Kit Blake: Trousers to Watch

Once overlooked as a stuffy niche of the old aristocracy, the styling possibilities of tartan have been flung wide-open again. And in the realms of tailoring Kit Blake are the architects.

Out of all the mainstream cloth patterns utilized in the vernacular of menswear, tartan is in its own orbit of dynamism. Lamentably for romantics, the origins of tartans do not stem from being representative of ancient and noble clans. By default, of large-scale commercial weavers assigning pattern names from Highland clans and towns, the aristocracy picked it up and ran with the tide. It later became synonymous with criteria – some patterns are known as 'restricted' meaning they are reserved for some chiefs or the Royal Family. Coupled with its gallant measure of texture and colour and its affiliation with rules, it is why the pattern has been so freely embraced by a range of subcultures to empower identification.

Self-proclaimed rebel Vivienne Westwood used the cloth pattern to inspire the punk movement and stick two fingers up at the establishment, which proved to be success on both counts. Her exploits have left an important legacy for nonconformists, but in the midst of all the craziness, the tailoring world has reaped dividends from her revolutionary spirit. Later echoed by Alexander McQueen, their eccentric incorporations of tartan showed the power of its versatility. On a slightly more even latitude of convention, classic-cut trouser specialist, Kit Blake have now entered the fray. Co-founders Chris Modoo and Richard Wheat might not be outward political revolutionaries but they’ve been on a mission – a successful one to revolutionise the way men wear suits.


    Freddie Anderson


    October 2021


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