From Cary Grant to David Beckham – The Kent and Curwen Story
In 2015, David Beckham became brand ambassador and creative lead for the designer clothing brand Kent and Curwen. The match between football celebrity and gentlemen’s tailor may at first sight, seem an odd one, until that is you learn some of the history behind this famous British brand.
While the ties and garments made by this famous British label may have used to belong in the officers and cricket clubs of traditional England, the likes of Mick Jagger and Paul Weller have made brand more popular.
Now that David Beckham is on board with the brand, the latest range from the fashion house is sure to make its mark on the fashion world. It’s the perfect combination of the traditional and the modern.
The synergy between David Beckham and the old traditional British fashion label runs deeper than the Three Lions logo that the England football team and the brand share; it’s also a match of sporting tradition.
Established in 1926 by Eric Kent and Dorothy Curwen the fashion brand began life as a small Saville Row tie maker, but by the year 1929, they had already become a supplier of ties to Oxford and Cambridge universities.
By 1930, Kent and Curwen ties were being worn by the officers of all the British army regiments and by the boys of many of the major public schools. In 1932, the brand expanded their operation by purchasing a knitwear factory and they began to make cricket sweaters.
The 1930s also saw the brand’s first adventure with the stars, when they struck a deal to supply the Hollywood Cricket Club, a club that had a membership that included Laurence Olivier, Errol Flynn, Aubrey Smith and Basil Rathbone.
The Hollywood Cricket Club was only the beginning. In the 1940s, a legion of Hollywood stars began to wear ties bearing the label and The Palm Springs Racquet Club also chose the tie maker to make their club ties, which added David Niven, Bob Hope and Cary Grant to the list of celebrities who could be seen sporting Kent and Curwen ties.
The brand continued to expand in the 1950s and 1960s and its association with celebrities continued to grow. As well as supplying ties to more than 29,000 clubs, they also expanded their range of blazers and knitwear.
During the late 1960s and into the 1970s, the style of clothes made by the designer began to become trendy and people ranging from Michael Caine to Paul Weller and Mick Jagger started to wear regatta jackets and similar traditional items.
1972, in particular, was turning point for the fashion label, when they were outfitters for both the English and Australian teams for the 1972 Ashes and that began a relationship with the England cricket team that lasted for twenty years.
In the 1980s, the label gained further exposure when they supplied the wardrobe for the hit film Chariots of Fire. In 1982, they registered its iconic Three Lions logo as a trademark, and the brand also became the official apparel licensee for The Wimbledon Championships.
David Beckham has been an influencer of men’s fashion over the last few decades and his partnership with Kent and Curwen will ensure that he continues to be. It looks like the match between football star and traditional men’s clothing brand really could be a perfect match after all.