Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

OLD ENGLISH IS THE NEW WAY FORWARD; Tweed, Barbour Jackets and Laura Ashley Dresses Are Not Just for Sloanes -- London's Style Crowd Are Equally Hooked

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

OLD ENGLISH IS THE NEW WAY FORWARD; Tweed, Barbour Jackets and Laura Ashley Dresses Are Not Just for Sloanes -- London's Style Crowd Are Equally Hooked

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Dacre

THE news that Aubin & Wills is expanding its empire with a new store in Shoreditch comes as little surprise. The more sophisticated sibling to Jack Wills -- a brand which now, according to The Retail Knowledge website, is estimated to be worth an impressive [pounds sterling]42 million -- Aubin and Wills has ridden on the coat-tails of the company's success since launching in 2008.

Aimed at those who consider themselves too old to don a pair of Jack Willsbranded tracksuit bottoms, Aubin & Wills offers its customer a more refined stock package of beautifully-cut tweed, luxurious knitwear and pretty shiftdresses, and does so with the same quintessentially English ethos on which Jack Wills forged its identity. The twist in this tale is that while Jack Wills retains its reputation as a brand aimed largely at Sloaney private-school kids, older sister Aubin is breaking out of its Chelsea parameters and on to the radar of the city's most stylish crowd.

Heritage brands, or new-heritage brands as is the case with the virtually history-less Aubin & Wills, have fallen back into favour in fashionable circles in recent years. And it's a way of dressing that for once, has very little to do with anything we've seen on the catwalk.

Like the infatuation with vintage and secondhand clothes that occupied the cool set during the past decade, this rekindled love for traditional English labels is a byproduct of the city's evolving street style. In fact, you only need take a stroll down Brick Lane on a Sunday to see this look at its very best: boys wear quilted Barbour jackets with chunky Aran sweaters and classic English brogues while twentysomething girls team battered-looking waxedjackets with pretty Laura Ashley dresses and Cath Kidston accessories. Key to this trend is an appreciation for traditional and hand-made fabrics. …

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