The Menswear Style Podcast

Sidney Hiscox & Declan Morrison, Co-Founders of Fera

April 14, 2022 Menswear Style Episode 173
The Menswear Style Podcast
Sidney Hiscox & Declan Morrison, Co-Founders of Fera
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Fera is an independent British outdoor brand that combines a deep reverence for the wild with a desire to create outdoor clothing that is not only reliable and made to last but also have a timeless sense of style. They are here for the true outdoor lovers, for those who know a passion for the outdoors has never gone out of style. Joyful, enthusiastic people who love adventure and spending time in the wild. For people who are tired of the outdoors being filled with fluorescent yellow anoraks and highly technical trousers with twenty-seven pockets. Fera are recasting tradition, finding new inspiration as well as delving into the archives, seeking the timeless outdoor gear of the past, and reviving them with a contemporary edge.

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Sidney Hiscox & Declan Morrison, Co-Founders of Fera about their new British outdoor clothing brand launched during the Covid-19 pandemic. They both met at school aged 4 and have a deep love for the wild. Peter Brooker and the co-founders talk about rugged adventure style, finding your wild, how they raised funding, the meaning behind the brand name, supporting British manufacturing, and where they gain design inspiration.

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PB:

Hello, welcome to another episode of the menswear style podcast. I'm your host Pete Brooker and today I am talking to the founders of Farah, Declan and Sid and I want to just peel off a little information from the website because I believe they encapsulate the brand perfectly here. The website by the way, Farah gb.com. Find out more about these guys. And Barrett is an independent British outdoor brand that combines a deep reverence for the wild women desire to create outdoor clothing that is not only reliable, and made to last but also have a timeless sense of style. We are here for the true outdoor lovers. For those who know a passion for the outdoors has never gone out of style, joyful, enthusiastic people who love adventure and spending time in the wild. For people who are tired of the outdoors being filled with fluorescent yellow anoraks and highly technical trousers with 27 pockets. We are recasting tradition finding new inspiration as well as delving into the archives seeking the timeless outdoor gear of the past and reviving them with a contemporary edge. Great chat I had with these gents I really enjoy talking to them and think they've got a great brand on their hands. And here to talk about Farah in their own words are the founders, Sydney, his Cox and Declan Morrison.

Unknown:

Yeah, I'm certainly one of the cofounders of Farah along with Declan. And yeah, I guess the best sort of summation of fair would be that we're a young seven month old British outdoor brand. It's just trying to bring bring back some of that timeless and rugged style to the outdoor clothing market. And combining that with a deep love and reverence for the wild.

PB:

Nice. And so, Declan, how did you and Sidney meet?

Unknown:

Well, we'll have to go back about 25 years, probably, I think we met at school aged four, and formed a close friendship pretty quickly. Which basically manifests itself in adventures great and small for the next, you know, 2025 years, quarter of a century. That's quite frightening. And yeah, we that's how we met. Then, finished school went our separate ways University. Both did various jobs said worked in the art world in London, I worked in PR in Buenos Aires, amongst other things, and a moment arrived where we were both a bit sort of, I suppose, unsatisfied with our work. And we we decided to start a business together, which was our first business called sorne. And that was a an adventure travel business, which we sort of specialised in taking our various clients. So I'm getting a bit of print action in the background.

PB:

Nice. Life printer action on the podcast.

Unknown:

Really annoying. But we, yeah, we specialised in taking people to the remote corners of the UK for a variety of different adventures, less, less climbing mountains with ropes and complicated gear, more scuba diving for for scholarships, and, and putting on feasts or prepared over fire on remote mountain sides, that kind of thing.

PB:

Okay. And so

Unknown:

that's a brief history of our relationship.

PB:

Gotcha. So, I mean, I don't want to fast track straight to the meat and potatoes. But how did fare come about? What were the initial discussions set off?

