We, Simon and Richard, met on our first day at Cambridge and have remained close friends ever since. Simon’s mother had been a Vogue model and his father was a Neurologist who always dressed immaculately – suits from Savile Row, shirts from Jermyn St. So Simon had grown up more fashion conscious than most. Richard’s father was a Naval officer and spent most of his life in uniform.
After university, Simon became a City lawyer and endured a dress code of suit and tie – with long arms and strong opinions as to cut and fit he could never find as shirt that really fitted him.Meanwhile Richard worked in advertising and then the film industry. He attended premieres and parties, where fashion mattered and he learnt the many shades of black.
Simon’s finished his law career about the same time as his father died, so he wanted to do something he would enjoy.Richard had left films and after working on London 2012, was busy starting a business involving his lifelong passion of wine – setting up a wine club and doing wine marketing consultancy.
Over a long lunch, we decided to create a shirt business together. We both loved shirts. Simon could make the shirt he’d always dreamt of and Richard could use his marketing experience to bring the brand to life.
We already had a good knowledge of the men’s shirt market. We loved the quality and history behind British shirt-making, but thought Jermyn St had not moved with the times. We believed there was a gap for a modern version of the traditional Jermyn St/ Savile Row shirt.
The two design aspects we wanted to change were the collar and the fit. Firstly, the collar. Most formal shirts were designed for a tie, and the tie helps to support the collar. Now that many people no longer wear ties, the collars flop. We have designed the From Michael collar not to flop.
Secondly the fit is quite tailored and shorter. Many people these days like to wear jeans or closer fitting trousers and don’t want acres of material that needs to be tucked in.They might even like to wear their shirt out.
In addition there was a third aspect we wanted to create. An emotional one. We wanted to find a way to make a shirt truly individual, beyond the physical fit, by inserting personal images inside the cuffs. So a wearer might have a photo of a loved one, place, design or anything that meant a great deal. A bit like a tattoo.
As for choosing a name. It was actually simple. Both had fathers loved shirts and both were called Michael. We got our love of shirts from them, so the brand became From Michael.