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Interview With Barbour

Interview With Barbour

Posted by Chris Francis on

Our manager, Paul Harris, was recently interviewed by Barbour for their Ancient Tartan blog series. Check out the full interview below.

BARBOUR
Tell us some of the history and background of the store.

PH
Philip Browne Menswear opened in November 1986 in Norwich - Philip has always had a huge interest in fashion and thought he would turn his hand to running an independent menswear store after 12 years working around the world in the oil industry in the 1970s and 80s. Having had no practical experience of this type of business, Philip thought that he would be back in the oil fields within a few years - nearly 30 years later the shop is still going and we have all had quite an adventure getting to where we are now. Initially stocking unknown designers in the 80s and 90s such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, the business has grown and changed hugely over the years. Whilst we no longer stock Savile Row suiting from the likes of Kilgour and William Hunt, the business prides itself on stocking quality garments that will suit both yourself and your wallet, no matter what your budget may be - this can be seen in the broad spectrum of brands we carry from high end luxury such as Moncler, Canada Goose, Belstaff and Vivienne Westwood through to casual favourites such as Stone Island Shadow Project, Barbour, adidas Originals and Fred Perry Laurel Wreath. It wouldn't be Philip Browne Menswear without a bit of looniness thrown in the mix and that can be seen in our collections from Kanye West, adidas Yeezy footwear and Moschino.

BARBOUR
How long have you worked for Philip Browne? What made you want to work there?

PH
I have worked for Philip Browne for nearly 17 years now. I started as a Saturday boy after I moved to Norwich to study for my Photography degree. As with most lads, clothes were an important part of the way you project yourself to the outside world and 'looking good' (I will use this term in the loosest sense as some old photos will prove otherwise) is an aspect of this. I shopped with a few of the independents in Norwich but always came back to Philip Browne for that unique piece. It also may have had something to do with the beers that were sometimes quite liberally handed out to customers at the time too! As you can see, I ended up staying with the company after my degree and 12 and half years ago Philip very kindly offered myself the position of Manager - I really enjoyed my job, Philip is a sound boss and the guys I work with have become a second family, I really can't knock it.

BARBOUR
How did you end up becoming a fashion buyer? Was it always your dream job?

PH
As Philip Browne Menswear is an independent store and we have a small, close knit team, everyone has multiple job roles. The buying aspect is part of the job whether you are the owner, manager, sales assistant or photographer. Philip has always taken different teams of us out on the buys as it is important to get your staff enthusiastic about current and future stock that is coming into the store. There is no doubt buying is a very enjoyable part of the job and also one of the most important aspects of the job - you may not always get every choice right but it is those choices that Philip, myself and the staff make that shapes the direction of the store from season to season and year to year.

BARBOUR
Describe your typical customer at Philip Browne Menswear?

PH
We have a very wide demographic regarding our customer and the age range of customers ranges from a 14 year old lad to a distinguished gentleman in his late 70s. I would surmise this wide appeal is down to the distinctive variety of brands we carry - we have always said that if you like absolutely everything in the shop, we are doing something wrong!

BARBOUR
What makes Barbour the perfect fit for your store? How long have you stocked Barbour for?

PH
We have stocked Barbour for over 12 years now - we always like to put a twist on how we present a brand and saw that Barbour would fit in with our denim ranges and trainers but would offer something different that our customer may not have seen before. Barbour has always been synonymous with quality, hardwearing and functional garments but in the past had a slightly 'fit for purpose' aura. Over the years, the feedback from the independents stocking Barbour, along with the new designers and sales staff brought in by Barbour themselves have turned Barbour into a brand that we know season after season will be up there amongst our best selling brands. It is a brand that our customers can trust.

BARBOUR
Philip Browne Menswear stocks the new AW16 Ancient Tartan collection, what about this collection did you think would appeal to your customers?

PH
The Ancient Tartan collection for AW16 is an easy to wear collection. Pretty much every piece will sit well with your existing wardrobe, whether that wardrobe is predominantly Barbour or not. This easy integration is key as it means you will wear your purchased items - it may seem a simple thing to say but if you don't wear what you've bought you can end up thinking twice about returning to that brand. The fabrics and construction that Barbour use for the Ancient Tartan collection are top notch and this is also key to providing that trust in the brand. Subtle details and branding finish the garments.

BARBOUR
Name your top two must haves from the Barbour Ancient Tartan collection:

PH
The first must have has got to be the Beacon Sports jacket. This jacket has become a modern classic since it was first featured on Daniel Craig in Skyfall. It's a cracking jacket in it's own right with a superb fit and excellent detailing and should be at the forefront of any discerning gent after a stylish and modern wax jacket for the colder months. My other personal favourite is another jacket (you can never have too many jackets can you?) - the hooded Bedale in mustard yellow is an absolute corker.

Barbour Hooded Bedale Jacket - Yellow

Barbour Ruthwell Cotton Overshirt Jacket - Navy

Beacon Sports Jacket - Olive

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