Unknown:

Yeah. It's an interesting one. Really? Yeah. That, as David mentioned, we had this travel business and we loved it. We really loved it and COVID Quickly decapitated it. But while we were doing the travel, we noticed and the clients we took out notice that that the clothing outdoor clothes in the UK is largely dominated by you know, fluorescent orange jackets with 27 pockets. And we don't want to bash it because there's definitely a place for that that techy technical gear. But on the adventures we are on we cats hunting for clothing, which, you know, didn't stand out in nature but actually fitted in was part of nature and I'm sure we're talking about, you know, the inspiration of our design later. But Derek and I just both love that, that rugged style. And when COVID put a stop pretty quickly to the travel, we just dived in and started looking into the idea of woodstar usin. And, yeah, the more the more and more you're like, further down the rabbit hole, the more we love this and, and just went full steam bringing Farah to life.

PB:

Nice. Yeah, I do like the analogy that you This is stuff that you'd wear within nature, and people need to be mindful that that doesn't mean you have to wear camo gear, you know, tech gear, as it were, it's, it's still okay to wear cool looking clothes, but just maybe with the colours a bit more muted. A bit more in keeping with the surroundings. I mean, I love the the olive overshirt for example, and, you know, the hat, warm fleece, very autumnal, but also very practical. So maybe touch upon the philosophy of the brand, Declan, I'll throw that over to you what kind of makes it different from other brands?

Unknown:

Well, we had a pretty clear sort of vision of the philosophy from the beginning. And our sort of little our tagline is, is seek your wild, both of us are passionate. You know, that's an overused word, but I can't think of a better one about the wild, whether home or abroad. And what we really want to do is, is through our brand through our products, but But through our content, as well as show people how much wilderness how many wild places there are, even though we might sometimes think that the UK is devoid, it is not the case, I think. Yeah, to sort of boil it down, we found sort of three pillars, which make up the philosophy of Thera. And that would be to protect, to explore and to inspire. And to expand on those a bit, you know, clearly protected self explanatory, we want to do what we can to protect those, those wild spaces. Explorer obviously has a little lands of in terms of wilderness and adventure, but also, we want to always make sure that we're exploring, you know, credit design, manufacturing processes, better, better fabrics, more sustainable ways of doing things. And then finally, the Inspire part is, you know, we want to use our platform to inspire people to get outside to get into the outdoors. And, again, to plug our little phrase to seek their wild and, and then it's probably worth touching on what, you know, that world, that word wild, while it might sort of generate images of Attenborough shows, which for sure is important. And certainly as wild. You know, for us, it's, it's probably less about place, and more about attitude, state of mind. You know, while some people might feel the need to go to the most kind of remote corners of the earth to find their wild, for others, it might be a little little area of their local woodland, or even a, you know, even a river running through the town, it doesn't matter. But for us, it's important that everyone well, we would hope that everyone goes and looks for that. It's been very important to us throughout our lives, and, you know, it will continue to be so and that sort of, that sort of was Yeah, part of the genesis of the brand in itself.

PB:

Nice. Yeah. Genesis sounds like they could support seek my wild, maybe at Glastonbury or something good neighbour touring punk band. Playing down the packhorse and Talbot tonight. Yeah, it's yeah, you

Unknown:

want to hear us singing? I

PB:

do. Maybe if maybe if you release it as an NFT you know, we've every year, every bag will ever do work from you, too. I'm just spitballing you know, not everything. Everything sticks

Unknown:

on the ship. Now we're right. We'll go hang out with you on that one.

