The Knightsbridge Knowledge

Head to Beauchamp Place tomorrow to chat over the finer things in life with a selection of the best small, craft and bespoke brands

Article by Rupert Watkins

Those interested in elegance and the finer sartorial details of life should beat a path to Beauchamp Place (no dawdling in Harrods please) to visit The Independents Club. The club is a forum to support and facilitate small, boutique traditional craft brands. Running a pop up in the heart of SW1 from tomorrow for six days, between Thursday 24th and Wednesday 30th of September, six sartorial brands are exhibiting over the period.

Hawkins & Shepherd shirtmakers, Struthers watches, Masel ties, Oppermann leather, Tom Smarte hats and Calder tailors make up the core group displaying at this event. Hawkins & Shepherd, founded by Carl Thompson have only been in existence since 2013 but are already quietly making waves. Driven by a passion for classic pin and tab collared shirts, Carl taps into the long and distinguished history of English individuality and eccentricity in stylish dress. Those looking for a little more dapper than the usual bulk bought work shirt, should certainly check them out.

Founded by watchmaker Craig and antiquarian horologist Rebecca Struthers, Struthers of London look to produce unique and modern timepieces re-commissioning antique watch movements. Their watchmaking skills are in-house and the company works closely with design, engraving and leather experts. They collaborate with Morgan cars and offer a full bespoke watch making service as well. From Italy, Masel ties was created in late 2013 by investment banker turned tie fanatic Luca Maselli who saw a niche to tap into the Italian expertise and love of high quality silks. Offering both ready to wear and bespoke ties were the length, lining and width can be customised – as well as initials embroidered – these are supremely elegant and classic ties.

Tom Smarte is actually a very old English hatmakers, tracing its roots back as far as 1786. The name was revived in 2015 by Allon Zloof who set to work bringing both hat making and hat wearing into the 21st century. Made in London, Tom Smarte sells a comprehensive selection including trilbys, fedoras and flat caps using colourful felts and tweeds to give an edgier feel to this formerly overlooked item in the dapper man’s wardrobe. After decades of decline, hat wearing is showing true green shoots of recovery with companies such as Tom Smarte in the vanguard.

Attempting to buy his brother Mattis a decent laptop folder but finding branded leather goods overpriced and of dubious provenance fired Niklas Oppermann – soon joined by Mattis – to found Oppermann of London leather. In existence from 2011, the firm fuses Swedish functional and minimalist design with the finest Italian vegetable tanned leather to create a stylish range of very attainable folders, bags and wallets. Looking to deal directly with customers and suppliers as an online brand, the Oppermann brothers are determined to offer very high quality goods at the fraction of the usual bloated price tag.

Calder of London look to combine the best of British craftsmanship and women’s style to produce a range of timeless, classic garments that can genuinely be seen as investment pieces. Using the finest English and Scottish tweeds and wool, Calder offer both a made to measure service (including for men) as well as a capsule range of jackets, skirts and dresses online.

Away from these core exhibitors, The Independents Club also has a number of evening talks from firms as diverse as Morgan sports cars, Higgs & Crick, the boutique furniture and homeware company founded by William and Ben Hartley and the Pall Mall Barbers who will be discussing and demonstrating the finer points of gentlemen’s grooming. Should you be in the environs of Knightbridge and feel the need of a break to indulge your love of the finer things in life, head later this week or over a lazy weekend to 19 Beauchamp Place. riddle_stop 2


Event Details: The Independents Club, 19 Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge SW1 / September 24 th – 30th, 2 – 11pm daily /

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