An Interview with founder and owner Roger Brandts
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE FYNCH-HATTON BRAND?
"Without question, one of the most important factors is that my family has been involved in the textile business for generations. I come from a long line of clothiers, so in that respect I was predestined to follow the same path. A special milestone was when an ancestor of mine, Franz Brandts, brought the first mechanical weaving looms from England to continental Europe in 1870. This marked a decisive step towards the industrialisation of the textile industry. In 1945, my grandfather founded the company Wilhelm Brandts Tuchfabrik GmbH. As a boy, I was always captivated by my granddad’s looms. I found it fascinating to see how all the different materials were developed and produced. It may be true that I later went against the grain by leaving the weaving business in favour of the clothing industry with Fynch-Hatton, but I did not lose my enormous passion for high-quality thread, premium yarn and the excellent materials that these can be used to make. When I was preparing for my studies in textile technology, I completed a six-month internship in South Africa. The film Out of Africa was released in the cinema at the same time, and I was hooked – not only by the culture of this wonderful continent, but also by the character of Denys Finch Hatton. Both had a crucial part to play in the establishment of the Fynch-Hatton brand."
DOES THAT MEAN THAT AFRICA HAS A SPECIAL MEANING FOR YOUR BRAND?
"Yes, that’s right. Africa is a magnificent and diverse continent in every respect. On the one hand, the sun is always shining and there is a very special interplay between light and colour. The people are always laughing despite the various problems they face – happy people, you could say – and their fashion is the epitome of ‘back to basics’. On the other hand, there is Finch Hatton, a man who loved being free and whose life I’m sure I would have liked to live. He was an adventurer who was always looking for the next unusual experience, and he had an open mind for everything. He did what he believed in, and this makes him a real inspiration for the brand. Taken together, all of these elements are reflected in our products – from the umbrella thorn logo that conjures up images of the African landscape and our unique colour combinations to our high-quality, resistant materials and our distinctive style."
WERE YOU CONFIDENT AT THE OUTSET THAT THE BRAND WOULD SUCCEED?
"Yes and no. There are always risks, of course. However, I come from a family of entrepreneurs and I was confident that Fynch-Hatton could fill a gap in the market. No brand was offering ideal value for money for customers in the middle market, so I took the bold step to offer precisely that!
We use top-quality materials and the best available production techniques. We also invest more in our products than in creating and projecting a certain lifestyle, which would be very costly. Other important elements of our approach are our long-standing relationships with suppliers, carefully selected production facilities, a very focused cost structure and fair prices. All of this ensures maximum flexibility, allowing us to offer clothes which are not as expensive as premium labels, but which are nonetheless top of the range in terms of quality. We want Fynch-Hatton to be a brand that everyone can afford without having to miss out on the quality and style that premium brands offer."
WHAT’S NEXT FOR FYNCH-HATTON?
“Just like all companies, we have to be flexible. For example, we introduced shirts and polo shirts alongside our pullovers some time ago, and these have proved very successful. We have also added a range of down jackets and vests. In our autumn/winter 2014 collection, which is just being sold, we also offer pants for the first time. It goes without saying that we attach great importance to best value for money, as we do for all our products. In particular, we have ensured the perfect fit. Each size has got its individual fit to create a slim and modern silhouette. There is also a preview to casual jackets which are elaborate but are based on a sporty and relaxed idea. Furthermore, we took a major step forward in relation to the presentation of our products in the Fynch-Hatton world. In the middle of February we have thus placed our first shop in shop with one of the leading retailers throughout Germany. There are more to follow …!
Our spread of activities continues to increase steadily on an international level in 2014. As well as entering new markets in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, we are taking on multifaceted tasks in connection with the “Fynch-Hatton goes to China and America” project. Moreover, we wish to promote our brand image to prepare for the years to come. This means that we have to - and want to - think on a larger scale. It will be a real adventure. What would Denys Finch Hatton have done? That is the question we ask ourselves to find inspiration.”