Menswear Style Podcast

Nick Hussey, Founder of FRAHM

August 04, 2020 Menswear Style Episode 75
Menswear Style Podcast
Nick Hussey, Founder of FRAHM
Chapters
Menswear Style Podcast
Nick Hussey, Founder of FRAHM
Aug 04, 2020 Episode 75
Menswear Style

Based in Bath, Somerset, FRAHM was created by two best friends - Jason Tripp and Nick Hussey. They make a maximum of 100 high-end men's jackets of each style once a year, selling on pre-order due to their scarcity. They feel jackets from the big brands don't do what they're supposed to. If they're technical, they look awful; but if they're stylish, they don't work properly or last long enough. FRAHM is a men's brand that's a bit more thoughtful and kinder. The brand is officially 'In Aid Of' Mind, the mental health charity, where they give £10 from every jacket sold, and work with them to promote men's mental health. Their multi-purpose jackets are built to work in both urban and rural environments. Detailed and easy to care for, they're also designed to be tough, for real-world use. The founders built the brand to straddle the space between out-there fashion brands and unsexy technical gear, made by skilled craftspeople. FRAHM only sell small batches of one jacket style at a time, and once that batch has gone, it's gone.

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Nick Hussey, Founder of FRAHM about the lessons he learnt from running his first fashion brand, the benefits of being self-taught in design, taking inspiration from Savile Row tailors, and how being different in business is a great marketing tool. Our host Peter Brooker and Nick also chat about giving back through charity, creating exclusivity through a limited-edition pre-order release model, and how being previously suicidal has now driven him to create inspirational and motivational content on his website to help others.

Whilst we have your attention, be sure to sign up to our daily MenswearStyle newsletter here. We promise to only send you the good stuff.

Show Notes Transcript

Based in Bath, Somerset, FRAHM was created by two best friends - Jason Tripp and Nick Hussey. They make a maximum of 100 high-end men's jackets of each style once a year, selling on pre-order due to their scarcity. They feel jackets from the big brands don't do what they're supposed to. If they're technical, they look awful; but if they're stylish, they don't work properly or last long enough. FRAHM is a men's brand that's a bit more thoughtful and kinder. The brand is officially 'In Aid Of' Mind, the mental health charity, where they give £10 from every jacket sold, and work with them to promote men's mental health. Their multi-purpose jackets are built to work in both urban and rural environments. Detailed and easy to care for, they're also designed to be tough, for real-world use. The founders built the brand to straddle the space between out-there fashion brands and unsexy technical gear, made by skilled craftspeople. FRAHM only sell small batches of one jacket style at a time, and once that batch has gone, it's gone.

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Nick Hussey, Founder of FRAHM about the lessons he learnt from running his first fashion brand, the benefits of being self-taught in design, taking inspiration from Savile Row tailors, and how being different in business is a great marketing tool. Our host Peter Brooker and Nick also chat about giving back through charity, creating exclusivity through a limited-edition pre-order release model, and how being previously suicidal has now driven him to create inspirational and motivational content on his website to help others.

Whilst we have your attention, be sure to sign up to our daily MenswearStyle newsletter here. We promise to only send you the good stuff.

