Just a short walk away from London’s Savile Row, down Clifford Street, stands a staple in British haberdashery; Drake’s. Founded in 1977 in London’s East End, Drake’s remains the quintessential home of the high-end accessory, equipping many a Londoner with that added touch of sophistication and style. Today, we’re exploring just how it came to be a beacon of sartorial light for the fashion savvy the world over.
Drake’s: A Brief History
As I walk down Savile Row each morning, I can’t help but catch a glimpse of the bright and prominent cobalt blue tiling on the outside of the Clifford Street location. These tiles act as a reminder of Drake’s subtle and tasteful sense of style. At one point, Drake’s exclusively produced Scarves and Shawls for local fashion boutiques, but it wasn’t until it branched out to designing and creating ties and pocket squares that it earned the acclaim the brand is known for today.
Originally founded by Michael Drake, Drake’s was taken over in 2010 by Michael Hill (lead designer) and Mark Cho (co-founder of the Armoury in Hong Kong). Michael Hill, who worked alongside Michael Drake, is now creative director of Drake’s and maintains a very bright vision for the brand’s future. The evolution of Drake’s has seen it develop from a small accessories manufacturer, to a true design house that acts as a luminary in their respective field.
This success has not come by chance however. Michael Hill has quite a longstanding background of association with ties. Hill’s father owned a tie factory and he often reminisces about his youth and constantly being surrounded by mounds of silk. After completing his education, Hill worked for Richard James as he felt James’ methods were quite similar to that of his fathers. Not long after, Hill found himself working in silk mills across Italy. Upon his return to London, Hill attended the London College of Fashion and began to create his own designs.
Hill refers to his relationship with Mr. Drake as quite special, and suggests that Drake could see how passionate he was about the tie industry. Not long after Hill joined the Drake’s team, Michael Drake began to contemplate the idea of retirement and this brought up a wonderful opportunity for Hill as there were no available successors in the Drake family. The rest, as they say, is history.
When I asked, “What makes a Drake’s tie so special?” Hill replied that it all begins with the cloth. To this day, each Drake’s tie is carefully pieced together by some of the finest artisans in the industry using the highest quality of fabric available. I highly recommend paying a visit to the East End factory headquarters and of course the Drake’s flagship store on Clifford Street. There is no better place to find your sartorial inspiration and of course, your next tie!