Ashdown Workshop x FatKidOnFire - Interview #119

Ashdown Workshop x FatKidOnFire

Interview #119

It’s somewhat hard to believe that we’re almost in May of 2013 and we’ve yet to have a full brand feature this year here on FatKidOnFire.

Standards have been slipping since we lost Chris to 5 Pointz earlier this year! Luckily (for us), I’ve heard on the grapevine that Mr. Burnham has freed up a bit of time in his otherwise hectic schedule over the next few months – so we may yet see a bit more content from him here on FKOF. In the mean time, as seems to have been the case recently, we’re welcoming another contributor to the team.

I’d been talking to a few people about the streetwear situation (after Chris took a step back) and what we were going to do in the meantime. Rob dropped me an email and suggested I talk to Dominic Livingston. Dominic runs Motiiv, a digital events journal that showcases the best culture London’s events and experiences have to offer – something close to my heart. We got chatting, hit it off, and I pointed him in the direction of one of the brands I’ve wanted to feature here on FKOF for as long as I’ve known about them…

Ashdown Workshop x FatKidOnFire

Ashdown Workshop x FatKidOnFire

To me, Ashdown Workshop are the epitome of what’s great in the UK’s independent fashion industry. A father and son company, based in the UK, who make all (yes, all) of their products in-house and by hand.

And, if that’s not enough, they produce some of the best – and most often overlooked – items in one’s wardrobe. Working almost exclusively with leather, the team produce British-made wallets, belts, device cases and much more. There’s something about the material – the way it ages as its worn, used and loved, that has always drawn me to it. Combined with their heritage, this is a brand providing a win/ win proposition…

“We work with original antique leather tools, no plastic parts or stanley knives here. These superior quality tools and our extensive knowledge in the leather trade allow us to produce products with no use of any kind of machines whatsoever.

“All of our products are hand-cut and hand-stitched, a technique now rarely used due to the affordable access and speed of modern sewing machines. We pride ourselves on this ability to make products in this way, something on which the whole business is built upon.”

Hi Sean. Can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do? My name is Sean Hammett and I’m founder of The Ashdown Workshop Company.

I’ve personally always been into fashion for as long as I can remember – the streetwear element of it in particular. I work for a large streetwear retailer at the moment. This is where I’ve built my knowledge of the industry and, more importantly, some of the skills needed to set up and maintain a brand.

I also work as a photographer, both in full time employment and on a freelance basis.

Ashdown Workshop x FatKidOnFire

You must be very busy, but it sounds like you enjoy what you do! It’s great to understand the influence you’ve gained from working and developing your understanding within fashion. How those experiences help Ashdown Workshop come together? I’ve always been keen to start a brand of some sort – ever since I took the leap from purely being interested in fashion to actually working in the industry.

My main idea, like a lot of others, was to start simple t-shirt brand, but this idea slowly changed throughout my five years of working within streetwear. I slowly started to see more and more brands coming through and this really spurred me on a start something of my own.

I made the decision that if I was going to set something; it had to be something different. I had to find a niche in the market. I started to grow a passion for quality, high-end, luxury goods and I guess you could say that’s what gave me inspiration to set up Ashdown Workshop.

I think your approach to finding something different – to finding that ‘Niche’ in the market – is great! I’m sure that many of your customers appreciate that you guys provide them with a product that’s within its own class as well. I’m interestes in the name of your brand.

Where did Ashdown Workshop come from? The name came about for a couple of reasons. ‘Ashdown’ because I used to take trips to Ashdown Forest quite a bit as a kid and it’s a place that is close to my heart.

‘Workshop’ because the work carried out to make our leather items is conducted in a small workshop in the south east of England.

Let’s talk about your latest collection. Why ‘RAVEN Black’? I just made the name up. I was thinking of things, which represent black, or alternate meaning of black. I thought of Noir etc but just came up with RAVEN.

Ashdown Workshop x FatKidOnFire

Why Black? Is it a type of colour that you haven’t yet approached or?  The RAVEN Black Collection came about as natural progression of expanding our product range within the brand. With the initial collection, the one we launched the brand with in 2012, we worked with a single colour of leather (called ‘Cashew’).

It was an obvious starting point for us, the colour was a classic tan colour and it also showed the most ageing. Through this ageing the leather darkens and gains character, known as Patina. Each piece will age uniquely, which is something that we wanted to really promote from the start.

From here we carried on making our items but introduced ‘Almond’ to our colour options, a classic dark and rich brown tone. Finally in March 2013, we added our third colour and this is where ‘RAVEN’ black comes in. It was a colour that we’ve wanted to work with for a while and it was always going to be the next colour on our list. The simple black items are stitched together with black linen thread to give a tonal, clean look.

We plan to roll out more colours as the year progresses with striking red leather next in line.

Ashdown Workshop x FatKidOnFire

What are your ambitions for Ashdown Workshop this year – what can we expect from you guys? And where would you like to be come the end of the year? We are currently planning a new range of items which focus on our device cases range, namely those that carry and protect the iPad, iPad Mini and Macbook Pro/Air. I’m a keen photographer so we’re also aiming to release some camera related accessories such as straps and possibly even cases.

We’re also working on some collaborations at the moment, one or two of which should launch this summer… Exactly what those are, you’ll have to wait and see but we’re excited about them.

We’re also working closely with a handful of stores who are due to stock a small range of our products, whilst keeping things super tight. The aforementioned projects are all part of our plan of moving forward through 2013 and into 2014.

Ashdown Workshop x FatKidOnFire

I will have to give you a shout soon for some leather goods!

For those that don’t know, can you tell us where we can find Ashdown Workshop product? You can find all Ashdown Workshop products on our website – and, as of this week, a range of our products on Urban Industry (our first wholesale store account).

Ashdown Workshop x FatKidOnFire

Thanks to Rob (of This Is Bandit fame) for introducing Dominic and I – and thanks to Dominic for the above interview. Hopefully it’s the first of many!

If you’re a brand looking for exposure, hit Chris and Dominic up on Twitter (or you can have a chat with me on @FatKidOnFire) or fire us an email to the streetwear inbox.