Unknown:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The menswear style podcast. I'm your host Pete Brooker and on this episode I'm going to talk to Nick Hussey founder and designer of from jacket. I want to hear a little info from jacket website. Just to give you some background on Nick the website, by the way, you can find from jacket.com. That's FHM jacket.com. From is Jason Tripp and Nick Hussey. We do everything except cut and sew the jackets, we feel the jackets from the big brands don't do what they're supposed to do. If they're technical, they look awful. But if they're stylish, they don't work properly or last long enough. There is little innovation and not enough value. We want to design jackets and build a company we're proud of. Okay, so this is a very interesting chat, Nick has a very open, he is very open about the ins and outs of the business. He also talks about how he managed to bounce back from some of the scary low points in his life. But Nick also gives a fascinating insight on how to be a designer, even if you're not a patent cut or a seamstress. So hopefully, there's quite a few takeaways for everyone. All that come so make sure you're checking out the website menswear style dot code at UK and the social app men's wear style. All the latest fashion news and Nick Hogan has done an awesome article on the best men's fragrances to buy in 2020. Can you guess any that are on the list? Any group? That's just one to check out that article and many more on the website. And also, if you want to tell us about your brand and your journey, you can email the show at info at men's wear style.co.uk. Okay, yeah. Let's get to it. This is a good one. Hope you enjoy it. Here is Nick Hussey, founder and designer of from jacket. Well, it's my great pleasure to introduce founder and designer of from jacket. Nick Hussey. How you doing today, Nick? Hello, Jeff. I'm very well, I'm trying to stay cool. With a fan sticking right in my face. Just tell us a little bit about who you are where you are. So I am a self taught apparel designer. I like to make apparel, and specifically jackets with my second company where I combine hidden performance. So it's not obvious with classic style. And I've tweaked classic styles, these men's jackets only my previous company was called vulpine. And I made commuter cycling clothing, which was a very inefficient to different as for men and women are full range clothing. And I learned from that experience, I basically went bust in 2017 because we're growing very fast and spending large amounts of money on stock and that stock in turn up, I learned that growing and buying lots of stock is dangerous. I don't want that to happen again. I had a nervous breakdown. And so when I came back to do it again, with from I took all those lessons and I said, Okay, I'm gonna make a really small company that specialises The thing I was always best at, I've got the best reviews that ended up in the design, Museum, etc. And I will also give money to minds, the mental health charity and talk about mental health and just have a sort of kinda men's sort of bloke brand. And that's kind of it. And in terms of the office, I am literally one man in one tiny office with the remains my stock because we have a pre order model. So most of our stock is sold in advance. And I just see it with my computer and hopefully make pretty things tell us a little bit why jackets and how you got into design in jackets primarily. So I got into so my sort of history is I grew up as a racing cyclist and I went to uni and did sports science, which seems completely unrelated, but I specialised in physiology, and biomechanics and ergonomics. I'm fascinated by the way, my dissertation is always about clothing. It's always about wearing stuff, and about how it enables people at that time it was athletes, but I realised that over time that developed I went and ran clubs and bars, restaurants, all kinds just sort of meandered around ended up in the film world and running film companies and picked up a background in marketing and in design and stuff like that. And all this stuff seems not to gel until you've got to 2010 I was running a film company stressed out of my mind. And I just thought I've always wanted to do my own thing. I've got this idea. I'd love to design clothes. Christ, I have absolutely no experience in it. I just want to do it. I'm gonna find out what I'm capable. And so I left my job in 2000 and 2009 started building this company vulpine beginning in 2010, and and started making Sort of high performance, classically styled, tailored sort of cycling clothing. And it was pretty successful in grew, I've always needed help in the production side. So, so I don't. So I'm really upfront about this, I have no education in design, just an enormous amount of an influx of ideas and influences and cultures that from where I've travelled the world and done various jobs. And I've tried to combine those, and a huge love of clothing I've I used to when I could afford it by Savile Row, and just love clothes ever since I was in clubbing. And I've combined all these interests into something, it turns out I'm reasonably good at which I can't quite believe it's, it's pretty bizarre. And I feel guilty in many ways, because other people have spent their careers doing this. Designing is like the kind of I think there's an equal amount of talent that goes into knowing what looks good in a garment, as to what makes a garment as well as people can be pattern