Punk Goes Back to the Future in Casely-Hayford

After five years of combining traditional British style with everything from skate culture to hockey jerseys, father and son design team Casely-Hayford transported ’70s punk into future London in their runway debut this January with Army of Me. Grungy plaids and slouchy shirts meet classic overcoats and structured jackets in the eponymous luxury menswear brand which recently released its SS14 collection to stores all around the world including London’s Dover Street Market and Harvey Nichols.

Joe and Charlie, father and son respectively, created Casely-Hayford to showcase classic British tailoring contrasted with themes inspired by subcultures from around the world. It’s a style that appeals to young guys with a non-traditional sense of style, which explains why musicians and style icons like Tinie Tempah, James Blake and Poggy have been caught in their designs. Milk Made got in touch with the Casely-Hayford men to discuss the duality at the core of their designs as well as their partnership.

Milk Made: What made the both of you come together to produce a clothing line?

Charlie: I essentially grew up in a studio and so was surrounded by fashion from a very, very young age. My dad very clearly told me at 13 that there was no way he was going to let me work in fashion because of the intensity of the business. To do this day I can’t work it out if it was reverse psychology, but we founded Casely-Hayford as a family business in 2009.

Joe: The brand came about as the result of an ongoing dialogue on cultural development and the relationship between high and low art. We felt that as a London born father and son partnership we had a unique statement to make.

MM: Do you ever find it difficult to work together, especially since you are of different generations and tastes?

CCH: That’s what keeps it interesting and keeps us both on our toes. We both come at the same thing from very different perspectives. The end goal is always the same, but the journey there is often quite different. The endless back and forth conversations between a father and son about the context of something that’s new to me and maybe old to him or even visa versa generate a friction that we want to be present in the clothing – a kind of discordant harmony.

MM: Your most recent venture has been the collaboration with H by Harris to create the quilted leather skateboards. How did that come about?

CCH: Our SS14 collection is called Secret Colonies and is a study into various groups of skaters from around the world and how they integrate parochial style into skate culture. We approached Harris to make a collector’s piece, the ultimate luxury skate-deck. The limited edition pieces are only available from Dover Street Market.

MM: The Casely-Hayford brand is said to combine "English heritage" and "British anarchy." Could you explain that to me?

JCH: We seek out a point of divergence between these two worlds. We hold a respect for certain sartorial codes which have been passed on from generation to generation but always look to innovate. Sometimes we adhere to the sartorial rules, but also look to subvert them. My background combines designing stage clothes for bands like The Clash to dressing the highest members of the British Establishment. The Casely-Hayford DNA is about this duality.

MM: London Fashion Week wrapped up recently. Were there any collections that you were wow’ed by?

CCH: I always look to Fashion East for something fresh and with raw energy.

JCH: I was so happy to see Andre Waker’s return to New York; one of the unsung greats of our time.

MM: Music has a pretty big influence on the brand. Can you talk about that a little? Who are your favorite artists and why?

CCH: Music is the starting point for most of our collections. It’s integral to the brand and evolves our inspirations from one season to the next. My dad is a music head and can be listening to ’90s rave one season in the studio and post-dubstep another. We’re fortunate enough to have worked with some great musicians over the years, having most recently dressed James Blake and Disclosure for the Grammy Awards. King Krule is still the one for me though. We’d both love to work with him.

MM: When you’re not in London you spend a lot of time in Tokyo and Hong Kong. What influence do those cultures have on your collections?

CCH: Tokyo has definitely emphasized a certain sensibility towards modern craft, combining high technology with age-old techniques. Hong Kong has introduced an element of graphic minimalism to the brand, something really visible in the AW14 collection we just showed during fashion week.

MM: Is there anything else in the works for you two?

JCH: We’ve had so much demand from female clients in the last 6 months, we’re in the process of working on a custom women’s suit selection – made to order and by appointment only. It’ll sit alongside our menswear personal tailoring service that we run from a store called HOSTEM in London.

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