Keir Forde reflects on the label that once was Fabulously British.
Britain has always been a central cog in the eternally shifting fashion world, and as such we have embraced new trends with delight yet just as quickly waved goodbye to any trend that has outstayed its welcome.
The fashion cycle we live in keeps us on our toes and makes sure we can stay fresh, but it’s bad news for labels that are reluctant to evolve in this cycle and get left behind, much is the story it seems for our old flame, Jack Wills.
The Devon-born company was able to capitalise on the need of British teenagers to appear like University students at Oxford or Cambridge and thrived off the trends and pandemonium brought about by the arrival of the prep-gods, Abercrombie and Fitch, on our shores.
People went mad for Jack and I was no exception. Who even were you at a 16th birthday party without ‘WILLS’ hoodie? In hindsight clearly a good, independent and impervious person, that’s who.
It was one of those cases where people overlooked the actual item of clothing (that nobody really ever suited) and only wanted the label to fit in with the masses, which is never a good idea. Jack Wills do not make their clothes to help bring out your personality, they make you vanish into the navy-blue and pink background, which is something I just can’t stand for. That is why I bid Jack Wills a farewell. A fond farewell, I admit I was in love, but a farewell all the same.
To be fair, I do value how quintessentially British it was and how great it felt to have a homegrown, affordable label around making high quality clothes. Now I wonder if Jack Wills and their gilets have their place in fashion history and we just need to respect that, at least for now.
You never know in the fashion world, we might circle back round to them in a decade or so, or right at this very moment they may be planning a complete over-haul of their designs. In fact, just last week I complemented a friend on her great autumnal blouse, only to find out that it was, to my surprise, Jack Wills.