cutters and tailors. But they don't always have the eye for what looks good, or how to you know, how to actually design a suit or jacket as it were. I have a theory speak to that. Because I had no background in it. I had no idea of what people would scare people. You know, I didn't do a degree where people said, this is how you do things. I didn't work as an apprentice or build my way through another label where people said, Nick, this is how we've always done it. This is the way you will do it. I just arrived. Just knowing what I liked. I just tried to do it. Yeah. And I hoped, I found that a while back when I was in a band, writing songs for the band. And you know, I played the piano at the time. And I was just actually getting a bit exhausted writing songs on the piano. And my bandmate who's the guitar player goes, right, you can just fiddle about on the guitar, right? Okay, yeah, I can just do bits and bobs on the guitar. And I soon learned how to write songs better on the guitar, because I didn't really know the rules of the guitar, whereas I knew the rules of the piano kind of inside and out really the scales, octaves, you know, kind of inversions, etc. But when you look at when you have something that's a bit foreign to you, you perhaps just going by Sound and Vision, then you are by going through theory, and I'm going to try and spin that background to sartorial and designing, but it's a, I think the process might be a little bit like that, would you say, you've got an open page. And I think the scariest part of it is, is daring to, to put yourself onto that page. And to be judged, I guess, is I can remember, I wasn't scared about having to learn all this stuff. And a lot of setting up a business is just learning how to run a business and do the finance operations. But I, I just my, I've sort of this is part of what I talk about is always talking about the sort of emotional side of what I do, hopefully and accessible and not to sort of weepy way, but I always talk about had this desperate fear of regret, of not knowing if I was ever capable of doing this thing. And so I just gave it a go. And my wife could see that I was just, you know, bashing it, I was never going to stay in this sort of normal inverted commas job, because I was just never going to be satisfied until I tried. And I think that's the case with any sort of creativity or anything that you really seek. Wish you could do is most of us don't do the things we wish we could do. And it's, it's I have to remind myself now I've been doing 10 years that I chose the one thing in the world that I really wouldn't wanted to do apart from winning the Tour de France, which I did have to like never do. It's very too late. But yeah, it's it's fun and it's fascinating. And I see myself you know, on this podcast with guys from Universal works and and sons and Johnson of Elgon, you know, people I really look up to and like what massive imposter syndrome. So you have the idea for from and by the way, where does the name come from? So from it's a couple of things so from Neil's from is my favourite musician. And from his music middle is back in the Middle Ages it was German for noble a man of good character. And I particularly want but that didn't mean anything to most people that I could sort of create a brand around. But I also wanted something that had a meaning which was essentially a nicer night is a terrible word but a kind of a thoughtful men's brand. Because I something that didn't satisfy me was the product in terms of how it combined performance and style, but also in terms of a brand that could be I talk about real life I am constantly obsessed by real life and rather than creating a sort of beautiful other world. I want to create a beautiful real world. You see what I mean? Because I think the more beautiful and more interesting and also tougher Then, then something that's invented. And that's kind of my that's why that the tag tough, beautiful is there because life is tough, but it's also beautiful. My garments are tough. They're also beautiful. Nice. And have we managed to get a jacket to nails from yet? I'm too embarrassed. And also, I'd imagine that he'd be embarrassed to wear a garment that was like he's just got his name smacked all over it. I'm, I'm a weird person in lots of ways. One of them's I'm very extrovert, and also extremely shy. So it's not use max all over the place. I'd actually say the logos are really so it's not something that's completely splayed on all over the the torso or the arms, you know, No, you're right. In terms of the brand, no wanted for the garments to have something that the outside was, was quiet that didn't shout and didn't say, Look at me, I'm a great brand. The proof was in the pudding. You know, when you actually wore it, and you wore it for years, it will prove itself. And then the inside sort of just jumps I'm jumping ahead. But I think that, you know, I'm influenced by people as we're boating, and other sorts of retailers who you splashes of colour. So I like to pass the colour on the inside of garments, quite often, but quite subdued on the outside most of the time. Did you go to Oswald to get your Savile Row suit? I'm curious. I didn't I got one from Richard jaynes. And then I've just got his name brightened Taylor. He did write the beginning of this podcast questionably? Yes. Most of the time. I got one question. Blake is course based in Brighton and much more affordable and also a bit madder and I quite semi wedding suit was