To celebrate four decades of design and craftsmanship, we present a special 40th anniversary capsule collection which harks back to the very earliest days of Drake's, while offering items that are entirely new.
Creative Director Michael Hill, and company founder Michael Drake give their thoughts on this milestone.
Celebrating four decades of design, craft and innovation, we are proud to present a special 40th anniversary capsule collection, which harks back to the very beginning of Drake’s, drawing deeply from our extensive design archive while offering items that are entirely new.
“Our link to the past is very important,’ explains Michael Hill, our Creative Director. “We are innovative in what we do, but we greatly honour the past, and indeed it’s often a starting point for going forward.”
The collection represents a cross-section of what Drake’s is best known for: ties, pocket squares and scarves, all hand-printed in Macclesfield using traditional dye-and-discharge methods - a labour-intensive process we have been using since the company began.
“It’s always been about the product for us, always has been, always will be. That’s what we want to be judged on ultimately, and we feel the product very much speaks for itself. It’s at the heart of everything we do. So where better to begin this anniversary collection than with some of our best loved archival designs.”
For the collection’s ties we have carefully recreated our original heavy silk twill – a lustrous 40oz real ancient madder of unparalleled texture and quality. “To return and recreate the original 40oz madder quality gives us a great sense of joy. More expensive and more laborious to produce, certainly, given how rich and dense the cloth is, but the sheer lustre of it is amazing, just like the original ancient madders Michael Drake used to show me."
The pocket squares take a classic paisley design back to its original incarnation. Rather than the myriad of tiny droplets we are used to seeing, the squares feature just two enormous pines, rendered in intricate detail. “This print is a personal favourite of mine,” says company founder Michael Drake. “Paisley is such a ubiquitous pattern, it can be hard to do anything interesting with it. When we were first applying it to fabrics, it would always be in this form, with just a couple of big, bold pines. Over the years it has become smaller and smaller in scale, so we wanted to take it back to its origins.”
Another classic Drake’s design making an appearance is our iconic birds of paradise motif. As the centrepiece of the collection we have an oversized square scarf – something like a giant pocket square – printed with the birds of paradise design. “This is a special piece, because it’s exactly the sort of thing we would have been making all the way back in the late 1970s. We’ve taken a little bit of detail out of the middle as I’d always thought the design was a touch too dense. It’s more airy, and easier to wear now, I feel. It’s a wonderful, timeless accessory.”
For Hill, the collection is as much about saying thank you to our customers, as it is about examining the history of Drake’s. “We sincerely hope that our customers will get as excited about these items as we have. It’s because of their support that we have been able to continue doing what we do for so long, and to do so without compromise. Some of our customers have followed us right from the start, and so for them this collection will represent a nod to our earliest days. For customers who have joined us more recently, we just hope that they feel enthused by the time and resources we are investing in our manufacture. As much as we love creating new things, we like to show our appreciation for the classics, too, and these items certainly epitomise that.”
We are thrilled to have reached such a significant milestone, and we are excited to see what the next forty years have in store for Drake’s. We shall leave you with Michael Hill for some final thoughts on this watershed in Drake’s history: “As a business we’ve evolved a fair bit over our forty years but designing, making and printing remain right at our core – these items are a reflection of that. Indeed, the fact that we’re still here and even prospering in a digital age when we still print by hand in Macclesfield is quite something in my eyes. It’s certainly a big part of why so many of our customers continue to follow us loyally after so many years. We were doing this forty years ago, and I don’t see why we won’t be doing it in forty years’ time.”