In Conversation with Simon Maloney of New & Lingwood
Founded in Eton in 1865 by Elisabeth New and Samuel Lingwood, who later became husband and wife, New & Lingwood quickly became gentleman’s outfitter to the scholars and students of Eton school. This relationship continues today with every student’s uniform still carefully fitted in the Eton shop. After a chequered few years, fast forward to 1922 when New & Lingwood opened a shop on Jermyn Street which fired the brand into the limelight as one of London’s premier shirt-makers. This shop was destroyed during The Blitz, but their current shop at number 53 opened its doors in 1946.
New & Lingwood has since gone from strength to strength, developing expertise in each of its product lines; it absorbed two shoemakers over the course of the century, Poulsen, Skone & Co. and J. Gane & Co, as well as bespoke shirtmaker Bowring Arundel in 1994. These three brands each have a rich history of their own. Historically, New & Lingwood have been attributed with the creation of the corduroy ‘Eton slipper’, the colour Eton Blue and the butterfly loafer. It is also one of the most famous makers of the British Warm overcoat, popular with Sir Winston Churchill, and has developed a reputation for ‘the’ attire of choice for sporting and social events.
Fast forward to 1997 and New & Lingwood still boasts of its affiliation with Eton but also the city’s iPhone-toting high-fliers, appreciative of the brands attention to quality, suitable for any English gentleman. Today, New & Lingwood is still the quintessential British style house for gentlemen in search of clothing with character- clothing that is elegant, forward-thinking and with a hint of sartorial flair. To find out more about the future of the brand Ape were pleased to speak with Simon Maloney (pictured top), Product and Marketing Director for New & Lingwood on his role and the direction of the brand.
CB: New & Lingwood has been in business since 1865, outfitting the students of Eton College. What is it like to work for such a prestigious brand, and do you feel any pressure to maintain its high standards?
SM: New & Lingwood is a brand with over 150 years of rich and traditional English heritage, our roots lie within Eton College and this has informed much of who we are today and what we do. Equally, it has brought us many of our incredibly loyal customers. It’s an honour to work for a brand that continues to stay true to its roots and heritage, but at the same time nurtures development and progress to stay relevant.
Having worked at New & Lingwood for over six years now, I’ve had the privilege of watching the brand and its collections gain global recognition. Each season I’m more excited for what’s to come. We work with some of the finest mills and manufacturers in England; I trust their craftsmanship, their ability to produce high quality garments and to bring the designs to life. Developing seasonal collections can sometimes become a little overwhelming. Staying relevant and producing items that customers want to buy comes with pressure; however I am incredibly lucky to live in a city that offers endless inspiration. I’m constantly inspired by the people around me and the places I visit, it’s in moments you least expect it that ideas come.
CB: The brand is renowned for its rich British tradition. How do you go about maintaining this feeling and incorporating it into designs suited to the modern day?
My responsibility as Product and Marketing Director for New & Lingwood is to continue to make a range of clothing that gentlemen want to wear, to attract new customers and deliver on their expectations of a prestigious brand that is recognised globally. New & Lingwood is well supported by our British workrooms where we make our bespoke shirts, the finest quality luxury silk gowns, cotton pyjamas, bespoke handmade slippers and traditionally made, Goodyear welted shoes and boots.
Each season I like to combine new fabrics with classic tailoring, introduce bright colours and bold designs that have customers wanting more. In all of our collections, you will find a handful of striking and adventurous pieces that can be perfectly partnered with more subtle elements of the collection, guaranteeing that gentlemen can achieve either a sharp, classic or one of bold eclecticism that embodies New & Lingwood’s defining style. Each collection also sees the introduction of new silk dressing gowns. Our sumptuous gowns are handmade in England, using silk woven in Suffolk and are a stylish statement in men’s lounge attire.
Another example of keeping things modern and relevant was last year’s refurbishment of our flagship store on Jermyn Street which was in need of a make-over, whilst simultaneously respecting the ‘quirkiness’ which makes us so distinctive in the world of menswear and such a unique shopping experience. Something our customers tell us we’ve achieved.
CB: With many high-flying customers – royalty included on some occasions – what does the quality of customer service that they would expect entail, and have customers ever made any particularly demanding requests?
SM: The continued success of the New & Lingwood brand relies on our ability to evolve, keep moving forward and to provide our customers with a product and service that cannot be compromised. Because of our relatively small size, we can accede to many of our customers’ requests and produce bespoke versions of many of our items. It’s also about anticipating their needs and lifestyle requirements without being intrusive. We want our customers to feel they can trust our sartorial advice and come back to us again and again.
We don’t advocate hard selling at New & Lingwood. We see ourselves as advisors and believe that the customer needs to trust us if they are to return and become a regular visitor to our store. Our staff are trained to understand proportion and co-ordination of pattern and style and that within reason we can achieve almost anything the customer requires. We were once asked to reproduce a customer’s art collection as a lining for his jackets which were able to fulfil and we’ve also been known to hand deliver a suit to a customer in his private jet, the night before his wedding in Italy.
CB: The SS18 Collection features some pretty bold designs and prints. What were the thought processes behind this standout style?
SM: New & Lingwood’s latest collection owes a lot of its inspiration to the idyllic representation of the English Spring and Summer in English and American classic literature. Idealised, possibly, but always drawn from common nostalgic memories of the most joyful of seasons.
CB: Do you have any style tips for gentlemen going into the new season?
SM: Tradition demands gentlemen to wear safe trouser and jacket combinations, this season I encourage gentlemen to set themselves apart by choosing striking and original colour combinations. Use colours such as navy, sky and cream as a base and then work in cool neutral or sharp bright colours to punctuate the overall look. This season we have introduced a variety of bold stripes that pay homage to our Etonian heritage and a variety of scales of check that can be partnered with the simplest of trousers for a sophisticated and bold statement, for example a pair of elegant and versatile trousers such as the New & Lingwood Edmonton herringbone trousers in a reassuringly weighty cream linen and partner with a more eclectic piece.
New & Lingwood’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection allows our customer the freedom to express their personality, whether reserved or extravert. We tell our customers not to be afraid to experiment with colour and patterns while also understanding that people may feel more comfortable in something safer.
As the weather gets warmer, you’ll naturally wish to choose lighter weight fabrics for comfort and breathability. Choose high-twist, tropical wools or linens, which are specifically made to keep you cool. Be it a classic colour or cooler shades such as our Ennis Irish Linen Knitted Jacket in light blue, a crisp shirt in white, ivory or pink will complete the look and keep you feeling cooler in the warmer climes.
From season to season, I always encourage gentlemen to remember the finer details. A pocket square can make or break an entire look. Opt for a pocket square with rich colour or patterns that compliment both the jacket and shirt – never match your tie pattern. If you’re deciding to make a statement with your jacket and trousers, then keep it simple with your shirt and tie. Stick with classic and timeless colours of white, blue or discreet check.