so I’m trying to keep focused and positive for my team and my family. The homeschooling part of this has been the hardest thing really, I just feel for my kids. How can anyone work and look after children properly I don’t know. I’ve adapted to most things now, but I’ll be glad when I know my kids are back at school with their friends having fun again, and I can properly focus on the business.
What changes has the lockdown period made to you on a personal level?
It’s spurred me on to help people even more than I would have done. Seeing the people you love become super vulnerable is scary, so it felt good to be able to provide food delivery every week to my parents that were shielding. Before I would have been “too busy” or away with work, but it’s made me prioritise family over everything else. It’s also the small gestures that count too, in lockdown you could only be kind and practical and I quite like that way of living now.
What about in terms of the brand, will it change the way you do business and sell your products now?
We felt it was an opportunity to innovate and see how hard we could push ourselves. It’s accelerated a lot of changes we knew we had planned, but now we have pushed them through. For example we have delivered our own digital wholesale site for our new collection next year, hosting everything in one place that mirrors our own e-commerce site. Super easy to use, represents our brand identity and even hosts video of every single garment on a model. We are so passionate about our collections it feels weird not to get to show people in person, but we have done everything we can to bring it to life online. I’m partners in showroom Welcome Edition (usually held during Paris Fashion Week) so we have launched our digital showroom for SS21 which has been performing well. We are also working hard on our customer direct strategy online which has been really promising sales-wise during lockdown, and some exiting NPD. We have been reviewing our supply chain too and looking at ways we can innovate locally in the future.
We are actually just about to launch our own face mask in collaboration with Scottish mill Halley Stevensons. The special performance cloth was originally developed, trialled and approved for NHS Tayside scrubs and face masks by Halley Stevensons, and if it’s good enough for them we figured it was a great starting point. The face mask is made from this double layered Pima cotton and proudly made in Scotland. 20% of profits will be donated to the With Kids Charity, supporting mental health for children and families in some of Scotland’s most deprived areas. Mental health is going to be more important than ever now.
What’s helped to keep you sane during isolation?
My kids have been amazing and really kept me going. I’ve got two wee girls and as I’ve not been away I’ve got to see so much more of them. Running has been another thing. It makes me feel good and helps me to keep calm. My wife and I have been getting a bit competitive on our times, hah.
Sitting here Scotland seems a fair bit more clued up than us here in England in terms of staying safe, do you ever find yourself looking in a Southerly direction and saying ‘what are they doing???’
Nah, I don’t think anyone really knows what’s going on do they? It’s never black and white and the hardest thing to do is balance saving lives with the economy. It’s chaos everywhere. Im hoping for more co-operation from everyone to get this country back up and running to deal with something that clearly isn’t going anywhere.
Looking forward, what can we expect to see from future Kestin collections?
I’m pushing myself to do more innovation in fabric development. I’ve been working on some great technical cloth. I’m interested in fabrics that can be multi functional so lightweight, breathable and water repellent. I’m looking at amazing vintage pieces too. There’s always inspiration out there and finding old quality ways of doing things and then making them your own. There’s also so much more to Scottish culture and how it’s represented that I’m discovering and want to include in my collections. Art, architecture, textiles, people. Loads more to come.
Speaking of which the Kestin instagram feed has featured some fantastic shots recently, especially that jaw-droppingly beautiful brutalist football ground, where is it and what’s the story??
Ah yes that’s the Category A-listed Gala Fairydean Rovers Football Club in Galashiels. One of my favourite Architects Peter Wormersley designed it in the 1960s, it’s been closed since 2018 but repair and conservation work to start soon. His buildings are dotted around Scotland and are world class brutalist examples. I’ll take you on a tour if you’re keen to come up to the Scottish Borders? (100% mate!)
You’re also involved in the Berghaus Blueprint project, can you tell us more about your involvement and when we can get our hands on this exceptional outerwear?
This is really exciting for us and to be honest it’s hard not to talk about. Something I’ve been working on with Berghaus for over a year now. An honour to be asked to be involved with such an iconic brand. I can’t reveal too much yet but we are looking at an October launch, super limited edition and it’s going to be big. It’s been tough keeping the samples in the showroom if you know what I mean…… everybody wants a piece now.
From what I’ve seen it’s a really clever combination of the old and the new, did you find it difficult to balance both those elements out?
Thats what I love to do, there’s so much amazing design history in the Berghaus archive but it’s the best challenge to reimagine that for today’s customer.
Do you have a favourite piece from the AW20 collection?
Trango or the Mera Peak. Don’t make my pick my favourite child…..
Last question, where do you see yourself in five minutes?
I’m actually off fishing with my kids and wife today for my birthday! Sun is shining too. Happy days.