Last year, Regent celebrated its tenth birthday. One year on, we speak with the company's founder and owner, Jason Regent, about his style and plans for the future.
As someone who helps to style other people, let's start with your look. How would you describe your style?
Casually, I like to keep it simple and very different to my formal wear. I love denim jeans, a plain white T-Shirt and navy jumper. I often wear Ludwig Reiter leather trainers, which are beautifully made, durable and, again, simple. I tend to like a 'classic' look, a bit like Steve McQueen. When wearing a suit, I prefer three-button jackets – perhaps because of my height – straight pockets and, ninety per cent of the time, a white shirt. I tend to favour darker coloured cloth for my suits and I love the contrast between a crisp white shirt and a really dark tie. It's really about the simple, clean silhouette.
What is your favourite item of clothing? Definitely a white shirt. It's so versatile. It can look great with denim jeans, if you want a more casual look. Worn as part of a suit, it is classic and contemporary and very smart.
Who or what is you go-to reference for style?
Three people tend to be in my mind when I think of style: my grandfather, Steve McQueen and Sean Connery (as James Bond). My mother was also a huge influence because she could be quite daring in her dress. Films are a constant source of inspiration, too. Tom Ford's A Single Man is a beautiful film. The Bond movies with Connery and Roger Moore I remember from my childhood. The suits in Gangster No 1 [a very grisly film!] are also beautifully cut and stylish.
Customers familiar with Regent's branded items and followers of your Instagram account will know that motor biking is a big part of your life. What's the appeal?
Again, I think Steve McQueen is an influence, but it's really down to my family. My uncle was a rider for Norton and my dad had a Triumph. When I was younger, I had a Vespa, but now in my forties, I wanted something more powerful, perhaps slightly more edgy. I enjoy the freedom and time apart that biking gives.
So, who is the Regent customer?
I think Regent has done well to appeal to a broad group of customers, from boys looking for suits for school, to older men who are looking for style advice because they want a change. Due to the area, we have a lot of military customers. In particular, we advise ex-military men on their style after they have left the army; sometimes the change in clothing can be a challenge for them. More generally, the range of different brands we stock appeal to men who want traditional or more contemporary styles. Really, each room in the shop will, and does, have something for all of our customers.
Regent Denim Jacket with merino V-neck pullover and
Aigle cotton shorts
In ten years of trading you must have some wonderful stories. What's the most memorable experience that you've had? There was one occasion when we picked up a customer in our van, who had flown to Salisbury in his helicopter. That was memorable. In truth, the nature of our business means that we meet lots of interesting customers who all have different needs and ideas about clothing. It is wonderful to be able to collaborate with people on a suit. You never really know who is going to come through the door and that really is a great part of my job.
OK, the thousand-pound question: which has got to be asked: What is your best tip for getting the suit right?
The most important thing is to get the cloth right but, in general, just keep it simple.
What is the biggest change that you've seen in menswear over the past decade?
I think a big change is that men are more willing to wear things narrower, particularly with jeans and casual trousers, but also with suits. Separates [jackets and trousers that complement rather than correspond] have become more popular as men are more interesting in mixing things up. I suppose the shooting culture has also declined, although it remains important to us.
Gender-neutral clothing is 'the' trend of the moment according to stylists and fashion journalists. Will it last?
I don't think gender neutral clothing is really that new, it's always been around. I remember my mother wearing tails and waistcoats and boiler suits when I was a child. There have been, and remain, lots of crossover products between menswear and womenswear. Ralph Lauren, for example, adapted a men's shirt for women and lots of his clothes are crossovers.
What is the one word that sums up Regent Tailoring? Timeless.
So, ten years in, what's next for the store with the small front and big behind – what can customers expect over the next decade?
I would like to do more collaborations, which I enjoy, for example those with Ludwig Reiter and the 8Ball Cyclery. I am really pleased with our new Grenfell coat (right) and I think it is important to build relationships with brands that understand what we are about. I would like to increase our range of suiting. Last year, we introduced our Heritage range, but I would like to go further. I also think there will be more focus on the website because this enables us to reach out to customers who cannot come to the shop.