David Beckham has signed a five-year deal to take on a leading role at Kent & Curwen, the famed “outfitters to gentlemen of sport” based on Savile Row. Founded in 1926 as a maker of military, college and club ties, the firm went on to introduce the iconic cricket sweater in the 1930s, worn by the likes of Michael Caine and Mick Jagger, and has made sporting gear for British royals including the Prince of Wales, and William and Harry. In 2013 the company was bought by Hong Kong-based holding group Trinity Limited, which now also owns Savile Row stalwart Gieves & Hawkes and Cerruti.
Beckham will be personally involved in all aspects of the brand’s business, including product development, market expansion, advertising and store design and location, as well as having a capsule collection under his name including apparel and accessories, though he won’t actually be designing the product. For now it is assumed that designer Simon Spurr, formerly of Ralph Lauren, will remain as Kent & Curwen’s creative director. Under the terms of the contract Beckham will not be able to lend his name to any other menswear brands.
“I’m always looking to work with brands and companies that have a rich history and authenticity,” Beckham, who also has a collaboration with Belstaff, told WWD. “When this authenticity is rooted in the country that I came from, it attracts me even more to the partnership. What I love is that Kent & Curwen has a pedigree and excellence that has been passed through generations…. I’ve always been inspired by simple, effortless style,” he adds. “Sometimes it’s a pair of classic jeans and a T-shirt and sometimes it’s a great suit from a classic British tailor.”
Despite its deep-seated roots in the UK Kent & Curwen, which “represents British heritage with the dust blown off”, according to Trinity Ltd., has seen its biggest growth in Asia, where it now operates over 100 stores. Under Beckham’s aegis the brand plans to open 20 new stores around the world, focusing on cities like New York, Miami, Milan and Paris, which also happen to be key destinations for Chinese tourists WWD reports. Of course it is hoped that Beckham will do much to bolster the brand in his native land as well.