A few weeks ago I engaged in a lively debate with some family members; we were discussing Zimbabwean businesses and what it takes to establish lasting legacies known all over the world for quality, service and craftsmanship; that not only the business but the country as a whole could be proud of; a debate that can easily extend to African businesses across the continent. Lasting legacies are something you see all the time with British heritage brands like Burberry and Mulberry, the former dating back over a hundred years, and the French couture houses. I’m not saying legacies in Africa don’t exist, quite the opposite in that some go back thousands of years; the difference I think is that they have tended to be verbal passed down the generations through storytelling, and physical through the passing down of skills; the danger with this is that should a generation lose interest that legacy then ceases and some of the ‘story’ gets lost along the way. However in today’s digital age, recording and maintaining legacies for future generations has become somewhat easier. Back to my debate, things got heated but in the process raised some interesting questions/issues that I am still continuing to mull over, and for whatever reason the British Menswear label Casely-Hayford
keeps springing to mind as a fine example of a fashion design legacy in motion.
Casely-Hayford was formed in 2007 when fashion designer/tailor Joe Casely-Hayford teamed up with his son Charlie, to create a line of menswear based on the philosophy that all men possess a degree of anarchy within their character; anarchy in the sense of independence rather than a total disregard for the rules, and the brand reflects this through their designs which fuse a carefree spirit with the meticulous tradition of classic men’s tailoring. The first Casely-Hayford collection launched in Spring/Summer 2009. Founded on two simple phrases ‘English Sartorialism’ and ‘British Anarchy’, Casely-Hayford is at once unconventional and classic British; and although a pioneering British brand, the label can trace its roots back to Ghana. Joe Casely-Hayford was named after his grandfather, J. E. Casely-Hayford; an eminent Ghanaian lawyer and Statesmen whose novel ‘Ethiopia Unbound’ written in 1911 was said to have greatly influenced Pan-African politics and the leading civil rights activists of the time. The careers may be different but the pioneering spirit cannot be denied when you look at the father and son fashion design legacy in motion.
Casely-Hayford’s philosophy is also one of craftsmanship, present at every stage of the design and production process utilised through the skills of Master craftsmen. Savile Row tailoring methods are employed drawing on the heritage of the institution. Throughout his career Joe Casely-Hayford has always sought to combine innovation with tradition and since the early eighties has designed men and women’s wear collections through an eponymous fashion label and dressed some of the biggest bands in the world. Joe became the first designer to design for TopShop
in 1993 and has also been involved in the educational side of the fashion industry. For three years, 2005-2008, Joe was the Creative Director of Gieves and Hawkes
; a Savile Row house with a 200-year history; and was instrumental in repositioning the brand for the 21st century. More recently Joe has created an exclusive collection for John Lewis
UK entitled, Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis. Following in his father’s footsteps Charlie Casely-Hayford started out by making his mark on the London creative scene through stints at places like i-D magazine and Creative Review, but it was during his late teens when he got to undertake an intensive apprenticeship at his father’s studio, learning the craft and what goes into building a brand that the groundwork for the beings of a unique father and son fashion design legacy in motion was laid. Together through their mix of sportswear and tailoring Casely-Hayford is leading the way in modern British style.
…The Casely-Hayford man exudes understated-elegance and quiet confidence, with a very quirky dose of free-spiritedness
Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis currently priced at: £30-£399
For further information visit: www.casely-hayford.com
For the Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis collection and to purchase visit: www.johnlewis.com