Designing 'retro' clothing can be a thorny endeavor. Until you find your audience, many will assume your stuff is vintage, and probably far from perfect, while others may simply look upon it as hideously out of date.
London's Thomas Farthing has won the battle, however, gaining a well-dressed following with its simple mission to "use iconic design to create definitive, timeless clothing" and above all impeccable style.
Farthing's designs harken back to the golden age of sartorial elegance for men in the 1920s and '30s, when neckties, straw boaters, two-tone "correspondent" shoes and other dapper accessories were considered de rigeur and even the most humble shopkeeper's apprentice prided himself on cutting a dash.
Farthing, more of a brand and an ethos than an actual designer (as far as we can tell), takes inspiration from everything from classic Cuba and old Hollywood to the British country tradition where tweed reigns supreme. Hats of all descriptions are always necessary and footwear is never boring.
Suiting, whether rendered in wool, tweed, linen, or silk – or a combination of all four – is impeccably tailored, and makes a statement without raising its voice. Three-piece suits are frequently on offer, along with all the accouterments to match.
Signature touches include handknit fair isle sweaters, suitable for all seasons depending on their weight, newsboy caps of the type seen on Peaky Blinders, safari jackets, 'expedition' knitwear of the type worn by well-dressed explorers of yore, and of course, bow ties galore.
Their latest collection was inspired by one of the most stylish locales on Earth, the Amalfi Coast, where sprezzatura seems to ooze from every nook and cranny. Lightweight jackets rendered in a blend of wool, cotton and cashmere keep company with tropical linens and straw fedoras, each piece in harmony with the whole.
You don't need to be a famous jazz musician or gentleman adventurer to wear these clothes, but you may well feel like one as soon as you button up.