DAKS is one of the few London tailoring houses that have had over a hundred years of history — revolutionising the industry through the creation of the first self-supporting trousers; and being one of the first tailoring houses to make the transition from bespoke to ready-to-wear. From his first store in Petticoat Lane, Simeon Simpson had a vision for his business - a vision of elegant British style that has remained singularly individual throughout the house’s many storied years. Today, this vision is sustained by Filippo Scuffi, DAKS Creative Director. His Italian flair, extensive menswear experience, and genuine understanding of the brand’s values and history; make him perfectly suited to fill in Mr.Simpson’s perfectly polished shoes.
It is in the stunning space of DAKS Mayfair flagship that we meet Filippo Scuffi; the stunning autumn winter collection in the background, and accents of the DAKS check thoughtfully placed across the store. We sit down with Filippo Scuffi and discuss DAK’s highly anticipated return to the London catwalk, his visions of India, the thoughtful elements that unify his collections, and the unparalleled value of a truly timeless piece.
Tell us about your journey to 10 Old Bond Street, how did you fall in love with tailoring?
Being Italian, I guess tailoring has always been in my DNA. I’ve always had an exquisite love for detail, and this is the path that led me to DAKS. Working for a British heritage brand is the epitome of a great tailoring career!
How would you describe DAKS? What do you think sets it apart from other tailoring brands?
DAKS is a brand with a long history; a history that has always been synonymous with British heritage, style and elegance. Back in 1894, DAKS was born from masculine tailoring and has since turned a focus to womenswear. We are proud holders of three royal warrants that exemplify our very special attention to fabrics, construction, details, and sustainability.
Before DAKS, you worked with Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, and Michael Kors. How do these experiences shape the way you approach your role as Creative Director of DAKS?
These are very different brands with different characteristic and needs; which led me to three different lifestyles and working experiences. Working at these great and successful brands in the beginning of my career, gave me the ability to truly see and grasp the spirit of the brands I’m working for. With this perception in mind, I learned how to properly build a collection that finds the balance between the brand’s aesthetics and my own personal flair.
DAKS is a British institution with over 120 years of heritage, what is it like being at the helm of such a historic brand?
My role as the Creative Director of DAKS is a great honour and achievement. I work really hard to keep the brand moving in the right direction — which is hopefully forward. Fortunately for me, I am very passionate about my role here, which makes any challenges and the hectic nature of the job much easier for me.
DAKS is one of the very few tailoring brands that have embraced womenswear, with Simeon Simpson launching his womenswear business in 1937. How do you incorporate DAKS’ rich tailoring heritage into the womenswear collections?
I like to keep my menswear and womenswear concepts in sync each and every season. The DAKS woman is strong and feminine; and I use feminine silhouettes and fabrics lifting off from my menswear collections — but with more intricate details. I use the same DAKS aesthetics in menswear and womenswear to keep the style elegant, classic, and strong. My AW17 catwalk collection is the perfect example of this!
Back in 2010, DAKS made it's highly anticipated comeback to the London catwalks. How has the brand progressed since then?
Showing on the catwalk has been an important statement for DAKS both locally and internationally — it has really helped with the growth of the brand worldwide. Showing in London is very important to us, as this is where the brand started back in1894. The ethos of the brand is very much still rooted in quintessential British style.
What is your own design philosophy for DAKS? Talk us through your creative process.
I like to create timeless collections and timeless pieces; I try to avoid trend-driven pieces that may not be on “trend” in a few seasons time. I want people to wear my pieces in 6 months, one year, or even ten years later. I believe that the true strength of DAKS is that we are able to create truly timeless pieces that are also super fashionable. The DAKS man will always look classic — and in his perfectly tailored timeless suit.
Menswear tailoring is a well-known British Institution, it is a craft that is both built on heritage and yet has a viewpoint on modernity. How do you think the London Tailoring scene has changed throughout the years?
These days, men take a lot of care with their sartorial choices and I think this is a recent development over the past decade. Despite the changes in the London tailoring scene over the years; the craftsmanship, the attention to detail, and the suiting constructions have remained as impeccable as they have in the beginning.
In your opinion, what is the secret to making any perfectly tailored garment?
It’s very simple. Great attention to detail and silhouettes that enhance the body.
Portraits by Chris Baker
Words by Hannah Tan