PB:

You can take that to the bank, fellas. Sydney, perhaps? I'm always interested in how brands get that find their feet basically and how they raise the capital. How did you guys go about getting this off the

Unknown:

ground? Yeah, and It is worth bearing in mind, we're only seven months old and, and to be honest, at the beginning we bootstrapped it. We used all the cash from our travel business and Derek and I both put in personal investments. And that didn't mean it was a huge chunk of capital, but it got us to where we are now. And, and it's allowed us to, you know, prove the concept to ourselves and realise that there are these people that love the brand and love the clothing. And beyond that, it's just been fascinating to us. This might sound arrogant, and I hope it doesn't but we're just eternally grateful to the people we've worked with so far. You know, we did we worked with these awesome guys, Chris and Ian on our branding. We have Patrick tailored outdoor photographer who just understands the brand and loves it. And there's, we do our marketing work with a with a team law and Aveda. And Sonya and all these people we've come across and maybe we're very lucky, who is chosen. But they just seem to get behind the brand, love it and go well beyond well beyond their remit. And as a brand of very young fashion brand. You know, I gotta give them a shout out because it's it's just a totally grateful from both Dec and I for those kinds of people who helped you get off your feet.

PB:

Nice. Yeah, I do like the branding as well. I think there's something to be said about a certain minimalism to like logos. And so I noticed on the clothes, it's, it's there, but it's so you know, down by the hems. Yeah. So that was a conscious choice. Did you guys out sourced the branding?

Unknown:

I gotta say, P net name and a brand as anyone can attest. You know, you list probably 255 names and overthink every single one of them. But we came across these guys in and Chris who run a company outside ideas up in Manchester. And we presented them with with our idea, and they just took it to the next level, you know that they may Deck and i think about it way more than we probably would ever think about it and and boil it down to what we're really trying to do. And we came up with some amusing names, which we probably shouldn't mention. But they actually were instrumental to coming up with Farrah for us and we were banging our heads against the wall for ages. And I think it was Dec who said you know, Errol, you know this, we're trying to promote the wild and we live our lives in the wild. And Pharaoh has quite sort of dodgy connotations at times. So we looked into the Word and saw that it actually comes from the Latin Farah for wild. Yeah, finally, we landed we landed on a sweet spot.

PB:

Yeah, I mean, barrel can go one of two ways. It can either be Will Ferrell, which is hilarious or fair, or like a dog in the street that will look like it will do some damage to your car tires.

Unknown:

So that was third with Pete, which was a very good club in Newcastle where I was at university. So it has connotations to me as well. But no, we're Yeah, we're really pleased the name of it absolutely works. It's got we found out it's got some other interesting meanings in other languages. Gay liquor think it means something almost the same. Cattle Anapana it means fierce. So yeah, we've, we're pleased. We're very pleased. And again, so grateful for the guys outside for helping us get there. But But what you were saying about the sort of subtleness of branding? Yeah, absolutely a conscious decision. And while you know, we've chosen quite a punchy orange for our sort of thorough logo colour. It's not completely random. And actually you look into nature and you do get these incredible colours, whether it's, you know, certain types of mushrooms might be well fire for a start. And, you know, so it's all been carefully thought through. But we never wanted to be a brand that plastered its name all over the place because it returns to that thing of, you know, of wanting to feel at home and part of the world. weld and feel comfortable where you are. And you know, muted, subtle branding, I think, nods to that.

PB:

Yeah, no, absolutely. I agree. I dig it. I'm interested to know where the clothes are made. They've got to be. Well, I'll ask that question to you guys. I mean, are they are they made in the UK? You guys designed them? What the influences behind those?

Unknown:

Yeah to answer were made actually. Currently, it's only our cap. There's not made in the UK, all our all our current collection was made in the UK. And that's not to say we're going to be beholden to it in the future. But for us, we're always going to want to support UK manufacturing, where we can arrange a bag is made by this really cool woman, Katie, who runs a one woman workshop down in in Somerset, which is really fun to go visit. Although she doesn't have any phone signal down there, so it can take a while to get some updates. And currently, the rest of the clothes are currently made in actually a factory in Wembley. And looking ahead, as we grow, and our production expands, we're thinking about Portugal and and other places. But for now, while we can we're trying to support British manufacturing.

PB:

Nice, just down the road from us. Sydney.

Unknown:

Yeah, it's good to keep a beady eye on them. Yeah,

PB:

right. Do you do you get to go down? Or have you been down there?

