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In Conversation with Alex and Zofia Torun-Shaw of Laird Hatters/Utility

Zofia founded Laird Hatters in 2009 and Alex joined the team shortly afterwards as principal milliner. They then opened the brand's first shop with ready-to-wear headwear in London that same year, and today they have four stores in London and one in Cambridge. They also make bespoke headwear projects for clients, as well as for TV shows and film. Laird hand make hats and caps of distinction for both men and women, and are passionate about sourcing the best British cloths, and supporting British textile manufacturing.

A Laird hat evokes a rich English and Scottish heritage, with a modern nuance. The great craftsmanship, fabric finishes, and rich colour palettes make their headwear stand out from the competition. They've recently launched workwear brand Laird Utility which was created to make comfortable, hard-wearing clothes for bold individuals with style and character. Made in England and using the best of British cloths for urban and country living.

In a recent episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interviewed Alex and Zofia Torun-Shaw, Co-Founders of Laird Hatters and Laird Utility about the founding stories of both brands, one of which was built during lockdown. Our host Peter Brooker and the co-founders talked about how launching a clothing range was a natural progression, the growing workwear clothing trend, the importance of eCommerce, British manufacturing, providing hats for film and celebrities, and styling hats with clothing.

“We started Laird Hatters in 2009 making traditional handmade caps and hats with a contemporary edge. I was looking to change career to something more creative. We were married and we are three children at the time. We wanted to start something together, and we both had different skills that we could bring to the business. We opened a series of shops quite quickly, one after the other which started with Columbia Road. During the recent Covid lockdowns our Cambridge store did exceptionally well whereas with our London stores we found it took longer for people to come back." 

"This summer has been very busy for us because we’ve been getting the Laird Utility clothing range out. This new brand was a lockdown design project and now we’re in full production. Everything is made in England because we believe that’s the best and most sustainable way to make things. It's not fast fashion, but slow fashion, and hopefully everything we make will last you a lifetime. We also believe It’s important to support British manufacturing.”

This is a shortened transcribed edit of episode 154 of the MenswearStyle Podcast with Alex and Zofia Torun-Shaw, Co-Founders of lairdlondon.co.uk and lairdutility.com. You can listen to the full version below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast player.

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