Thursday, 18 July 2013

Eton Shirts – Inside the Buyers’ Meeting

53 South Molton Street at 9:00am may seem like an unlikely starting point to hunt for Aladdin’s Cave, but step over the threshold to Eton’s new London store and breathe it in. High ceilings filled with shelves that span the entire wall; shirts arranged in their neat stacks, separated by the wooden furnishings. Each one is, we are informed by Ryan Squibb, the Managing Director, of the utmost quality due, in no small part, to the 40 steps taken to create each item.

Above the normal shop are the buyers’ rooms. Today we at Gatsby head upwards in trepidation at what the brand has in store for us. Again, like the shop floor it is all sleek cupboards and showcases, filled with the best examples of what the Swedish company produce (a gun toting octopus set of cufflinks catches our eye). 

Introductions and pleasantries aside, within 5 minutes we’re being convinced to undress and try on the new “super slim fit,” a creation reserved it seems for the very lithe of us. Lacking in gut we may be, at this point there was still regret for going with the bacon and egg sandwich over the muesli.

When the actual buying begins, it has the air of a tasting meal, laid on by a fine restaurant – a glimpse, a little morsel of the main dish, before it is whisked away to be replaced by another. Our palette was whetted by the smart checks, before arriving at an entrée of boldly shaped prints.

The meeting lasts for what is close to three hours – what started as a large table, devoid of any clutter, is now groaning under the number of swatches laid upon it. Bow ties, ties, pocket squares, shirts and cufflinks: it is here where they are embraced into the Gatsby fold or rejected for another season.

On 90 per cent of occasions we make snap decisions, within a matter of milliseconds as to whether they will appear in the windows of our Marlow store. But there are a few pieces which stop us in our stride and reconsider – these are usually ones that involve breaking all of the carefully constructed style commandments that men are supposed to believe in. We consider until we realise that rules are meant to be broken and they’re more like guidelines anyway, before resuming our furious pace.

When the meeting ends, we have laid waste to four months’ worth of collections. Were we to now take our wares home, we would require an underground train to ourselves. Ranging from blue herringbone shirts to those of a floral nature, all the bases have been covered.

For what began as a family business in Sweden nearly a century ago, it is extremely satisfying to know that their values then still ring true today. The Managing Director seems to use the phrase “feel the handle” a lot, not out of a misplaced sense of pride, but so we can run our hand across the shirt and share in the same appreciation of quality that still makes him smile. It is a quality that demands a moment of reverence, before continuing.

Eton shirts is an operation that is riddled with sophisticated and splendour, yet without any sense of pretension – the current campaign model is also a sheep farmer, the staff are friendly and welcoming, the shop is warm and plays brilliant music. Yes, one might become surly at the name “Eton” – but we bet you’d rather say the name of an old English institution than what it was called in Swedish (Skjortfabriken Special).


  1. Great comments gentlemen thanks for the meeting it was good to see you both as ever. Doesn't the Octopus Print look awesome!

    Best Regards Ryan.

    1. Hi Ryan,
      Great to see you! Really looking forward to the Autumn/Winter stock coming in as well, can't wait to show everyone the parachutists.
      Speak soon,

  2. i think it is octopus print shirt in brown color ,i think this will be suitable wear near beach side.


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