Jeremy Hackett spent much of his childhood in the company of patterns and cloth – his mother was a seamstress, his father was in the fabric business — and it is perhaps no surprise that Hackett would one day start his eponymous menswear label in 1979. Hackett was in Singapore recently for the British brand’s flagship store opening at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, and shared some sartorial insights with us.
Lifestyle Asia (LSA): Mr Hackett, how are you liking Singapore so far?
Jeremy Hackett (JH): To be honest, it is such a short visit that I have had very little time to explore Singapore, although I did have dinner at Raffles hotel, where I enjoyed the best curry. The opening party at the Hackett shop was a great success and everybody was very welcoming and hospitable. I shall endeavour to stay longer next time.
LSA: Singapore’s climate is hot and humid and Singaporean men are notoriously laid back about style. What would you recommend for an effortless but stylish look?
JH: We have been aware of the climate in Southeast Asia and have tailored our clothing to suit the hot and humid climate by introducing extremely fine and lightweight knits, whether that is a polo or a sweater. Our tailoring has become softer and less constructed and made from lightweight cottons – any of these combinations will ensure that Singaporeans look chic and elegant. Dressing effortlessly in fact requires a great deal of effort.
LSA: People always assume Hackett is a heritage label. Why did you decide to start Hackett and how did you go about building an iconic brand at a young age?
JH: It’s interesting that most people tend to think that Hackett was started by my father or even my grandfather. I think that it has garnered a reputation of integrity that belies its years. I started Hackett as a bit of fun selling second hand clothes. There was no business plan and no money but almost from day one it took off. It wasn’t until I started to make new clothes that Hackett became a brand. It seemed the timing was right for a British brand and fortunately I have been able to capitalise on the demand. Of course luck played a part too.
LSA: What is one piece in this current collection you consider indispensable in any gentlemen’s wardrobe?
JH: The most important piece in our current collection is the navy cotton blazer. It is so easy to wear with a multiple of clothes and should be an absolute basic in any aspiring gentleman’s wardrobe.
LSA: What is the best outfit for travelling on a plane?
JH: When I board a plane and am offered their sleepwear, I politely decline as I know I will end up looking like a sack of potatoes. I usually choose to travel wearing chinos that have a little stretch in them , a fine cotton long sleeve polo over and add a deconstructed cotton navy blazer. I may also take a cotton pullover for when the air conditioning becomes too much. I find that loafers or boat shoes are the most comfortable when travelling.
LSA: So why did you choose Singapore as a location for Hackett?
JH: Singapore has been on our agenda for a long time, as it’s an important Southeast Asia hub. With its historical connections to Britain, we felt that there would be an appreciation for our brand and I am pleased to say it is taking off.
LSA: How did the inspiration for Mr Classic come about? Are there any plans for another book?
JH: I have been approached by several publishers to do another book, but I do have a day job to get on with. Mr Classic came about over lunch with the editor of the Independent on Sunday magazine, Andrew Tuck. He invited me to write a piece on fashion and style. At the time I had barely written more than a Thank You note. He liked my writing and gave me a column, which I wrote for about three years. The publishers Thames and Hudson contacted me and asked me if I would consider putting together the columns into a book format, which became Mr Classic.
Hackett, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, B2-230, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956, www.hackett.com