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Five of our favourite British brands

Five of our favourite British brands

Excuse us while we Brits humblebrag for a minute: for centuries we’ve been churning out some of the most iconic brands under sun, while still having a knack for creating some cutting edge ones of the last decade, too. This is the country responsible for the classic trench, James Bond’s signature style, and, of course, Wellington boots. 

Needless to say, it was no easy feat whittling the list of brands down to our favourites. But as always, stylist Toby Standing was up for the challenge. And while he loves celebrating iconic British brands (you know, the Paul Smiths, the Burberrys) as much as the next person, he couldn’t refuse an opportunity to champion some independent brands who are pushing fashion in exciting new directions – in a distinctly British way, of course. 

Stepney Workers Club

This footwear holy grail draws inspiration from the inclusive culture of traditional Workers Sports Clubs (which is very quintessentially British, if you ask us). The genderless trainers are designed for all walks of life and their motto of ‘Freedom of Sport, Freedom of Thought’ reaffirms their freethinking, reinvention of classic trainer shapes. “It’s no secret how much of a fan I am of these guys,” Toby says. 

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Percival is an increasingly big player in the indie menswear space and ones that’s beloved by many British brand enthusiasts. “Playful motifs, great patterns, and expertly cut overshirts are what always spring to mind when I’m recommending pieces from here,” Toby saus. They have great fabric choices for all seasons, “although I’m a particular fan of their autumn winter wool styles.” 

Just starting out with this brand? “Check out their embroidered t-shirts that feature their signature motifs.”

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Wax London

How often can we talk about Wax? Quite often when it comes to the best of British brands. And if you’re an avid reader of our Style Tips stories, you’ll know that we’re always going about them. Why? In Toby’s words “they provide everything you’d need in a brand – great design, great fabrication, great silhouette, and a big dose of je ne sais quois that makes them a firm favourite in the Thread offices.”

If you’re only going to get one thing from the brand, Toby says make it either the Whiting Shirt (they’ve really nailed this), or their classic Mac coat, which is one of the most versatile versions of this style of outwear on the market right now. 

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Universal Works

Universal Works is a true ‘if you know, you know’ type of brand, and they make “some of the coolest garms out there,” in the words of Toby. They never really push the boat out too much, “it’s always just enough for me to look at one of their pieces and think ‘that’s cool, I like what they’ve done there’.” Expect pieces that are insanely wearable and classic, but also outrageously inventive when it comes to silhouette and colour. “Their knitwear and jersey styles are where it’s at for me, and their outerwear, and their trousers, and maybe the accessories too.” 

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The real OGs. Pervasive through so many subcultures and close to 100 years old, Clarks are one of those brands that is completely ingrained into menswear, especially in Britain. We’re firm believers that every type of guy can find something from Clarks that will fit into their personal style. 

“For me, it’s the Wallabee shoe (always size down in these FYI), but they make such a variety of shapes that there’s without doubt something for everyone – this is hands down the reason they’ve been popular for so long,” Toby says. A recent favourite from us is the gum-sole Chelsea boots, they’re super versatile and great for the time of year we’re in right now. 

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Words: Yasmine Kennedy
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Toby Standing