pink, and grey pinstripe with a yellow lining. Yeah. Which now does not fit me even remotely. But yeah, a bunch of stuff like that. And I just loved the process. But what I disliked about that was seeing these garments were very restrictive. And I just like things that I can throw on, I can do all kinds of stuff. Yeah, that's how I designed it. I guess that kind of takes me back to from jacket. I mean, there's some little one you there's some unusual colours, I think within the range. I don't think that's unfair to say like the Pepe orange, which I think really stands out and the the read in the racing jacket there. I don't know if these are typical colours within this kind of sector. But I'd say that these are quite ambitious cars. Yeah. And I think that so the garments and the designs are for me. So I tried to go for a sort of, I designed for myself, I am a 47 year old bloke, he thinks he's 30. Who wants to wear really classic hardwearing garments last a long time that totally reliable, do a great job. And I want to wear garments that aren't aren't fashion items that change year by year, I want something that's rock solid, classic. And then within that what happened was when I launched only two years ago, I launched with a black utility field jacket. And then when things started going well like then it's Navy. And now we have yellow, khaki, green, Navy, black cetera. And I try and bring in pop colours, because my inclination is actually to always go for bright colours mixed. I mix up colours. I don't sort of wear wacky stuff, but I will, you know, sort of always have a statement piece. And what I wear, and I just thought, you know what, I think people would like colour and I I asked my customers I know almost all my customers. Almost all my customers talk to me on live chat on the website before they buy something. So I say What would you like? And people started saying I'd select something brighter. And so I just thought I'll give it a go. So yes, we have I tend to use the bright colours for marketing because they attract attention. So like the orange ventile or the racing red pants, and the reason red Harrington comes from James Dean, were some if you google his his name, you'll see him wearing a red hand. And I thought that looks amazing with blue jeans and a white t shirt. And because the the hat that Harrington racer is based on a racing sort of motorcycle type, sort of Motorhead style. I just thought, I've got to do it read and it's been our best selling colour this year. You're right, the website has got a lot of colour, which I don't know when you go to a lot of websites, it some of it does look a little bit formulaic. I guess because a lot of people are using the same platforms, especially startup companies. I guess they're using kind of all that using the tried and tested models. I guess you know, the the flatsome beams that hmm primer Hook use etc. And it's, and once it starts to get a little bit cookie cutter, they all start to homogenise. But one good way to distinguish it, I think is what you've done, which is inject a lot of colour into your garments, and it really does bounce off the website. Thank you. So my just on that, so I, luckily or unlucky, I've found that I'm pretty good at marketing. So I do consulting and that and, and so something I'm obsessed by is being different and being as real and as genuinely, you know, emotionally connected to somebody as possible. And I know who the big boys are, I know who the big brands are. And I know how I can be I hope different. And that's why it's so important that I attach a mental health beam and being a bit different to what I do. But, but also, what's so unusual, I guess, is that I only make 100 of every style a year. And I don't want to take over the world. I'm never going to and I never want to try. And so I can always just do my thing. And I guess by reducing the inventory that will heighten the exclusivity and perhaps create I don't know, a little bit more myth and excitement about the brand bit like trying to get a Rolex Submariner. Right? Yeah. Apart from the enormous cost, yeah. And no, it's what I want. What, what I wanted to do is, from his direct reaction to the horror of losing the Alpine and, and so that's why I give money to mind. But that's also why I built a company. And I, what's interesting is, as I build from, it's essentially about jackets, but a lot of people tend to be entrepreneurs and sort of business owners or people who run businesses, and they're very interested in what I'm doing. And I'm very honest about that. And I say, that I built from to be a small company where we sell most of what we can, you know, rather than going to big sales, we don't do winter or summer sales, that is a much safer model, I've deliberately created a business that is cash safe, because I never want what happened to me before to happen again. So I make sure that I'm selling my jackets in advance, I get my cash. And because of that sort of great honour or, or favour that customers do, and giving me the cash, up to a year in advance of a jacket sells particularly well, I given the 20% off. So essentially, by the government 20% off as a pre order. And if I have any left, they have to buy a full price. And it seems to be a model that's working, is anyone else doing this model? I would certainly other people are doing a pre order model. And that's becoming more prevalent. But I see like David hyporheic jeans, you know, as an advocate of this, but I don't think this particular