Photo Essay: Drake’s Tie Factory

Photographer Harry Watts, on a mission to discover the soul of ‘Made in Britain’ products, visited Drake’s Harbedasher Street factory in London

Retail, as the say, is in the detail. The same goes for style in general. Sure, you can don a great suit, a suave shirt and an elegant coat, but if you’ve got the shoes, tie and scarf wrong, all that time and money would have been spent in vain. A good tie – or bow tie if you are so inclined – can truly make or break an outfit. Wear a plain suit and a white shirt with a deep red paisley tie, or the other way around – a clean navy blue silk tie with a patterned suit – and you’re skilfully allowing the individual garments to speak a common sartorial language. It’s quite powerful stuff.Drake’s, a British tie, scarf and accessory brand, has – since its 1977 incarnation – made a living out of our need for stylish details. Currently run by Michael Hill, Drake’s has a bricks and mortar store in Mayfair, and sell their ties to plenty of high-end fashion retailers.

“For me, Drake’s has, in the last 10 years, built on its foundation of quality and style to become a figure head in men’s fashion – making it a prime place for me to visit for a story on products made in England. Drakes makes 2,500 ties a week, all hand made and then shipped to all corners of the world,” says Harry Watts. Having manufactured the ties on Garrett Street, Drake’s last year moved to another East London location, Harbedasher Street, and now the entire company with its studio, factory, showroom and headquarters, are gathered at one location. The result is a leaner and meaner machinery, as these images show – truly a modern company anchored in ancient traditions and timeless quality.

Text David Hellqvist
Photography Harry Watts