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Aquascutum Clothing – a British Institution


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Kitmeout rates Aquascutum as one of the ultimate British fashion brands! Hailing from the United Kingdom, Aquascutum, the quintessentially British label was founded in 1851 with its iconic tailoring heritage from the world of authentic quality and fine craftsmanship in Northamptonshire, England. Its outerwear’s customary British tailoring underscores the company’s unfailing support of the British textile industry and ensures its impeccable standards are unfailingly maintained.

Made in England pieces celebrate all the British hallmarks of Aquascutum – attention to detail, traditional craftsmanship and unquestionable authenticity.

Great British fashion brand Aquascutum, which went into administration last month, looks set to be rescued by YGM Trading Limited, the owner of the brand across Asia. FRP Advisory, the administrators for Aquascutum has confirmed that both parties have entered into an exclusivity agreement.

Following the retailer entering administration on April 17, FRP stated that they received significant interest in the business and assets of Aquascutum from around the world, totalling in excess of 70 interested parties. The statement confirmed that the decision to enter the exclusivity agreement with YGM relates to “an offer to acquire the on-going business and assets” with completion to take place by May 9.

Separately the Joint Administrators are continuing negotiations to secure a buyer for the manufacturing plant at Corby, Northamptonshire which was closed on April 19 with a loss of more than 100 jobs. No deadline has currently been set for this process.

Geoff Rowley, Joint Administrator at FRP, said: “The joint administrators have been very encouraged by the significant interest shown in the business over the last two weeks and have chosen to proceed with the offer that delivers the best outcome for the creditors of Aquascutum.”

Aquascutum was founded in 1851 with a menswear store in Regent’s Street, and was family owned until 1990, when a Japanese textile conglomerate company, Renown Incorporated bought it. Then in September 2009 after three years of losses, the Renown off-loaded it to the management team behind Jaeger, Harold Tillman and Belinda Earl.


Aquascutum + Jaeger?

Aquascutum + Jaeger?
Aquascutum, the 158-year-old luxury clothing brand, has new British and Hong Kong Chinese owners after being sold by Renown, the Japanese clothes maker. Renown on Tuesday announced the sale for an undisclosed sum to a company controlled by Harold Tillman, the entrepreneur who owns Jaeger, the British clothing chain. As part of the transaction, however, the Asian rights to the brand have been bought by Hong Kong’s YGM Trading, which is already the Aquascutum licensee in China and Hong Kong, for £13.7m.

Aquascutum, derived from two Latin words meaning water and shield, was founded in 1851 and developed a trenchcoat for soldiers during the first world war. Over the years, it has dressed Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, Sir Winston Churchill and Baroness Thatcher, while retaining a particular reputation for its rainwear.

The Aquascutum deal gives Mr Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council, two prominent British brands. Since he acquired Jaeger in 2003, the upmarket clothing retailer has become more fashionable.

Mr Tillman said that Aquascutum was “steeped in quality history”, likening its potential to that of Jaeger, whose flagship store is only a few doors from Aquascutum on London’s Regent Street.

Although lossmaking, he said Aquascutum had received leadership and investment under its previous owner: “Belinda Earl and I believe we are the next blood that this business needs.”

He said Ms Earl would have little trouble running Aquascutum and Jaeger simultaneously given the fact that she used to run a much bigger business in the form of Debenhams, the department store chain.

Asked whether Aquascutum’s production would remain in the UK, Mr Tillman would only say that he was looking forward to seeing its factory in Corby, in the Midlands.

He denied that splitting ownership of the brand created a risk of damaging divergence between the Aquascutum products sold in Asia by YGM and those sold by the UK-based company.

Tastes in clothing had converged around the world, he argued: “It is not as if they [YGM] are going to go off and do something so radical.”

He added that he viewed Europe, North America and the Middle East as the most promising growth markets for Aquascutum.

Aquascutum For Sale?

Aquascutum For Sale?Aquascutum’s owner is believed to be in talks to sell the brand to YGM Trading. It emerged on Friday that Kim Winser, the CEO of Aquascutum, has quit after failing in a rival bid that she had spent 12 months trying to negotiate. According to sources at Daiwa Securities, the bank that is handling the sale, the talks with YGM are at a delicate stage.

