Beckham leads from the front

By Sun Yuanqing in Shanghai(
Updated: 2017-05-11 14:57:32

British menswear brand Kent & Curwen is reinventing itself with a British soccer hero in the lead. Sun Yuanqing reports from Shanghai.

When it comes to men's style, there are few who are more convincing than David Beckham. Having modeled for Armani, designed for H&M and launched his own fragrance line, the former-footballer-turned-style icon is now carving out his own fashion territory with British menswear brand Kent & Curwen.

Beckham visited Shanghai earlier this week bringing the brand's latest collection to the city.

As a long-term partner of the brand, this time Beckham is not just the face of the brand, but also the brain behind it.

His ambition is to turn this 91-year-old heritage brand into a label that reaches different generations.

"We are a brand that has been around for many years, but we are evolving in so many different ways and styles … We want to be a brand that hits different ages," he says.

The brand showcased its 2017 autumn/winter collection, the first in collaboration with Beckham, which reinterpreted the classic cricket sweater and the rugby shirt.

The brand also launched a "Shanghai Club" capsule collection of blazers and polo shirts, which is available in an exclusive pop-up store at Lane Crawford Shanghai.

Daniel Kearns, creative director of Kent & Curwen who has worked with Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent, has teamed up with Beckham to reinvent the brand.

"We want to instill in each piece that sense of heritage, even as the washing and treating give it a contemporary edge. It is about using techniques to marry the heritage of the brand with a contemporary look," Kearns says.

Kent & Curwen, which is owned by Trinity International Brands, has a five-year agreement with Beckham, who is involved on all levels — from product development and market expansion, to advertising, store design and location — according to Women's Wear Daily.

The brand now has more than 100 stores globally with more than 70 in the Chinese mainland.

"Asia is a very important market for us," Kearns says. "It is really important to bring the new vision that we have been working on here, and explain it with some pieces from the collection, so everyone can live and breathe the new vision of what we are trying to do."

Beckham's own style is also seen in the collection, he says.

"David has an effortless style, whether it is formal or casual. What we want to do is to put that easiness into every piece," Kearns says.

Know for his impeccable style, Beckham says he also has moments — when he thinks he should not have worn certain pieces. But for him, the key to finding style is simple.

"It is to be true to yourself. Don't try to be somebody else. Wear what you love and what you feel comfortable with. It is one of the things I have always believed in."

His wife, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, who owns her own namesake label, has been one of his allies in the fashion business.

"Obviously Victoria has got a very busy and successful business. We talk to each other about both businesses. She kind of lets me get on with mine and I let her get on with hers."

His oldest son Brooklyn Beckham, who is now 18, is also very fashion-conscious.

"That is one great thing about having young children. I have an 18-year-old boy who wears Kent & Curwen probably every single day. Before I wear a piece, he has already gone to my wardrobe and taken it. That is how you get to know what youngsters want to wear."

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