Copperfield looks to bring a conscious cuts
and savvy fashion to Canterbury
Something has shifted in the past couple of years. People are taking more interest in their imprint on the world; worrying more about quality rather than quantity; examining where their food comes from; whether their paper cup is recyclable. It’s not necessarily a specific age group, neither is it based on how much money you have. It’s a mindset. And it’s growing.
“We were looking at cities across the UK that were similar to St Albans, cathedral cities,” says Harry Block, director of Copperfield, a progressive menswear store that has moved to Canterbury with an impressive reputation at its back.
“I don’t know if it’s the cathedral as such. I just knew my market in St Albans. It’s part of that whole cultural aspect. People who want to live in these cities have a certain feel for quality and a quality of life. It’s a very pretty place, it’s not a place people fall into, it’s more a place people choose to live.”
Block and his team believe there is a gap in the market in Canterbury, and Kent in general, for Copperfield’s particular brand of menswear. Having arrived in the Marlowe Arcade in May, the store is making its temporary status permanent, investing in a shop refurbishment and planning to become a community hub.
“It’s a vibrant place,” says Block. “A new location for us in Canterbury will allow us to spread our wings and diversify. It has allowed us to increase our brand portfolio and to do a bit more of what we want to do.”
Copperfield is actually a 40-year-old store that Block bought from its retiring founder six years ago, having worked there since he left school.
Just three years ago, Copperfield’s online shop started what has become an international e-commerce option for the store.
“There is no big scheme but to be recognised and be a hub within the menswear industry,” says Block of the future. “It’s a funny industry to be in, you get to know everyone and there’s always people and businesses you aspire to be like – they’re the ones who have got the best atmosphere and products.
“I am a products man. Everything I do is about enjoying the products. The products are the focus, and having two stores allows me to open up that product portfolio.”
Having started with eight to 10 brands in-store, Copperfield has developed to house more than 50 global designers from Asia, Europe and America. But each one is pored over with a fine-tooth comb.
“We are about understanding the product and where the brand has evolved from, knowing who your customer is and how you want your business to be seen,” explains Block.
This growing trend in the fashion world is not dissimilar to consumers’ increased interest in the sourcing of their food.
“There’s a lot of depth to the simplicity of brands,” says Block. “There’s a misconception that expensive brands are just selling the name, but behind it the best brands source their materials effectively and are conscious of how their product is perceived and who purchases it.”
During the ‘cene shoot, items from brands such as Stepney Workers Club, Pop Trading Co., AMi Paris, CP Company, Orslow and You Must Create are used, each with a different backstory and sourcing context.
“We do sell urban products with skatewear – for example, we have a relatively new brand from Amsterdam called Pop,” says Block. “But we also deal with Carhartt, an American brand which was originally made as workwear for people building train tracks.
“It’s a hard-wearing brand that has evolved because of the nature of the product; it’s going to last you and it’s worth it. We have a variety of products that range from technical that will last you in the best and worst weather through to products that are sustainable and made with the right ethics.”
We have seen the likes of Dickies move from being a workwear brand into an urban and skate-associated brand in the past, but the Copperfield customer is wider than just an urban dweller.
“It’s varied. We’re targeting a culture and people who have a cultural interest,” explains Block. “We take people who are like-minded and show them aspects of what they like that are of better quality, are more sustainable, will last longer and are worth investing in.”
One way Copperfield is planning on interacting with the community is with in-house events. “We want to be social,” says Block. “We want to celebrate things with people, host events and parties and be a part of the community.
“We have something special in the pipeline with Carhartt and a brand called Stain Shade, who make bespoke tie dye, where people can come and learn how tie dye works, have a few beers and some fun.