The Bite Magazine - Autumn/Winter 2019 - Issue 26

bite designer profile SPECIAL DESIGNER BRAND PROFILE JADA BROOKES LOOKS AT THE LONGSTANDING HISTORY OF BRITISH LUXURY FASHION HOUSE DAKS AND THE IMPACT THEY HAVE HAD ON THE CATWALKS UNDER THE CREATIVE DIRECTORSHIP OF FILIPPO SCUFFI. DAKS I t is amazing how young minds in the late 19th-centu- ry were so focused on learning and running business- es compared to the young minds in today’s society. In those days, a father would normally pass down the busi- ness to his son after having learned the trade. In the case of 16-year-old Simeon Simpson, he didn’t have such privileges. Instead, he rented a room on Middlesex Street, in east Lon- don in 1894 intending to set up a business in bespoke tailor- ing, focused on high standard craftsmanship. During that time, several innovations of technology were introduced with machinery capable of making buttonholes and electric powered saws to cut many layers of fabrics at once. Seeing the potential for such equipment that would produce garments in higher quantities, while still uphold- ing quality tailoring techniques, Simeon aimed to improve ready-to-wear standards that had not been considered at the time by male or female professionals. By using these methods, he was able to speed up the pro- cess of creating ready-to-wear garments in good time. This allowed him to set up several factories within London, which later expanded due to the popularity of the S. Simpson brand. His second son, Alexander joined the business at the age of 15 in 1917. By 1929, he had opened a larger factory in Stoke Newington where the production could be centralised. This was also a success and expanded a few years later. In 1935, DAKS S. Simpson tailored the first self-support- ing trousers available in many colours and fabrics that were not generally associated with menswear. Soon after this, the womenswear line was released, using the patented waistband for skirts. The men’s trousers were popular because they had ease-of-wear and allowed movement. This led the brand to be popular in sporting wear such as kitting out tennis, golf, motor racing and football players, and even for the British Olympic team in 1960. At the time of the Second World War, the brand was com- missioned by the British Government to produce military uniforms for officers in the Army, Navy, Royal Airforce, and Women’s Services. The extraordinary thing was once the war