We’ve had our eye on Joshua Kane since we went to the launch of his first store. It was a small affair, mostly friends and family, and of course a few of Joshua’s celebrity disciples, and you just knew he was destined for big things. A few years on, a few catwalk shows down and a host of big names donning his wares, he’s opening a brand new flagship store in London's West End and launching the Joshua Kane newspaper.
To get ready for one of the most talked about launches in London menswear, which takes place on Wednesday, we invite you to meet the man behind the shears in an excerpt from the feature story on Joshua Kane by Mikael Jack that ran in our last print issue.
Joshua Kane – the brand – is wholly owned by its namesake founder, with no stakeholders to answer to, but also no one to fall back on for support. Because of this, Kane bears the expense of everything the brand does and the associated risk it brings. Nevertheless, it so far seems to be a risk worth the taking. The most-attended show of the whole season (both on- and off-schedule), the ways in which the brand has grown in a relatively short space of time have been quite extraordinary.
“It’s been surprising the way it has grown, but it has grown very organically too. People really like the brand and what we stand for. We have a healthy following on social media already, but through the collections and friends of the brand, the exposure we get is phenomenal,” Kane explained. “The response we got from the last show at London Collections Men in January was very positive. From MTV snapchatting the whole event to the myriad of recognisable faces and photographers waiting to capture them, there was a lot of buzz and I am very grateful that people are loving what I do.”
Kane’s own dandy style has become instantly recognisable, evolving from his days studying fashion design at Kingston University. From there, he went on to work for industry leaders like Brooks Brothers, Paul Smith, Jaeger and Burberry Prorsum. Throughout these years – over ten before making the move to launch his eponymous label – he created garments for himself on the side, and in a “wanting what you can’t have” chain reaction, started to produce bespoke requests for friends.
“I think my style is my own, it’s just something that has developed and in order to have that unique stamp I started designing for myself. Now the collections are all things that I will wear but that anyone else can make their own with their own style and personality.” And what about those big brands, have they influenced what he designs over the years? “They really haven’t actually, what I design now is basically a much better version of my graduate collection. I had a very clear vision of what I wanted to create from an early stage and that hasn’t really altered, I’ve just got better at the execution. Obviously each collection has its nuances and there is a uniqueness to every season, but the basis is there and it will always be the handwriting of the label.”
Perhaps part of the reason that Kane’s designs have become so popular is their ability to stand out while retaining the elegance and grandeur that an exquisitely cut suit or coat brings.
“Every collection stems from tailoring and we grow it from there; we like to make each season different through a theme. Often the term ‘ready-to-wear’ is used as a negative and it is our entry price point, but we use the best fabrics and processes within it, from fine silks to premium wools, woven or made in England. There is no difference in it from our bespoke offering in terms of what quality you receive, but increasing the categories that we sell while maintaining our values was the logic behind the ready-to-wear addition.”
“I don’t design with anyone in mind really, I keep to what I know works from a tailoring perspective, but anything else is open to experimentation. We get customers who come to the store at 17 or 18, having saved up their part-time wages to get a suit, and for most of them it is their first experience of high-end tailoring and of the kind of service we offer. We know that spending over a grand on a suit is a pretty big deal to most people, not just teenagers so we make sure that the level of service goes beyond what anyone expects. That also is the same for some other, much older customers, and making sure that the experience is right for them is just as important, whether they haven’t worn a suit before or have been wearing custom-made garments all their life.”
Any advice for the teenage Joshua?
“I don’t think I have any regrets or things that I would want to avoid doing. Just learning from my mistakes would be the main one, which I try to always do: see it as a lesson; reflect and ask why it was a mistake; and never make it again. It’s a cliché, but it’s got me this far.”
Joshua Kane’s new flagship store is located at 68 Great Portland Street and you can visit the brand online via joshuakanebespoke.com
Words by Mikael Jack
All images ran in Candid Magazine Issue 13
Photography by Dani Riot
Joshua wears Joshua Kane in all looks with creative direction by Rebekah Roy
Grooming by Sarah McIlwain-Bates
Assisting by Esther Adeniyi
Shot on location at Century Club