BEFORE DENIM, BEFORE CHINOS, THERE WERE GRAYERS
Being a history buff, I’m always fascinated to see how men’s clothes are inspired by serious military history and the lore that comes with it. Like the scandal rife duo of Lord Cardigan and Lord Raglan who gave us classics such as the cardigan and the Raglan sleeve. They showed us what happens when bon vivants meet military might. Lord Raglan was a major military contender with top command of all British forces during the Crimean War. He lost his right arm to a musket shot so his tailor made a coat with a simple diagonal sleeve to the underarm for more mobility. And it’s said that Lord Cardigan spent exorbitant sums on seriously dandified men’s uniforms for his troops.
Each Lord in his own way defined the relevance of aristocracy and military in how men dressed in the 19th century. And while they were dandies and expected their troops to be, they fell short on the battle field. Historically, I suppose they made up for it with what they gave back to menswear!
Having spent 11-years at Ralph Lauren and having a total passion for history (a former student of political science and history at Columbia University) I was reading about Britain in the 1930s. At the time, young men at Oxford and Cambridge switched from wearing three-piece suits to gray flannel trousers, commonly known as Grayers. And the casual menswear movement was born. Grayers were the must-have from British society to American prep schools.
It’s hard to imagine today but at that time wearing Grayers was considered radical. I was instantly inspired by the name. I had it in my mind to create a brand that would rewrite the classics and make them uniquely Grayers - well crafted, redefined and modernized - in a way that doesn’t break the bank.