Style & Interview: Trevor Pickett
Trevor Pickett is a retail legend. From his glorious shops in Burlington Gardens and Sloane Street & Sloane Terrace he sells only the finest, most beautiful leather goods. Jake Daniels takes a look at the story of one Britain’s most iconic British fashion designers.
Trevor Pickett, the eccentric Mayfair gentleman, launched his eponymous brand in 1988. Today, Pickett stands as one of the finest (and last) British leather goods and accessories shops of its kind. Trevor’s love for retail began early, at the age of 16 in fact. He was working behind the counter at his parents bicycle shop in Essex. It was here that he began to develop his passion for genuine British manufacture and the bespoke market. His father was adamant that his shop sold only British bikes with few components from abroad, which were very specialist. This emphasis on seeking out the best of British manufacture would have a profound effect on Trevor’s retail outlook.
Leaving comprehensive school at 16, Trevor started at The Army & Navy stores management training course. Even then, he felt the pull of a world of glamour, but didn’t yet know quite how to get it. In 1980, a year after starting at A&N, Trevor found himself selling wallets in the Burlington Arcade in a leather shop. A year later, at only 18, he became the manager. Aged 20, using his childhood savings, he bought his first flat on Prince of Wales Drive in Battersea. He sold well, moved to Chelsea, and was only 25 when he took over the business. The Pickett retail emporium was born.
In his own words, Trevor is not a designer but an editor. With an acute eye for style and design, Trevor’s products are profoundly influenced by what inspires him, bearing the hallmark of a man that is always in dialogue with his surroundings. Trevor works very closely with his craftsmen and women, and when it comes to his products, he knows what he wants. A whole-hearted advocate of British-made made products, Trevor seeks out and works with small workshops and ateliers within the British Isles. These workshops are home to some to the finest craftsmen and women in their fields, all of whom have attention to detail in order to achieve truly outstanding results.
With the new ‘leather library’ created in the Burlington Gardens store, Trevor has the opportunity to showcase his vast range of leathers, on a larger scale thus giving the customer a more tangible idea of what is possible at Pickett. As Trevor explains: “With the move to Savile Row, the epicentre of men’s tailoring, there has been a demand for bespoke leather goods. The quality of what we offer fits with what the Row is famous for.”
Pickett products, whether bespoke or not, evidence craftsmanship that bespeaks the sheer talent and expertise of those that make them. Trevor’s ‘anything is possible’ attitude gives enormous breadth for customisation, meaning that customers leave with a product that is a truly personal statement. “We’ve been able to showcase the skill-base we have behind the product,” Trevor explains, adding, “because it is a handmade, bench made, individual product that is still made by small workshops. This has shown to the outside world that we are on the same level as our neighbours on Savile Row, offering within our product range the same service they offer within theirs”.
The end of 2014 and the start of 2015 saw exciting changes for Pickett. Trevor tells me: “We have enjoyed incredible growth over the last few years and this move has provided a new foundation on which to build for the future.” 25 years ago, Pickett opened Sloane Street. In December 2014, the shop doubled in size, allowing space to hero luggage in the men’s offering. The Burlington Gardens flagship combines the polished elegance of a flat with the charm and comfort of a traditional country home. Every item has its place in the three floor shop, but feels like a playful mix and match of the finest silks, leathers, cashmere and suede. The overall aesthetic is that of craft, travel and adventure—finished with a touch of eccentricity.
The brand is careful to maintain its relationships with domestic customers from the local area, and continues to offer the much loved styles that have kept their original customers coming back over the years. Much of this is down to Trevor’s buying and marketing expertise — a testament to his thirty years’ experience in the retail industry. Ever alert to his surroundings, Trevor has also identified a wider variety of passing trade on Burlington Gardens, and has consequently developed more products aimed at the newer market. The nature of the Pickett customer has lead to an inspired approach for newness in subsequent product collections. Additionally, with online sales, the international customer has its finger on the pulse. The brand is now infectious for old customers and enthuses the new which leads to regeneration.