Interview with Fraser Trewick from Hawksmill Denim Co.

Thanks for signing up to The View from the Fells. Our aim is to bring you some interesting interviews and content with View From the Fells. We will interview friends, family and associates of The Northern Fells Clothing Company and a few bits and pieces from our buying trips and travels. 
Last week we had a chat with Fraser Trewick the Co-Owner of Hawksmill Denim Co. and one of our favourite brands here at The Northern Fells Clothing Company. 

What drew you to set up Hawksmill Denim Co?

"I’ve always had an aspiration to start a brand and felt that the denim market was missing something. The idea was to create a product that had great attention detail, was of a high quality but at a reasonable price. We don’t cut corners when making our jeans and try to give the customer the best product possible. Instead of chasing seasonal trends we tend to take our time with the product development cycle, only releasing items once we’ve totally perfected them. Everything is produced in Europe and we put quality and integrity above profit margins."

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

"I was only ever interested in Music and Fashion. There was no other path for me."

How did your career evolve, what’s your background?

"After moving from Wales at the age of 19 I was lucky to land a Saturday job at the legendary Duffer of St George in Soho. I’ve also worked on Saville Row, been a buyer and ran the UK agency for Nudie jeans for 9 years. I’ve been very lucky."

How did you passion for denim develop?

"I suppose it started with early trips to Kensington market in the late 80s. Everyone wore vintage Levis then, and after buying a number of pairs I noticed that some were far better quality than others. These tended to have a selvedge seam and Big E tab. Of course when I later worked at Duffer I understood the meaning of all this."

For the denim novice, could you tell us about selvedge denim? What’s the difference between non and selvedge jeans? How is it made and what does it do for the jeans?

"Selvedge denim is characterised by the coloured woven self -binding edge of the fabric. Most commonly it’s red but originally many different colours were used to distinguish the mill the fabric originated from."
"It’s woven on old shuttle looms, which today is not a common practice. Only one place in the US and a handful of mills in Europe and most notably Japan weave with these machines. Up until the 1950’s all denim was made this way. But with brands wanting ever-bigger profit margins they opted for the more time-efficient projectile looms. Ultimately, selvedge fabric has a unique character which lends its self to superior fading." 

Why do you think there’s been a huge revival in understanding where and how things are manufactured?

"I think the consumer is better informed today than in the past. The Internet enables brands to tell the story of what makes their products more unique than the competition. If you’re investing in an expensive piece of clothing it’s no longer enough to buy a brand just for its label. Where and how it was made is of great importance."

What are you currently working on and how do you source inspiration?

"We’re adding some non-denim trousers to the collection for next season. The ideas as with all our collection come from vintage items we collect. We then rework them in terms of fit and detail to give them a more contemporary feel."

Favourite city to visit and why?

"I’m going to say London although I lived there for 20 years. There’s always something new to discover about the place. It has endless possibilities."

A little bird told us you were at a fabric fair in Paris? What was the fair and and why does Hawksmill attend?

"We actually attend denim fairs more, which take place in Amsterdam and Barcelona. Over the two fairs you can see all the best denim mills from around the world."

What do you think about the fashion industry today?

"The Industry is going through a period of profound change. On the retail front it has become more homogenised with a few larger companies owning large chunks of the market. That’s why it’s great to see companies like The Northern Fells Clothing Company with a unique and interesting offer."

How do you know the team at the Northern Fells?

"I know Stuart and Ash from our days working for Duffer. We go way back!"

Which is your favourite item in the current Hawksmill collection?

"I’m proud over every item in our collection. We deliberate and perfect every piece. Everything is considered."

Favourite brand on The Northern Fells Clothing Co (except for Hawksmill?)

"With the exception of Palace, I really like the Oxford Pennant. I may have to purchase some."

What 3 things can’t you live without?

"My family, music and a roof above my head."

Favourite item in your wardrobe?

"My first pair of Hawksmill Slim Japanese selvedge. They’re now 3 years old and have been repaired twice."

What’s currently playing in your office? 

"Have a listen..."

Best bit of life advice?

"Keep on Keepin’ on!"