Pocket Guide: Karl Matthews of English Cut

Karl Matthews is the Creative Director of English Cut, a relative newcomer to London’s bespoke menswear scene.
Pocket Guide: Karl Matthews of English Cut
Karl Matthews was raised in Yorkshire, and spent his teens listening to rock ’n roll, growing dreadlocks, and getting tattoos. He always knew he was going to do something creative later in life; his earliest memory of men’s clothing is of styling looks in his uncle’s store aged 15. By the time he was in his early twenties, the discovery that the late Alexander McQueen underwent an apprenticeship on Savile Row inspired Matthews to move south. He then knocked on the door of every notable institution on the Row asking for training, before being accepted by Anderson & Sheppard in 1998. He said goodbye to the dreadlocks and studied as a coat maker before switching to the cutting room floor. He honed his craft at Anderson & Sheppard for 12 years, then moved back home before joining English Cut, which was founded in 2001 by two students of his alma mater. As the Creative Director of the Chiltern Street tailor, he’s created an open-minded and exciting tailoring house that appeals to people from all walks of life. Matthews’s personal style is influenced by his past. “I suppose I’m going back to my roots — a bit more bohemian, perhaps,” he says. Always sharply dressed, he’s a fantastic representative of the brand, and is wearing one of his own creations in a denim-blue linen from Solbiati. English Cut is a relatively young tailoring house, but it’s making strong gains in London and abroad thanks to Karl’s easygoing attitude and his refreshing approach to design.
Matthews, an advocate of the British drape cut, compares the double-breasted jacket to being “like a cuddle”. The shirt is from a charity shop and the linen neckerchief is from Fariba Soltani, who makes all of English Cut’s scarves and squares in Como. In the breast pocket, Karl has a vintage cream square and a pair of classic Ray-Ban Wayfarers.
As a reference to his love of rock ’n roll, Karl is never seen without a fair amount of jewellery, mainly from The Great Frog. He favours silver over gold, and here wears a beaded bracelet made by his daughter when holidaying in Ibiza a few years ago.
Karl has a daughter, Florence, aged nine, whom he describes as his muse. He has the outline of her hand tattooed on his chest.
On entering English Cut, you can tell whether Karl is present due to his Santal 33 fragrance from Le Labo. It boasts woody, sweet and musky notes, and has “Karl loves Florence” inscribed on the label.
Karl is wearing a Tudor Black Bay diver’s watch with a NATO strap. “I can chuck it around and it fits my way of life,” he says.
Prior to joining Anderson & Sheppard, he needed a suitable briefcase. He can’t recall where he got it from but it has “been through the wars with me”, he says.
For shoes, Karl shops at George Cleverley. “I’ve had them for so long they’re like slippers, a second skin. They’re my go-tos, my old friends, and old friends never let you down.”