An extraordinary mens blog for the ordinary man
Ben Dickens was the Design Director at Burberry for four years, working across all of the men’s product categories. Due to his career successes he was most recently charged with heading up Burberry Prorsum and the London collection working closely with the incredibly talented, Christopher Bailey. Before this, Ben cut his design teeth working along another iconic Brit Designer John Richmond in Milan.
In November 2011, he left the Burberry check behind him and join a fledging brand called Farrell, devised by someone called Robert Peter Williams, or as you my know him the sometime member of a band called Take that and has a couple of awards including Brits, MTV awards and Ivor Novellos to his name, Robbie Williams.
At the time of Dickens joining Farrell, William said, ‘A breath of fresh air is floating down the corridors of Farrell. The beautiful Ben Dickens has arrived, bringing his optimism, passion and vision to my Granddad’s clothing line. It’s beautiful to be at the start and see an open road in front of us. The more we talk, the more ideas we throw around – it’s exciting. It’s very similar to making an album, after all that’s what an album? It’s an idea. What is art? It’s an idea, as are clothes. We are at the tip of an iceberg, and it is an iceberg. Come join us, we are many.’
Farrell, is inspired by Robbie Williams grandfather, Jack Farrell or Jack the Giant Killer, as Williams refers to him, “My grandfather, Jack Farrell – Jack the Giant Killer – was a huge man, built like an Irish navvy, fought in the Second World War, lived on a council estate… He was the first real male figure in my life – he was an honest man, he taught me to box, I was surrounded by women and he worried that I was going to be a sissy. The integrity of his influence runs throughout this collection.”
He claims that Jack was a notable dresser and a strong man who had great integrity, honesty, good manners and a sense of humour. It is these qualities that form the foundation of Farrell and are now ingrained into the brand ethos, from the design process to the shop floor. Farrell promises to deliver classic wardrobe staples suitable for a night in, an afternoon at the footie or a night out. ‘Wear it in, Wear it out’is Farrell’s motto. Every piece within the Farrell collection is designed to become a longstanding part of a man’s wardrobe, growing and evolving with the wearer over time. Pieces such as the iconic Pea coat and Harrington signify Farrell’s dedication to British style and the principles of men being men.
Ben defines the Farrell man: “This is a brand for every guy – whether you’re going to the pub, taking your missis to the shops, going out with the lads. They’re pieces which will last you for years.”
Now, learn a little more about this man, the range and the man behind it and Ben Dickens answers a couple of questions for Clothes-make-the-man.com –
In your words describe the collection:
We wanted to create a wardrobe of perfected gent’s classic pieces and at a price that most guys could afford. Clothes with honesty, integrity and built to last; future hand-me-downs.
What was the inspiration for it?
The collection is a tribute to Jack Farrell, Robbie’s grandfather, and all the men of his generation; a time when men where men, acted as gentlemen and took pride in themselves and their appearance. For this season the collection took a more military slant. We worked with a beautiful old image from WW1 of the Christmas amnesty football match. It has a sentimental as well as a stylistic value to us.
What are the key pieces in it?
The collection is lead by the coats and outerwear. Within that particular pieces of note are the Great coat, the Military Control Trench and Peacoat. They are the kind of piece that when a fella puts them on they become his suit of armor to face the world.
What piece of clothing would you relegate to Room 101?
Diamante encrusted t-shirts, in fact any ‘bling’ encrusted clothes for men.
If you could give your teenage self advice, what would it be?
Under no circumstance attempt to wear – a zebra print shirt, cornflour blue twin set, white fur coat, red/blu/yellow ski salopettes, nail varnish, bleach-blonde hair and black patent buffalo boots in the same outfit.
What piece of clothing should everyman have in his wardrobe?
A great classic raincoat.
What piece of style advise do you live by?
‘Socks before, or after trousers but never socks before pants. Make’s a man look scary, like a chicken…’ – Mark from Peepshow 2003
If you could wear one brand/designer for the rest of your life, who would it be and why?
Farrell… So far – it’s the epitome of everything I want to wear.
What would be the one piece of clothing you would rescue from your home in the event of a fire?
My lucky undies (and perhaps my vintage 1941 Belstaff dispatch coat).
If you could have invented anything what would it be?
The Aston Martin, in particular the DB5.
Who is your style icon and why?
It’s a toss up between Steve McQueen and Harold Steptoe. Steve Mcqueen because he is cool as hell. Harold Steptoe because he’s literally thrown together, but always looks the epitome of disheveled elegance.