Unknown:

Yeah, we've, we've, we've visited a lot and actually starting the business in during COVID, when travel was nigh on possible. You know, while we always wanted to support British manufacturing up, I don't want to say our hands are tied, because I'm very proud that that's where we're making our stuff at the moment. But it was incredible for us to two guys who haven't got experience in, in sort of clothing and clothing design and manufacturing, to be able to head to the factory on a regular basis to learn each and every sort of step in the in the journey from you know, us coming up with a scribble on a paper, by the way said is, is a much better sketching than me. And we quickly worked that out. And I would try and tell him my ideas. And then he would draw them because when we tried to turn my sketches into something they were Yeah, it was sort of interesting, let's say, but you know, to see that journey from idea to the very final product all the way through, you know, that has helped us learn so much about the industry. Obviously, we've got plenty to learn. And we're hungry to do that. But yeah, visiting the factories has been fantastic.

PB:

Yeah, but hey, listen, there's there's nothing wrong about not being able to draw either. I think it was it told me that no, tell me that I was a juror. So he told me that was a tailor down in Savile Row, but he could draw but couldn't cut. It couldn't cut suit. So he'd like he had like all of these great ideas on napkins and scribbles and notes and then just gave them to Edward Sexton and go from now make that like, you couldn't make this stuff. So that's the sort of stuff you'd see on Elton John in the 70s. You know, these playing big Yankee stadiums and yeah, people will know all about Tommy Davis listened to me talk about him on the show. But I digress.

Unknown:

Sorry. I think your other part of the question was where we get inspiration? Yes. For the clothing. And I get there's not really one one place we draw on we look a lot to the past. Without you know, we get very enamoured by that old school. Look of explorers and adventurers but the kind of just draw and all the adventures we've had together. Derek and I, a while back now we hitched hike over five months from Rwanda to South Africa. Which was just an epic trip and you know, drew on lots of that you fall in love with that sort of African bush look that are called tough cotton shirts, but perhaps not the really short shorts and they like rock in there. That lived in in Argentina and that whole Gaucho vibe when working outdoors at the fires and the awesome gear they've got out there. And a big inspiration for us is that that rugged Western look they have an America which is It was kind of a big inspiration to art fair, we just kind of lost that in the UK, you know, there isn't there, there wasn't a brand, which we were looking for which, which had that, I guess it's this sort of work where but outdoor work where, you know, you feel the ruggedness and the grit in it, rather than the highly technical guy sound like a real basher of techie wear, but I do. Yeah, that that rugged Western look are so. And to add to add to that, you know, when we're when we're designing or coming up with a product idea, you know, yes, the look is really important that that's, that's something we that's one of the reasons we started the brand, but, but we're also inspired by the function, you know, we can't, we never want to forget the functionality that if you're outdoors, you know, you want to be warm, or you, you need something to be tough. If you're, you know, you don't want to climb over a barbed wire fence and tear your 300 pound, you know, a shell jacket that will be really disappointed. Or Thorn or whatever it might be. And so that that word rugged is so good, because, you know, it might it might mean there's some exposed stitching, but actually, we think that looks great. And there's a reason for us. It's about functionality. It's about creating tough, durable gear. Yeah, that function, the function forms the form.

PB:

And we're you guys, I'm on this site, but can't see any trousers where you venture in that so that we can have the whole outfit?

Unknown:

Yes, we do. We're actually one not to give the game away later in the summer, which is a podcast, but the different leg sizes a waist sizes, so we've got, we've got to design up our sleeves. We're just gonna have to hold off on it for a bit.

PB:

Nice. Okay, well, that's excited. So we got the we can actually have the entire outfit, head to toe once we get into footwear.

Unknown:

Don't worry, there's socks, the socks on the way we know if you're spending a day on foot. Oh, but you know if you're ever going to sell socks, we need them to be the best socks. So we're we're working hard on that. Well, I've

PB:

got the plan. I think that your socks and if everything else is as durable these socks will just go on for lifetimes like generations, I can hand these socks down to nephews, siblings,

Unknown:

generations. Sock is the ultimate sock. Yeah, I'm sure your your nephews are gonna be thrilled with your old socks. But um, yeah, we'd be proud for those parasites.

