Pure English craftsmanship is a rare find in our fast paced material world, but that said it doesn’t mean it is gone for good! Enter English Utopia, a true breath of fresh air making timeless English country clothing style accessible to the modern gent. Their range covers every pillar from tweed to wax and we were excited when we got a preview of the Robin Hood jacket in person to experience the luxury. On first touch you are taken aback by the weight of the jacket, giving you an immediate sense of confidence in its ability to see you through the harshest of winter weather, from field to South Bank. Every detail seems to have been thought through, with pockets just where you want them and lined cuffs set to keep out the chill. We really bought into the brand, loving their move away from the mass adoption of big labels and instead, softly adopting what it is to be English gent with quality lifetime lasting pieces that will see you through thick and thin. We sat down with Gary Newbold, founder of English Utopia to talk about the brand, what inspired him and talk about what goes into making an English Utopia jacket so special. [column size=one_half position=first ] [/column] [column size=one_half position=last ] [/column] What inspired you to set up English Utopia? Having worked with some of the oldest heritage brands in the world, I felt there was an opportunity to reinterpret the traditional notion of what is meant by ‘country clothing’. I believe in an egalitarian enjoyment of the countryside – whilst we have many customers that come from that traditionally defined group, it isn’t solely defined by people that ride, fish or shoot and doesn’t require an elitist dress code. English Utopia has broader appeal – covetable garments in unrivalled fabrics that are all made in England and deliberately don’t look like conventional country clothing. Who or what is your idea of the typical English Utopia man? A patron of independent labels and honestly crafted products, the English Utopia man is a free thinker and quietly confident dresser. My customers are vocal and varied – from freelance designers and artists, to teachers and doctors, they all share a love of the genuine article; something intelligently designed and built to last without compromising in the style stakes. Having designed for Barbour, what knowledge and skills did you bring to your own label? My time as head of design at Barbour gave me great insight in to the commercial realities of making creativity pay. I’m able to focus on the design details that set English Utopia apart because I have the right corporate structure around my creative process. You can’t just design in isolation – commercial success means having a good supply chain, expert financial administration and tightly managed manufacturing so that your creativity can turn a profit. What were your creative ideas behind the current collection? The trigger for a new collection can start in a number of ways – for example I sourced a technical fabric that features a vintage, aged patina that I haven’t seen anyone use. It’s now exclusive to English Utopia. Alternatively, I might look through my archive for an idea or be inspired by other clothing sectors such as sportswear or tailoring. Men often get a raw deal when it comes to detail so I pay special attention to creating the best possible silhouette, regardless of the size of my customer. What is your favourite item in the collection? I really like Puck in bronze. It’s lightweight but can be worn year-round, it’s fashioned from an exclusive fabric and it has a sporty aesthetic. It’s not what springs to mind when you think ‘country clothing’, which makes it the perfect jacket to convert the uninitiated! How do you see your designs worn and can you offer any style tips? There are no rules when it comes to how you want to style your English Utopia and my customers constantly surprise and delight me. On the one hand I’ve seen my tweed jackets paired with premium selvedge jeans and handmade English made boots. But on the other my wax Robin Hood jacket looks great worn with marl sweatpants and sneakers for a preppy, sporty, vibe. My advice is always style it your way. What qualities in the fabrics make these jackets so special I refuse to compromise on quality and I don’t ever use cheaper fabrics. Buying from smaller, artisan producers means I can access unique fabrics and components that you simply won’t find on the high street. For example English Utopia zips have an antique brass finish with an extra lacquered coating so they look and perform brilliantly. Quilted garments often have a tight fit but my Stanley jacket has a concealed knitted panel in the arm and back that gives it more room. This combination of exclusive fabrics and thoughtful design is often overlooked in country clothing. View the full English Utopia collection here and stay tuned for our next piece with Gary featuring style tips and how to look after your jacket, coming later this month.