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Pearly King: Timeless Masculinity

Thursday 21 November 2013

Truly British clothing brands are hard to find. Whilst many claim they are ‘British’, they outsource just about everything to lower-waged economies and in the process are willing to sacrifice quality. So it was extremely refreshing to come across a menswear brand that is dedicated to British tailoring and is based in Hudderfield, West Yorkshire: Pearly King.

To celebrate, we have 5 pairs of jeans to give away – details at the end of the article.

For starters, Pearly King is not a clothing brand dedicated to the tradition of covering clothes in so-called pearls (Google is not always great), but a menswear brand committed to creating to high quality, affordable and most importantly tailored garments. No machines – just highly skilled tailors who still draw and cut Pearly King jeans by hand.

Their Autumn Winter collection blends military and motorcycle culture and takes inspiration from The Great Escape. It includes weathered waxed cottons, detail-orientated denim, robust leather jackets and jeans that are worked by hand to create the perfect distressed look. Timeless Masculinity at its best.


We were interested to learn about Pearly King and the  jean ‘making’ process so headed North (to Huddersfield) to find out more. Watch our short film and read our interview with Emil Veinedotter, Pearly King’s founder.

How did Pearly King come about?
I started Pearly King four years ago. I wanted to work on something that I perceived as more of a hobby than a job. The Pearly King collection was a vessel for me to experiment with various laundering and finishing processes. Most of all I wanted to provide people with a look that I felt the market was missing.

Sum Pearly King up in three words.
Curated timeless collections.

You still draw and cut your patterns and fits by hand and use innovative colour treatments  – can you describe Pearly King’s creative and design process?
Each season we sit down and look at the fits of our jeans, checking the patterns and seeing how we can improve them. We also make small adjustments to make sure that they are still relevant, making waistbands smaller etc. All of our first patterns are developed in-house to make sure that each fit is unique to us and meets our requirements.

A huge part of the design process is selecting fabrics that fit the brief. For The Great Escape collection I made sure to source a lot of waxed cottons and distressed twills to lend an air of authenticity. We source a lot of our fabric in Europe at shows such as Premier Vision – it’s very important that we keep quality high.

Each season we develop new laundry and finishing processes, whether it be sprayed bleaches or indigo wave dying. I strive to keep Pearly King at the forefront of development.

 Who are ‘the heavy tailors’ ?
The Pearly King Jeans team work with our own team of artisans who produce anything that bares the Pearly King name, we call them the Heavy Tailors. Unlike many other brands we do not out source our production as we believe that if you want something doing right you do it yourself. With our own production we are able maintain a high standard of quality and also ensure that all garments are produced in compliance with fair trade and eco regulations.

What inspires and influences your designs?
Music influences me greatly. I look at a lot of bands and cultural movements from the 50s and 60s as that is when denim really got ingrained into popular culture. For example, the Spring/Summer collection was inspired by the Rolling Stones in Cannes so we featured a lot of lightweight printed shirts and pastel-coloured laundered jerseys. I am not looking to create exact replicas of the items from the eras – I take simple elements of inspiration and give a modern twist.

Tell us about your AW13 collection and the ‘Great Escape’ inspiration.
Pearly King Jeans was founded upon the ideals of creating collections that embody rebellion and defiance, so what better place to draw inspiration from for their AW13 collection than 1963 – The Great Escape. A perfect blend of military and motorcycle influences.

We are committed to using the finest materials. Mixing waxed cottons with antiqued leather and heavily laundered corduroy with distressed chambray, we strived to create a collection of very robust and masculine pieces. Even the trims are specially developed for this season, using hand painted and distressed metal buttons and rivets.

The collection’s colour palette contains mainly muted tones such khakis, burnt orange and camel but the brand prides themselves on the innovative treatments they use to give the colours a unique finish.

What is your favourite piece from this collection?
My favourite piece has to be the Bravo leather blazer. It is a slim cognac coloured hunting blazer. The fit is fantastic and the jacket is so versatile. Just like a good pair of jeans, the lamp nappa used to construct the jacket only gets better with age.


Words: Lizzie Ashby
Video: Jack Lawson