PB:

But I have a finger socks, I wear them to the threads. And this does my girlfriend's head in because she's like, You got to throw those away like, oh, five, your toes are coming out. And then I just say well, I can now repurpose this. I can now either bleed the radiator or I can go okay, now I say like, don't worry. So you'll now live out the rest of your years polishing my BMW It's okay.

Unknown:

What about what about a wrist warmer if the if the toes have gone?

PB:

I like that idea of a wrist warm. I did use the cycle with my socks.

Unknown:

You they've invented a product for that pair. It's called gloves.

PB:

Yeah, I just think like, I mean, I don't want to then go out and buy an extra pair of gloves for cycling when I've already got my socks that I've kind of lined up for the job. You know, they they've been promised a job five years before I put my toes for him and I don't want to disappoint them. I'm too emotionally involved with socks. Taste making

Unknown:

your taste making I'm not trying to catch on but

PB:

I'm excited by socks, I think I think our listeners are too. But Jed. Wonderful talking to you guys. Best of luck with the brand. Love it. Love, love pretty much all the garments on there and you got the caps as well. And like you mentioned some of the bags. The bags coming back is one of them out of stock. Want to say?

Unknown:

Yeah, I've actually been talking. Sorry, I've interrupted I've been talking this very day to wonderful Katie about getting some made and restocked. So yes. That will be coming back soon hopefully.

PB:

Awesome. All right, guys. Well, yeah, really, really nice time talking to you the website Farah gb.com. The place you can go and check out these garments. And where do you like to hang out on the social use Instagram?

Unknown:

Yeah. Instagram no recently launched YouTube page as well. Don't forget the Tick Tock that I'm trying desperately hard to wrap my head around but it's tough out there.

PB:

I have no idea about tick tock all checks dancing on it when they repost it to Instagram. I'm like, What is this?

Unknown:

I'm leaving at the deck. I'm leaving it to deck I can't handle

PB:

Declan the next time I see Declan will be dancing on Tik Tok.

Unknown:

That will that truly will be an exclusive so you better get your screen record on for that one.

PB:

What's going on on YouTube? Are you posting up there?

Unknown:

We currently there's not much but as we we we did a video with the chef Thomas Stryker I don't know if you've heard of him, he helped a lot of people keep themselves well fed over over locked down and it's an awesome guy we actually just sent him a cat as fans and got chatting with him and ended up sending him on a boat out to an island to whip up a curry over fire so that is currently our only video on YouTube but there's more coming shortly we just were actually yesterday just up in the salt marshes in in Norfolk and going on old smuggling boats these guys coastal exploration company and restored and and there'll be a video coming soon on that.

PB:

So then where do you go in London then to get your your green retreats?

Unknown:

Very good question. Yeah, I'm not gonna say hi park because that's pretty bang. Actually pee I'm I'm a keen fisherman. I don't know about yourself. But last year I discovered in Croydon there's a chalk stream running through Croydon Croydon called the river Wando. Which as a fisherman was unbelievable, because it is a I wouldn't say a pristine short stream river, but it's been restored amazingly. So I go for a little fish down there, which is seasons coming up. Otherwise, escape and get down to Declan and wheelchair and get out there.

PB:

Yeah, I mean, you got it on your doorstep, so not not too worried about you. But as London's got to find it where we get it. Good. I better go. But again, great talking to you. Farah gb.com the place to go and make sure you check out Declan starting videos seems to be uploaded Thank you you've been listening to the menswear style podcast be sure to head over to menswear style.co.uk For more menswear content and email info at menswear store dot code at UK if you'd like to be a future guest on the show. Finally, please help support the show by leaving a review on iTunes or wherever you're listening to this podcast. Until next time

(Cont.) Sidney Hiscox & Declan Morrison, Co-Founders of Fera