Father-Son Fashion: Casely-Hayford

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Published September 13, 2011

PORTRAIT BY BEN WELLER

 

Fashion’s all about reference, but few designers’ luxury sportswear combine Afro-punk and military detailing with relaxed masculine proportions. The design team behind Casely-Hayford’s “Day One” collection for fall, though, is far from typical. Joe and Charlie Casely-Hayford are the father-son duo responsible for the London-based label’s boundary-breaking menswear.  Casely-Hayford’s design manifesto calls for a sartorial anarchy, of sorts: the designers strive for innovation and anti-conformity in their thoroughly modern menswear, while hitting the mark for exquisite British tailoring.

Joe brings decades of design experience to the label: he’s crafted costumes for the likes of U2 and the Clash, served as Creative Director of Savile Row’ mainstay Grieves & Hawkes, and was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen for his services to the fashion industry.  25-year-old Charlie’s already left his own imprint on the creative scene, having spent time at Central St. Martin’s, i-D, Creative Review, and the White Cube gallery, Hoxton, in addition to apprenticing at his father’s studio. In 2008, Joe and Charlie joined forces to form the house of Casely-Hayford.

Both Joe and his son, Charlie, cite their generational gap as a source of inspiration and dynamism.  “Day One” synthesizes the designers’ individual experiences and styles, the result of which is an age and class-defying collection that’s tapped-in to contemporary culture from both ends of the spectrum.  “Given the growing social divide we decided to base our collection on people who inhabit English country estates and English housing estates [the equivalent of housing projects in the US],” Joe said of the latest collection’s inspiration.

Charlie considers the closeness of the family business creatively dynamic.  “There aren’t many boundaries in the studio,” Charlie said.  “It’s very intense and sometimes claustrophobic, but I understand the vision of the people I work with, even if I’m moving towards the same point from a different perspective.”  Charlie admits it’s a challenge “separating work from home”—the two live within three minutes of one another—but the duo connects on a level impossible for most design teams. “We don’t have to communicate to understand one another,” Charlie admitted.

Casely-Hayford’s collections are currently sold abroad, at locations like London’s Dover Street Market, Colette in Paris, and Tokyo’s 10 Corso Como Comme Des Garcons and Barney’s New York Japan. But the U.S. can expect to meet Casely-Hayford soon. “The States is our next target,” Charlie said.