It’s been thirty years of Pickett, the English brand renowned around the world for their handmade luxury goods and personalised accessories. Trevor Pickett, the man who began the company — and gave it his name — has been a firm hand on the wheel for the last three decades.
“Trevor Pickett has been a firm hand on the wheel for the last three decades…”
This year, Pickett — both brand and man — is launching a new signature Burgundy Collection, inspired by the colour that was taking the UK fashion industry by storm when Pickett first set up in the mid-80s. To celebrate the milestone, Gentleman’s Journal sat down with Trevor Pickett to discuss the modern retail landscape, how his company began, and the iconic colour he’s using to celebrate 30 years of success.
It’s been three decades of Pickett. How proud are you of the trajectory of the company and what you’ve achieved?
“Being a modest person, I find it quite difficult to say how proud I am. The ethos of my company remains firm: We’ve managed to maintain a loyalty and promotion of the British craftsmanship industry, maintaining the integrity of our company.
“Selling British-made leather goods in today’s market is quite difficult, but it’s important that we maintain the standard that we feel is very vital to our brand.”
How have you developed the brand over the last 30 years?
“The evolution of Pickett started with the management buyout in 1988 of the Burlington Arcade shop, with the Sloane Street store closely behind it, opening December 1988. We originally opened Sloane Street with Georgina von Etzdorf the textile designer – whose retail presence I created a few years prior to the buyout.
“We opened a stand-alone store for Georgina von Etzdorf in Burlington Arcade two years later which gave us the opportunity to expand our leather business, now having two floors at the original store, we were able start selling luggage. In 1996 we decided GVE should take the retail under their own umbrella. This was the perfect timing to launch in Chelsea/Belgravia with the Sloane Street Pickett Store.”
With the new collection, what is the importance of burgundy?
“The reason we have brought burgundy into the collection is because, in the mid-80’s, burgundy was the most important colour in the fashion industry. Here in the UK, we were entrenched in black, it was very ‘civil servant’ in those days, and now things have moved on — today, it’s brown and tan for men and black, navy and red for women, to generalise.
“But burgundy was very much the centre colour of everything fashionable in the eighties.”
What are today’s most important colours, and some of your favourites?
“During the ‘burgundy period’, tan was also a strong colour for men, although burgundy was probably level-pegging, perhaps a little bit more. Coming around to today’s trends, I think one would say brown is our biggest selling colour. Brown is beginning to evolve into a dark, richer burgundy, so burgundy is definitely on the horizon – It seemed rather appropriate to revive the colour as that was central at the time of Pickett’s advent.
“I’ve noticed that I buy in a burgundy colour when it comes to shoes, and then I polish them with black, so they become more of a very dark-black cherry. As I tend to buy navy and grey suits, burgundy works across those palates, and a dark cherry is very rich and intense.”
Pickett is known for its wide range of accessories. How did you choose which products to include in the burgundy collection?
“In addition to the new collection, we have reviewed the whole Pickett range and selected items that translate well into burgundy. There is little in the store that won’t translate, however, so the whole collection is represented by the colour. We think it’s such a great way to honour the 80s and the history of our brand.
“We always have limited edition products and it was no different for this collection. There are two pieces of luggage that are bespoke only — they are revival items that pay homage to our past but are contemporary and user friendly with 21st century living; a Doctors/Gladstone bag and a bag with a separate zip compartment on the base. We also have an old favourite of mine, a briefcase with a deep curved flap that has continental feel to it.”