Welcome to Series 3, Episode 9 of Raw Talent, where we are back in London sneaking a peek behind the scenes at emerging menswear brand Basic Rights with MD Jack Gove.
Basic Rights was founded in New York and launched in Electric Lady Studios in 2016 by guitarist Freddie Cowan of The Vaccines, before relocating to East London in 2018. They believe in style over fashion with a focus on fabric, fit and finish. Ethical transparency and sustainable practices are at the forefront of the brand's values in creating elevated essentials, designed as off-duty uniforms for modern creatives.
Jack walks us through the story of his singing scholarship at university followed by an MBA in Business which led to him joining Mr Porter only to leave before his probation period after realising that the corporate environment was not the best match for how he is wired - as a generalist with an entrepreneurial spirit.
By chance, a friend introduced him to his best mate from school who was in a band and had set up a menswear label and he thought they would get on well. They met for a drink and a chat in which Jack became acquainted with Freddie Cowan of The Vaccines. A band he had never heard of despite their success and his menswear label Basic Rights inspired by Freddie not being able to find elevated affordable foundational clothes he could throw on during the bands intensive recording sessions in New York for their 3rd album. The Japanese reproduction labels Freddie coveted really fitted the bill in what he was looking for, but he didn't love the price tag and wanted to create something accessible and reasonably priced, which led to the labels first collaboration with a rock star tailor and the launch of their first collection.
They have since honed their skills in producing accessible stylish foundational menswear cheered on through the challenges of Covid by the incredible reaction from their customers.
Sustainability plays a key role in the brand's ethos which is realised through several initiatives in calculating their carbon footprint they came up with an off-setting strategy with Trees for the Future who plant hedged trees in Sub-Sahara Africa to protect farmers in their mission to grow crops. They also source recycled yarns and yarns with a low environmental impact such as Tencel which is much kinder to the planet than cotton and use excess deadstock fabrics for the Rubbish collection which offers limited edition high-quality styles at affordable prices.
2020 was a topsy-turvy year for us all and Jack tells us his biggest learning was how responsive their audience has been. The power of the community blew him away and from a business perspective it has approved a real opportunity in practising grit and resilience as Winston Churchill said, "If You're Going Through Hell, Keep Going."
Jack's is most proud of the positive customer feedback and their love for the product alongside the celebrity placements and press that the brand has attracted. Our post-Covid world will undoubtedly be a new reality and the focus is on making the best product and finding interesting creative ways to tell their story, which already has some amazing moments spearheaded by Donald Glover, who wore the Short Sleeve Camp Collar Shirt in black for the Lion King official press shots and it completely sold out.
Lewis Leathers who are an incredible London based biking and leather jacket producer are also on his list as specialists in their field to collaborate with following a previous collaboration with Aero in Scotland during which they discovered Aero's dad made the jacket David Bowie wore during his 1970's recording in Berlin of the Heroes album.
The message is about getting the basics right.