I’m a big fan of Jermyn Street style, particularly some of the big players from the Street who have expanded nationwide, bringing Jermyn Street style closer to home.
However, whilst the nationwide reach of the big Jermyn Street shops brings convenience, there is also something to be said for the small local boutiques who offer excellent products and even more excellent service and usually even closer to home.My favourite local men’s boutique is a fantastic shop called Woven in the historic city of Durham. Run by stylish and entrepreneurial proprietor, Chris Hays, the shop has grown from strength to strength since its launch 7 years ago.
Before launching Woven Chris was part of the creative partnership behind the launch of Van Mildert in 1996, also in Durham city. Van Mildert has since expanded to a further 8 stores across England and Scotland and it’s high point was to win 3 Draper Awards in 2009, including Independent Retailer of the Year 2009.
If you’re not in the know, Draper Awards are like the Oscars; they are among the most prestigious awards for the UK fashion industry. It was from that high point in 2009 that Hays decided that he wanted to move in a different direction and launched Woven on the other side of the river in Durham from his earlier venture.
It’s my kind of gentlemen’s shop. If you’re looking for a pair of skinny jeans the friendly folk at Woven would be happy to point you to any number high street stores who sell that kind of thing; but they won’t sell you one themselves
Woven’s aim is not to be trendy but rather to be timelessly stylish, catering for mature men, who have a developing sense of their own style, men more interested in the quality of the product than the label it bears. They are not aiming at 25 to 30 year olds looking to follow the latest trends. They are looking at the 45 to 60 year old clients who have a little more disposable income and are not likely to be swayed by the latest florescent Espadrilles craze.Woven are a full service gentlemen’s outfitters, capable of supplying the full range of clothing a gentleman might need. Their range includes suits and blazers, shirts, Chinos and In Between Trousers, coats and shoes.
They also have a dizzying range of accessories, including the obligatory ties, and bow ties, but also encompassing gloves, scarves, braces, coloured shoelaces, leather goods, hats, tie pins, cuff links and, best of all, wonderful, wonderful socks; oodles of the things.But there’s more. They don’t only sell off the rack clothing; they also offer a made to measure service. So if you are, shall we say, an unusual size and find that off the rack garments don’t fit you well, Woven will be happy to measure you and have a shirt made to your specific requirements from one of their high quality fabrics.
They’ll also offer a similar service for Blazers, suits, trousers or even coats. It may be, of course, that off the rack fits you just fine but you, nonetheless, fancy something that is made to the specific measurements of your body. Chris and his team would be more than happy to help.Having come from a background of dealing with major brands, Hays and his team draw from a range of international outfitters, but have a particular eye for British manufacturers and suppliers, wherever possible. They are able, therefore, to offer products that are not readily available on the High Street.
Woven are in the process of launching their SS16 range, though the persistent wintry weather in the North East has made it a little difficult to persuade people to begin to move away from Winter wear to buy Spring & Summer wear.
For those who, like me, prefer to shop online the shop’s website www.wovendurham.co.uk is being revamped. The new site is live but not all the latest stock is yet available online. Feel free to follow Woven on Instagram and Facebook.If you are looking to visit the shop you can find them in Durham’s The Gates shopping centre. Only a few doors away is Woven‘s Outlet, offering a range of previous season’s items at a discounted price.
The Gates has just been approved for a £30million redevelopment over the next couple of years which will bring a cinema, more shops, restaurants and student flats to the city centre. So the future is looking bright for that part of the city; and Woven will be right at the heart of it all.
If you’re in the North East and looking for a gentleman’s outfitters pop in and pay them a visit. Tell them I sent you….
For a videoclip excerpt of my interview with Chris see below.