We introduced Common People a while back and return for a chat with its founder Kestin Hare. Having worked alongside Nigel Cabourn for several years, Hare was eager to fuse his love of Vintage and quality menswear into something of his very own. Common People was born and the rest, well, it’s in our interview below. Click through for more and check the gallery for a closer look at Autumn/Winter 2012 goodness.
S-We hear you spent time working with Nigel Cabourn, Can you tell us a little about your background in general?
K-I started off at Reiss actually. I studied in Newcastle and ended up going back to work with Nigel for almost four years which allowed me to become his right hand man for his Limited Edition Collection 1 and the start of the tie up with the Japanese history and market.
Working with Nigel was the best training any young designer could have – he really pushed me, taught me about sourcing fabric and trim like no one else would have. We worked very hard together with a small team based in an old windmill in Newcastle where he use to have the studio. He is a great man and he taught me everything I know about vintage clothing (a shared passion), particularly second word war clothing and vintage workwear. He is still a great friend and we often bump into each other at shows or in the factories.
S-How would you describe ‘Common People’?
K-Common People is for people with a common interest in premium quality menswear – locally sourced and produced whenever possible.
S-How does vintage inspire your work?
K-I was never the best at cutting patterns back in college, I would go and find vintage pieces, from old Christian Dior blazers to world war II pieces, unpick all the seams, press them flat and trace off the pattern as a starting point and then make the changes I wanted to make. Not that clever really but this is still in a way how I design. It’s a bit like the “potato man” toy, you take a bit from here, something from there and put them together with great fabric and trim to create something new.
S-What are your ultimate vintage finds?
K-That is tough!! I have found some amazing things over the years from a Canadian Mountain Parka with a built in rucksack, to great old Mackinaws. I have bought great pieces over the years, by myself or through collectors. For me personally vintage is what I wear all the time. A Hercules Denim jacket I bought from Doug at The Vintage Showroom is a piece that constantly inspires me – for one of my favorite AW12 piece we took the pockets off and put them on our workwear blazer.
S-What are your favourite pieces from AW12?
K– 3 pieces stand out for me: our Norfolk blazer, the waxed cotton hunting jacket with naval clips and my absolute favourite – our Aero collaboration 1949 Leather deck jacket made in Galashields.
S-We know there’s a strong belief in quality production and local sourcing with the label, can you tell us a little about how that plays out in the collection?
The use of Halley Stevenson waxed cotton from Dundee is a big part of the AW 12 range. Then we produce all our jackets in our factory in London to make sure they have a real quality and authentic feel.
S-Which brands are you a fan of yourself?
K– RRL is incredible but Watanabe is the daddy
S-What’s next for Common People?
Next season will have quite a different feel. Spring/Summer will be a bit more contemporary though it will always have the signature Common People style. I can’t change my handwriting or the way I design but the use of more technical fabrics will give it a cleaner look with a great new collaboration with cult jeans brand Iron Heart.