Aquascutum has been owned for the past 19 years by the Japanese company Renown, but the group has been experiencing financial difficulties and is keen to raise cash. The impending sale has caused huge anxiety within Aquascutum, particularly over the future of its factory in Corby, Northampton-shire, where 120 people are employed making the group’s expensive clothing.

Lord Mandelson, Secretary of state for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, is taking a close interest in the matter, and through the British ambassador in Japan has contacted Renown to ensure British jobs will be protected. The government is also thought to have notified David Norgrove, the pensions regulator. Aquascutum, which employs 400 people in the UK and has annual sales of about £200m, is thought to be faced with a sizeable deficit in its pension fund. Norgrove will want to ensure that some of the sale proceeds are used to reduce this deficit.

The great majority of Aquascutum outerwear is made in England at Northamptonshire factory underscoring the company’s support of the British textile industry and ensuring impeccable standards are maintained.

Made in England pieces celebrate all the British hallmarks of Aquascutum – attention to detail, traditional craftsmanship and authenticity. Aquascutum invented the first waterproof cloth in 1853 and created the raincoat to protect English gentlemen and ladies from the elements and preserve their stylish appearance. This understated approach to solving a perennial fashion problem (how to look elegant in the hustle and bustle of city life) has continued for over 155 years.

Aquascutum A/W 2009 – Understated British Elegance

Aquascutum A/W 2009 - Understated British EleganceFor Autumn/Winter 2009, the Aquascutum London collection references the brand’s heritage for creating elegantly-tailored, modern city pieces. The iconic 1960s film ‘The Collector’ was taken as the primary reference, with the style of Terence Stamp informing the look. Under the design direction of Graeme Fidler, Head of Menswear Design, the collection continues to develop whilst celebrating the British hallmarks of Aquascutum – attention to detail, craftsmanship and authenticity.

Outerwear forms the heart of the collection, including the trench coat, which this season is re-worked in leather and heavy melton wool jackets and coats with leather detailing. Aquascutum is one of only a few remaining British luxury brands to still manufacture the majority of its outerwear, including all trench coats at its Corby, Northamptonshire based factory. ‘Made in England’ reaffirms the company’s luxury positioning and its commitment to ensure impeccable standards are maintained, whilst continuing to support and nurture the British textile industry.

The AquaMac, the ultra lightweight foldaway mac that is perfect for the inclement British weather, is updated with a ‘Primaloft’ wadding for warmth and new colours added include olive, mustard, silver and deep red.

The finest nappa leathers are used to create three luxurious coats. The trench coat features the authentic detailing of epaulettes, gun flap, belt and wrist straps with a narrow silhouette. The shearling lined jacket features zip pockets and detachable fur collar, whilst the short bomber adds a sporty touch. New downfilled coats provide warmth: from a sleeveless, functional gilet to a blouson with detachable quilted house check hood. Each is made from a high tenacity nylon, making them wind and rain proof.

A luxury story at the top end of this collection showcases a prestigious range of modern, hand-finished, full canvas suiting, eveningwear, and coats inspired by icons of the silver screen such as Humphrey Bogart, Richard Burton and Michael Caine. These pieces deliver the ultimate in traditional craftsmanship and exclusive fabrics, with a contemporary silhouette. The collection includes four suit styles; one, two and three button single breasted and a tuxedo; each has a strong sartorial edge particularly when worn with the hand-finished shirts and knitwear.

Understated British Elegance. The British weather is famed for its inclemency and unpredictability. Aquascutum invented the first waterproof cloth in 1853 and created the raincoat to protect English gentlemen and ladies from the elements and preserve their stylish appearance.

This understated approach to solving a perennial fashion problem (how to look elegant in the hustle and bustle of city life) has continued for over 155 years.

Fine craftsmanship, luxurious tailoring and attention to detail have been applied to all matters sartorial, creating a company with a quintessentially British point of view for whom the pursuit of style is a way of life.

Online Selection of Aquascutum here