A fantastic article written by Emma Golley from an interview with Martin (Co-founder & Creative Director).
Many seasoned professionals in fashion have witnessed the vast amounts of waste the industry creates during their long-spanning careers, few choose to do anything about it…Cue Martin Parker and his business partner Alan Baker. Both Yorkshire natives (that’s in the UK to anyone overseas) with a desire to create responsible, stylish, high quality menswear.
From sustainable fabrics to considered design, Martin and his Co-founder Alan are shaking up the Menswear market, one naturally sourced cashmere sweater at a time. Since their official launch in 2020, it’s clear they’re on to something special with features in publications such as British GQ already under their belt.
I had the pleasure of working with Martin over 10 years ago at Debenhams and couldn’t wait to find out more about his label Cut & Pin…
Hi Martin! Before we dive right in, tell us a little about your background in fashion…
I've been working in the industry now for 24 years, most of my career has been spent in London working for some very well known high end brands. This was until I moved back to Yorkshire with my family and took a head of design role at a cashmere company which started my love of cashmere!
Where did the idea for your label Cut & Pin come from?
Cut & Pin was born out of desire to create a brand that got back to basics. By that I mean, product that is thought through and considered in terms of the design and the manufacture of it, with items that work across every part of your life from home - to work or going out. We wanted to try and use deadstock and recycled fabric where we can as both Al and I both saw the amount of waste that the industry creates and this enabled us to approach design and manufacturing in a responsible way, limiting the use of virgin fabrics.
“It's quite tricky with menswear as there is a fine balance of looking different but not too scary that nobody wants to buy it!”
What do you think sets Cut & Pin apart from other menswear brands?
I think our whole brand proposition sets us apart, in terms of photography, tone of voice and of course the clothes and the way we style them. It's quite tricky with menswear as there is a fine balance of looking different but not too scary that nobody wants to buy it! But I think it's important to have a point of view and stand out from the crowd also.
How did you meet your Co-Founder and what do you feel you both bring to the table?
We both met while working at the cashmere company I mentioned earlier. I was head of design and Al was head of digital which are two different experiences that we can bring to Cut & Pin as well as sharing the same kind of humour!! We wanted to be Yorkshires equivalent to Dolce and Gabbana.. ha ha
“we need to go back to a time when clothes were not throw away items and were made to last. We should cherish the items we buy and wear them time and time again.”
Talk us through some challenges you have faced during the process of starting your own business…
Covid, covid and covid!! What a time to launch a business! We were all ready to launch, the Spring of 2020 and suddenly everything and everyone went into lockdown! We had to postpone the launch as we couldn’t get the product in so we decided to release a winter collection instead, which was a real feat for the both us! We managed to launch in the Dec 2020. Of course starting a business throws up all sorts of situations but this one was particularly tough.
Sustainability is clearly at the heart of your label, do you feel you are constantly learning when it comes to sustainable methods and practices?
Yes, absolutely always learning but the biggest thing for me now is that we need to go back to a time when clothes were not throw away items and were made to last. We should cherish the items we buy and wear them time and time again. This coupled with ethical production and trying to use sustainable fabrics all helps to minimise the environmental impact our industry has on the planet.
What was the best piece of advice you were given when launching Cut & Pin?
Don’t do it!! Only joking! Always believe in yourself and do it with passion!
What are your future aspirations and goals for Cut & Pin?
So many things but at the moment just to keep going..ha ha. Al and I have talked about how we would love to own our very own Yorkshire manufacturing unit someday and produce the collection right here in Leeds..someday! Fingers crossed!
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