Some of the most worthwhile designs ever produced were created because someone, somewhere, felt that what was available wasn’t good enough. This was the case for Becky French in 2010. After compiling a blog of inspirational images of razor-sharp neckwear and sketches, the London-based creative decided to call off the search for the perfect necktie and designed Marwood London’s first collection.
Having just released its fifth collection, the brand was apparently what a lot of other neckwear enthusiasts were looking for too. Slim silhouettes and unconventional fabrics such as wool and lace have given neckwear a new lease of modernity without straying from good old-fashioned quality and ethics, as all pieces are created in Britain using fine British cloth.
The Manual caught up with the Becky French to talk sartorial heroes and Christmas plans.
Tell us about the AW13 collection.
It was inspired by many train journeys and Jean Cocteau’s style and eccentricity. English scenes of blurred landscapes, copper fields, broken industrial stripes, cricket fields and kingfishers is abstractly captured in English woven silk and wool – like a familiar aran knit reinvented as a jacquard cloth and a vibrant copper coloured Mogador quality.
Your designs fuse British heritage style with clear-cut modernity. How do you achieve this?
Thank you, that is nice to hear! I love the old archives in fabric mills and factories and appreciate established techniques of the past but enjoy experimenting with that. We want to achieve wearable accessories but always strive for newness and innovation. We make mohair socks rather than cashmere. We use unusual fabrics like English lace in men’s neckwear. It is a process of playing with the unexpected.
In your opinion, what’s the best way to style a Marwood necktie?
I like a simple four in hand knot – a school tie knot in my mind. I like seeing guys style the ties with denim shirts and wool layers or undone collars and rolled up sleeves. It is quite refreshing to see Marwood ties de-formalised and enjoyed. As for the lace bow ties, these create an amazing alternative black tie formal looks.
Do you ever feel like a woman in a man’s world?
Yes sometimes but it’s not something I dwell on. I enjoy working on products whether they are for men, women, occasions or specific personalities. It is important to stay focused on a design point of view and if that has a feminine take on a menswear product, then hopefully interesting results occur from that. I don’t find it holds me back by being a woman designing menswear – it just adds another element of interest!
Who are your male style icons?
Men of the past: Jean Cocteau & Frank Sinatra
Men of the present: Sir Ian McKellen & Yasiin Bey are both snappy dressers. Director and actor, Richard Ayoade loves a Marwood tie and he is a perfect ambassador for us as a smart, talented and very funny dude.
Finally, what are your plans for Christmas this year?
Spending it with my boyfriend and our families between London and Somerset and then celebrating with friends for New Year in Devon. Can’t wait.