Vintage shoes by Lloyd-Jennings
The beginning of Hackett the gentleman’s clothier really started with this pair of shoes. Ashley Lloyd-Jennings and Jeremy Hackett opened a gentleman’s classic English shoe shop in the ‘City of London’, unfortunately it didn’t work out, wrong place, wrong time.
Then they had a brilliant idea, to open an up-market classic second hand clothes shop for men, selling all the traditional names in clothing, shoes and accessories. Nervously, they outlined their plan to me early one Friday morning in a workmen’s cafe at the rough end of the Portobello Road, I loved it, straight away I was enthusiastic. They had seen my shops in Brighton and London, the first shops to sell across the board men’s secondhand clothing in a smart traditional setting (the ‘Hornets’ style) which they liked and understood, so knew I’d know what they were talking about. I had agreed to supply them and was in the shop in Parsons Green to wish them luck on the first day they were open. In a few weeks it clicked and was roaring away as ‘Hackett’, they didn’t use Lloyd-Jennings as the name hadn’t been very lucky. That was in 1983 and the rest as they say ‘is history’.
Jeremy was the shoe man and he’d find vintage shoes anywhere and everywhere, his favourite find was a pair of bespoke riding boots with HRH marked on the inside, I believe he still has them.
Ashley and Jeremy both had a unique knowledge and sense of style. Ashley was a purest and swore he’d never deviate from that precise ‘English Look’, it’s on record somewhere that he had a considerable impact on menswear on the ‘High Street’.
Many people have tried to copy Hackett, only George Cazenove on Fulham Road and Alexander Preston in Paris did it with success, I helped Alex set up in Paris and of course know George from the business and the Arts Club.
My own impact on the business, apart from Hornets style (look) is the way men’s vintage is presented, many people have tried to copy Hornets presentation, but all of them except ‘The Pirates’ Douglas and Roy’ have never got it right. Now I’m working with some people on an idea that is going to have a huge and lasting impact on the vintage clothing business (watch this space).
Those Lloyd-Jennings shoes are going in the Hornets archive, I’ll never sell them. They are part of style history, without them there would never have been Hackett.