Our ‘Profile’ series sets out to showcase the people and brands who intrigue and inspire us as a company. For the first piece in the series, we sat down with London menswear designer, Oliver Spencer.
Oliver Spencer has been a shop keeper for over 20 years. After cutting his teeth selling second hand clothes at Portobello Market he graduated to Mayfair’s Piccadilly Arcade to start his Favourbrook brand selling formal, tailored clothes with an emphasis on interesting textiles. By 2002 he had introduced the Oliver Spencer brand to the fashion world, with a shop on Lamb’s Conduit street – there are now four more shops – and the aim of blending the premium tailoring that underpins Favourbrook, with a more relaxed everyday style. A friend of Another Country, Oli shares our ethos and approach when it comes to understated style and quality materials and we have fitted out his shops on Lamb’s Conduit Street and Calvert Avenue. Using the characteristics of our Series One collection – with a few material and form tweaks – we created shelving and display furniture to serve the needs of a fashion boutique.
The resulting shops are considered, relaxed and welcoming – just like the clothes that occupy them and the man behind those clothes. We caught up with Oli to find out more about his background, his creativity, and what inspires his work.
Do you remember how it felt when you first started out – did you have the same mission in mind as you still have now?
“When you first start out on a creative venture, it feels like a new frontier so you don’t know what to expect. The main difference now is that I understand how the industry works. I still get the same thrill when designing clothing, but now I can pair that with a better understanding of what the customer needs and wants.”
What makes Oliver Spencer Oliver Spencer – what’s the shop ethos?
“Oliver Spencer is all about community. We’ve cultivated a lifestyle that invites fashion in. The design ethic is easy-going yet sincere.”
How do you approach the design of the shops and the environment you are trying to create?
“The thought behind the design of my shops is of course to make the clothing stand out in the best possible way. I have a real love of beautifully made things, so I strive to make the shops feel organic, yet very centred around design.”
Does this relate to how you approach your collections in any way?
“Yes, completely and utterly.”
Is knowing what will sell purely instinctive to you?
“Over the course of my creative career I’ve built up a good understanding of the customer. This, I believe, is the most important thing because from this you can learn how to build a collection. You must be prepared to take risks then deliver the momentum in a positive fashion.”
How important is travel and being aware of other cultures – and where have you been recently that you found inspiring?
“Travel is important in everyday life and to the existence of a collection as a whole. Being someone of nomadic spirit, I feel enlightened every time I go somewhere new. Spending time in the Swiss Alps never ceases to amaze me, more specifically the north face of the Eiger.”
Which item from your most recent collection are you most into yourself?
“The Artist Jacket in Kildale Green.”
Do you tailor your shops and the collections in them to suit the neighbourhood they are in – do you see a customer type for each shop?
“The customers I design for are creatives and frequent and flourish in very different areas of London, so irrespective of the location, the shops are designed with this demographic in mind. Of course, there are some that are more dressy than others, Berwick Street is a little more casual than Lamb’s Conduit Street for instance.”
How important is London generally to you and the brand?
“London is a melting pot of cultures and tribes. Its streets are hugely inspiring, in fact in every day of London life I can find something that inspires me. Other cities, whilst being interesting in their own ways, can’t compare to London in its multi-dimensional nature.”
How did you discover Another Country and what attracts you to the brand?
“I love the clean lines, the beautiful wood and the fact that a good amount of it is made in England. The design ethos is spot on for our aesthetic.”
Do you have any Another Country pieces in your own home?
“I’ve just ordered a dining room table for my new place on the Isle of Wight.”
Which other brands or shops do you admire and why?
“I’m really into Aram at the moment because modernist furniture and all that surrounds it is something I really love.”