model of limiting well like supreme limit the number of garments they make, and they sell out, obviously, incredibly quickly. And that was another inspiration for me. But it was actually a bike brand that sells wheels, I just did some consultancy for them. And I just thought they would sell pre orders months, months in advance. And I thought my God, that means I don't have to go get loads of cash. Because I used to go and see big investors, my previous company, and they'd say, Nick, the problem with clothing companies is they're incredibly cash hungry, you buy a load of stock for your season, and you hope to sell a good chunk of it. And then what you've got left, you have to sell a huge discounts, get rid of it to get your cash back. And then people wait for your sales. So then you get less cash. And then and this was repeated in all these meetings zones having they said, We don't like that model. And I thought, well, if they don't like that model, it's because it's a bad model. But the thing is, we kind of dug into that because that's the way it's normal. So I thought when I gave got the forced chance to redo my company and create a second company, I thought, I've got to change that model. Because otherwise I'm going to end up in a cycle of discounting and looking for cash and all this stuff adds up and it will sink me. So trying to avoid. Nick, talk to me a little bit about the blogs on your website. It feels like this is also another part of the journey of the brand. And maybe you can fill us in about some of the articles that other people have written. It seems to be like a very honest kind of open Hartfield with some of these entries up it's this thing about tough beautiful his life is tough, but it is also beautiful and and that is essentially about when I was having nervous breakdown and I'm very frank about the fact that I was suicidal at one point that you you look for the things that you can keep you going and for me what was tough was very clear, but the beautiful things were my children it specifically you know by a that was what I sent it on. I was obsessed about to get me through. And now as I recovered I'm very happy to say I'm fully recovered I would I now see the world in with different eyes. I see beauty Why didn't before. And so I want to talk honestly about and other people to talk honestly about that. And so I do my podcasts And I just talked to people and it's not hardcore stuff. It's not always heavy going. My first podcast was pretty heavy going cuz I'm talking extremely honest, honestly about, you know, my trials and tribulations and how it came out of that to create from. But most podcasts are just nice chats with nice people about interesting stuff in sometimes you go into dark hairs sometimes it's funny, but the thing for me is that these are just ordinary people with extraordinary aspects that you may not have uncovered. Normally, and it kind of it's kind of attached to what from does, because I want classic jackets that from a distance don't look special. But when you look closer you go, Wow, wow, really thought about that. And that's what gives me pleasure is to create something that isn't shot a song and dance isn't fast sort of facade that has depth to it underneath, in everything I do. So I'm just trying to think of examples. I mean, I'm also come from a very heavy creative background. My mom is a professional photographer, and my, my background is in filmmaking. And so I also have a lot of creative stuff on the blog. And I just want to keep people interested basically. And where can people find the podcast? So if they search for from Jackie, on SoundCloud, or on iTunes, and you've been really tardy at your podcasts, I haven't done one since I did Mark Herbert, who's the head of walk films at the end of last year, because this is England. Yeah, yeah. I mean, I, I got to know him because he became a customer of vulpine and I was he invited me to the there was a screening the NF T of dead men shoes with a live orchestra doing the soundtrack eyes. Oh, they're very cool, though. Yeah, I was one of my all time favourite films, and it's based where I grew up. I grew up in natyam. or near Notting. I thought Casino Royale at the Royal Albert Hall with David Arnold doing the orchestra. Well, he didn't do the orchestra. But the he came on for the last bit, picked up the guitar and just did the theme. hammered the checking and left. You're a huge James Bond fan. For James Bond fan. Yeah, I am. I am indeed. Yeah. Very much. So. So yeah, I've got I've got a very Nishi geeky sight in my life, the what I didn't, I oversaw the title sequence for Quantum of Solace. So what they called mK 12, I think, who a group of amazing animators in Texas, got the job. I came into the company relatively late, so I didn't do all of it. So I didn't get to meet Mr. Bond, Daniel Craig, but it's quite funny because so I was sort of in the tail end of this enormous high budget sort of title sequence. And then we were like, really obviously hadn't seen the film we weren't allowed to. And then I organised like a Western I booked out a huge Odeon to show all my clients, his film, and everyone Oh, well done for the title sequence, and then people walked out of the film, and I was like, Okay. Wow, wow, what a great thing to have on the CV. mk like Michael K. 12. Right. I think for for Michael. Yep. I think I think so. Yeah, I've worked terrible. I worked so many directors, and it sort of just passes in the, you know, into the fog now, but I think