Purple Hat Menswear launched in September 2015 with clothes specifically designed for men under the height of 5’8”. With a unique proportional sizing system, that realigns the conventional average male height of 5’11” and takes into account the body and limb size of the shorter man, Purple Hat Menswear is the first brand to address the current deficit in the UK men’s clothing market.
Here the founder of the brand, Ashley, talks to us at House of Coco about his plans for the future and so much more…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
At 5’ 5¾” and of stocky build, the founder of Purple Hat spent years having to buy and wear XL size shirts from premium brands. While these shirts fit in the collar and shoulders, they fail to fit anywhere else. Conventional menswear assumes because his collar size is 19” that he is over 6ft tall and around 16st! The sleeves are way too long, resulting in excess fabric bunching in the arms, while the length of the shirts fall almost to the knees, with huge excesses of fabric around the body giving the appearance of being even shorter and stockier.
Around a third of adult males in the UK are under the height of 5’8”. Until now, this demographic has largely been ignored, with men having to ‘make do’ with conventional sizing from high street and premium brand men’s clothing retailers. Men at the other end of the scale have had ‘outsize’ brands and retailers available to them for many years, and when you consider that approximately 20% of adult males in the UK are over 6’0”, now is the time to provide the same choices to what is a greater proportion of UK men.
The concept of Purple Hat is simple. We want to help the shorter man walk tall – looking good and wearing well-fitting clothes builds confidence. At Purple Hat Menswear it’s the small things that count!
What’s your background?
A career in sales management and being customer facing has always driven a keen interest in being smartly dressed and well presented. Being short and stocky this was an ongoing issue that could only be achieved by spending a great deal of money on bespoke tailor made clothes. The sales man in me that looks for a gap in the market and I finally changed career direction to launch Purple Hat Menswear so the shorter man has a ready to wear, high quality clothing option that actually fits without the time, hassle and high expense of using a tailor.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Persuading men under the height of 5’8” to recognise they have been wearing clothes that don’t fit them properly for years, with the length in the sleeves and bodies too long and excess billowing fabric and that it is acceptable to be ‘under average height’ and to have clothes that will fit properly and not just make do with what has been available to them from conventional brands. Getting across the message that looking good and wearing well-fitting clothes builds confidence and Purple Hat Menswear will deliver just that.
2016 is almost here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
Launched initially with a range of classically designed and styled shirts, Purple Hat will expand the range over the coming seasons to include trousers, jackets, jumpers, t-shirts and polo shirts; with accessories to follow.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
Without a doubt the feedback received by new customers; they really cannot believe the difference our proportionally scaled shirts make to the fit for the shorter man. Many of our customers have tentatively bought one shirt and once they’ve tried it on have come back and bought more.
Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
London will always be home although I lived in Dubai for 8 years which is like a mashup of all the cool cities across the globe!
Wearing quality clothes that fit properly and exude confidence in the wearer – short, average, tall doesn’t matter just don’t compromise on that fit!
Best thing about London to you?
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear every day?
It has to be the purple checked, Purple Hat Menswear XL sized shirt that fits my short and stocky frame perfectly!
Most memorable piece of advice given to me?
Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.
Mowing the lawn
If you could spend 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Breakfast in New York, Lunch in London, Dinner in the Maldives and clubbing in Hong Kong.
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
We want to outfit the shorter man in the UK from top to toe in high quality fitting clothes and then our European cousins.