Alice Made This was founded after Alice and her husband Ed struggled to find cufflinks for their wedding. They quickly realised that there was a need to develop something fresh and experiment in this space. Olivia Francis has a similar story, leading to her starting Hamilton and Hare, designing refined and understated clothing for the modern man. Today, we talk to Olivia about that story and how she translated her clean and honest eye for design into The Hamilton and Hare Edit, the next in our collection of Women’s Edits.
“I was working at M&C Saatchi advertising agency”, Olivia tells me, “working with brands like Nokia and GlaxoSmithKline. It was an amazing place to work, full of interesting people and a great place to learn about building brands, but I had always wanted to build my own brand. My lightbulb moment came on Christmas day as I watched my two brothers receive the most horrendous pair of novelty boxer shorts. I couldn't believe the gap between the female lingerie business, and the male equivalent in terms of the quality and choice that was on offer as well as the way it was considered.”
“I nearly didn't start the company because I thought it would be too difficult being a woman - but in fact it's been the making of the company in that I have a unique perspective and have found that men are actually more comfortable talking to women about their underwear than men!”
Being a woman in the menswear industry can seem like a daunting prospect, but, similarly to Olivia, Alice has found that everyone is nothing but open to ideas – sharing experiences, trading secrets where possible and moving forward together. A confident aesthetic and a credible brand foundation, as well as an interesting story to tell, is the key – not gender.
“'Hamilton' is a family name,” Olivia tells me of her brand story, “and 'Hare' is because hares box and that's the original heritage of the boxer short - it was originally a boxing short, worn in the ring by fighters. So, as the brand first began with a reinvention of the traditional boxer short, I wanted to make something more modern and better than anything else out there - it was about giving men's underwear the respect it deserves. The brand grew from here with a similar reinvention of loungewear all inspired by the aesthetic and the spirit of British boxing in terms of its masculinity and athleticism.”
Mirroring the poise and spirit of British boxers, The Hamilton and Hare Edit expresses both fragility and strength, combining the reversible ring of the Eden with the hanging pleat of the Ava. A unique pendant pairing that can be worn together or separately, by day or by night. With both our brands firmly rooted in British tradition, I ask Olivia how she curated The Hamilton and Hare Edit and which Alice Made This pieces are on her shopping list this Christmas.
“I chose the Eden because I liked its simplicity and I love the Ava pendant”, she tells me. “It’s so unusual and tactile. The combination is actually really delicate and I love the way they move together, I find myself fiddling with it all the time...think I’m developing a nervous tic!”
“I love the copper and zirconia cufflinks too, such interesting and beautiful materials - perfect presents for my brothers, much better than novelty boxer shorts!”