How has Oliver Spencer managed to avoid all of the ironic and garish trademarks of
Firstly, we don’t put giant ridiculous logos on our products. I’ve managed to keep it as
tasteful as possible, and I don’t feel the need to follow trends. Hopefully people like it. If they do, that’s
great, and if they don’t – that’s fine too. But we’re always challenging ourselves. In terms of casual and
tailoring, people tend to wear casual-by-day, and tailoring-by-night. I think we’re designing more to suit these
needs, like this jacket for example (Oliver reveals a Solms jacket from the latest season).
What is the inspiration behind your latest season?
There’s definitely an Alpine theme. I love being in the mountains and getting lost in
nature – St Moritz, and those types of places especially. Since I was six, I’ve been visiting with my parents, so it
has always been an important, sentimental place for me. In the AW19 collection, we try and capture the retro styling
of ski resortwear - in particular the classic ‘jet-set’ looks: you know, striped jumpers, woven knitwear... That
type of image.
Are you an adventurous type of person?
Well, I love getting lost in the outdoors (Oliver gets his phone out and shows a photo
of him sat atop a tourer motorcycle in California). People made fun of me for the monk-straps, by the way. But I
can be a bit restless – keeping up with Jones’s so to speak. If I wasn’t designing clothes, I’d have been knocking
on Norman Foster’s door (the famous British architect), as architecture and interior design are two of my biggest
passions. More recently though, I co-founded a restaurant in Wimbledon Village called The Black Radish. It
even made its way into the Michelin Guide.
Your clothes seem ‘trans-generational’. Is that something you consider when
It’s one of my favourite challenges. I’ve recently dressed Sir Ian McKellen, Bond, and
the likes of Kojey Radical (British rapper) which is great. I love to be able to dress all the age groups. At the
end of the day, we offer lifestyle with a bit of fashion. All generations can find something in that.
You’ve been praised for your adoption of sustainable production.
Everything, from our paper packaging to our processes of manufacture, is done as
ethically as possible. This includes even our buildings, the way we handle our business, and of course our
What are some of the most memorable experiences from your career?
I have to say, having Paul Weller appear to greet me backstage at one of my most recent
shows was pretty surreal. That man has serious style, and he looks as cool today as he did back when he was part of
Style Council. I also had John Bradbury, the drummer from ska legends The Specials, perform at one of
my events, which was particularly special as we’re both from Derbyshire.
Who do you consider your own style icons?
If I’m being honest, it was always Bryan Ferry (the English singer-songwriter). He
continues to have an effect on me today; I’d like to think he would wear our velvet jackets. I’m also in love with
those old pictures of Yves Saint-Laurent – you know, back in the day when he was in Marrakesh. And then, of course,
David Niven. He had such an individual way about him – but also amazing manners. When it comes to icons, I think
it’s a lot to do with character.
You’re rather mythologised in menswear - as a bit of an icon yourself.
Well, it’s very flattering, and I like to be well-respected - as respect has less to do
with ‘you’, and more about what you do. I’ve worked so hard to have Oliver Spencer and Favourbrook respected in the
way they are today, and I love it – rag trade to the end. But, a word of advice for upcoming designers: always be
graceful and kind. Sir Paul Smith was hugely influential in this way. He warned me from having an inflated ego, to
keep your team small, and as a result I feel that my work remains personal. It’s me if you know what I