I've got to have they're not listening to me really embarrassing, but it was it's fascinating. I mean, that's something I love doing is working with really talented people. And something that I mean, next I really want to work on is, is doing more films because my backgrounds in it, and it's almost so intimidating for me because I know what is possible. I haven't thought of making the films The last 10 years, which is really stupid thing. So I'm going to start trying to do that. Well, I'll be watching that space. Definitely. Okay. Well, Nick, listen, it's been it's been really interesting talking to you learning about your background and learning about the company. And also like when you go to the site and people when you go to Fromm jacket calm. There's a little icon with your face saying I'm here. I'm ready for a question. And before I started talking to you, I just thought, okay, that's that's a nice touch for a bot. But then, actually, no, it's you now. It's you and I can I can envisage where you are in the office. It's me, it really is me. I really do do literally everything. It's murderously hard, but it's incredibly effective because you can actually just like chat me and ask the guy who designed the thing and overseen all the production. You know, exactly the question you want to ask and get the exact answer. And I won't be able to do that forever. That would be impossible. I grow I was going to ask how, how do you envisage? I know that you don't want to become like this huge juggernaut and overtake the kind of fashion industry, but you must have half an idea to expand. And then how are you going to do that when you're really protective over everything that you've kind of nurtured from the ground up here? Yeah, it's hard. And during the Coronavirus problems, it's been the hardest because I've only been able to work three days a week, three whole working days for the entire company is unbelievably difficult. So I was really exhausted, but I'm taking on someone's soon who will take on the stuff, basically, that releases me to do you know that this sort of designing creative stuff that I love, and that I'm good at, but for this year we've gone from, so it's one gun, 2018 utility fuel jacket, now it's five guns last year. And now it will be 11 guns by the end of this 12 guns by end of this year. And next year, I'm planning, probably another four. And I'll slow down after that. Because essentially, for me to stay small, I just don't want to create enormous numbers of jackets, I will. And unusually, I create repeat styles. So each year I make the same style, I might change a couple of colours. But that's why you pre order them well in advance so you can get them. And so I'm creating rock solid classics, that you know exactly what you're getting very intensely reviewed by customers. So, you know, you don't need to worry about I'm buying this particular style this year. Let's just give it a pumped, you're going to want to quit and I feel jacket, you want to know that it's been nailed. And so you can read like hundreds of views. And yeah, and check it. So to really just some degree of range expansion. And eventually I just, you know, for me to I just want to lead a reasonably nice life in some is I will need to make a few more jackets. But that's that's the way off yet. So, Nick, what jackets able to spill the beans on what styles we can expect out of the new form? And you can have an excuse, please? Yeah, which ones which stuff? I don't know how exciting is but no. I last year, I asked customers what they wanted. I have a very strong gaggle customers, of course, I live chat with them email, all kinds. And I just sent a survey and I said, Look, guys, what do you want? And they said a bomber jacket. So that is definite. Well, we're in development, hopefully when we've nailed that now. But it's weird. I say we it's kind of me, but I have some help, you know, to make sure that I'm nailing you know, fabrics and you know, the production side but, but the bomber should arrive next year. And that'd be reasonably innovative sort of classic innovative, because I for me, I'm still a frustrated customer. I go on websites, and I see things that I don't quite right. And so, of course, again, I'm designing for myself and that's my policy by design for myself. And I like it hopefully other people. Yeah. I look forward to seeing that. Yeah, bomber jacket and maybe a Duster Jacket. Hey, no time to die coming out. The Duster Jacket is going to be everywhere. You're right. Yeah. See, I surreptitiously got it back to bond. That's our that's my Opus. It's been pushed back. A heartbreak. so heartbreaking. There's there's rumours of it going on video of demand and following other models, but I mean, so we've got Tennant coming out. I believe in a couple of months that will do both or they'll open it up exclusive. So I'm a Chris Nolan fanboy. Yeah, Interstellar is my favourite. So yes, that is such a good film. Yeah. If we, Nick, I've taken up so much your time but thanks so much for jumping on. You're welcome. How about that just a really nice grounded gentleman and a huge ball of talent. Make sure you're supporting the good guys and head over to from Jackie coda UK and treat yourself to a kick ass jacket. And in the meantime, thanks for tuning in. If you like what you're hearing, leave a review. Maybe there's a brand or a person you think would make a good guest for the show. Put your suggestions and comment on iTunes. We read them all and until next time,