DAKS is a British luxury fashion house, founded in 1894 by Simeon Simpson in London. The name is a combination of the initials of Alexander Simpson and an initial and final letter of his business associate Dudley Beck.
|Founded||City of London, England (1894)|
|Paul Dimond (deputy chairman)|
Luigi Veccia (creative director)
|Owner||Sankyo Seiko Co. Limited (since 1991)|
DAKS holds royal warrants granted from three members of the Royal Family, one of 15 firms (out of 820) to do so. Officially granted to DAKS' Simpson Piccadilly store in 1956 was the royal warrant of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, followed by that of HM The Queen in 1962 and HRH The Prince of Wales in 1982.
Early years – S SimpsonEdit
In 1894 Simeon Simpson, aged 16, rented a room on Middlesex Street, East London, with the intention of setting up a business in bespoke tailoring, focused on high standard craftsmanship. Several innovations of technology at the time were being introduced with machinery capable of making buttonholes and electric powered saws to cut many layers of fabric at once – Simpson saw the potential for such equipment for producing garments in higher quantities while still upholding quality tailoring techniques, aiming to improve ready-to-wear standards as no male or female professionals considered ready-to-wear for suitable attire at the time.:2 Simpson's methods proved successful in speeding up the process and he set up several factories within London, which soon required expansion in its early years through popularity of the label.:1-2
Alexander Simpson, his second son, joined the business aged 15 in 1917, and by 1929 had planned and opened a larger factory in Stoke Newington where production could be centralised, this again had to be enlarged a few years later.:3
20th century – DAKS and Simpsons PiccadillyEdit
With the continued growth of the company Alexander Simpson began to take more control of the business, and in 1935 DAKS tailored the first self-supporting trouser. The trousers were available in many colours and fabrics that weren't generally associated with menswear. Soon after a DAKS womenswear line was released, using the patented waistband for skirting.:52
At the turn of the 21st century when the company was acquired by Japanese group Sankyo Seiko Co. Limited in 1991, the S Simpson name was dropped and DAKS became the new brand name.
The ease-of-wear of the trousers and how they allowed movement, as intended from Simpson's invention, led to DAKS being popular in sporting wear – kitting tennis, golf, motor racing, and football players, and even for the British Olympic team in 1960. The company was commissioned by the British Government at the time of the Second World War to produce military uniforms for officers in the Army, Navy, Royal Airforce and Women's Services even despite the semi-destruction of the Stoke Newington factory due to bomb damage and loss of electricity:54 – with about seven million garments made for military services being produced.:58
After the war when DAKS clothes were announced to start selling to the public again queues of people would form down Piccadilly, to which Simpson tailors would measure them in line and present suitable pairs of trousers to them when they got into the Simpsons of Piccadilly store.:58
Simpsons of PiccadillyEdit
Simeon Simpson's son Alexander Simpson founded Simpsons of Piccadilly. The new building was designed by architect Joseph Emberton as a new and revolutionary retail establishment,:28 the shop front windows exhibited the first curved glass display in Great Britain and the largest in the world at the time,:17 these were designed so that no reflection would be cast to obscure the displays inside. The store opened in April 1936 by Sir Malcolm Campbell, the world-famous motor-racing driver.:25 and was known for its visual merchandising and window displays by László Moholy-Nagy, a former director from the Bauhaus school. Alexander Simpson died the following year of leukaemia aged just 34.:37
Simpsons continued to trade in the Simpsons Piccadilly building for several decades more, helping officers and civilians during World War II,:53 and in later years branched out to sell other clothing by designer labels such as Armani and Christian Dior:123-124 Since 1999 Simpsons stopped trading at the Piccadilly store and moved the renamed DAKS to a new flagship store and London offices to Old Bond Street, whilst moving to another new store on Jermyn Street which was refurbished in 2012 to focus on selling classic menswear. The original store was sold to bookseller Waterstone's and now serves as their flagship store.
Royal Warrants and House CheckEdit
(Larkhall was built in 1948 to Simpson's specifications and was opened by Harold Wilson who later became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The factory since closed in the early 2000s). DAKS was granted the Royal Warrant of Appointment by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in 1956. Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales granted the company with Royal Warrants in 1962 and 1982 respectively.
The company developed a House Check in 1976 by Johnny Mengers, the Group managing director of the time and last family chairman.
- (in Japanese) DAKS sankyoseiko.co.jp
- "The Story". December 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
- Wainwright, David (1996). The British Tradition: Simpson – A World of Style. London: Quiller Press Ltd. ISBN 1-899163-158.
- "About Us". December 2012. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
- "The Story". Daks.com. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
- "Laszlo Moholy-Nagy". Bauhaus-Online. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012
- DAKS website – history Archived 1 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 27 December 2012
- "Checking out London's new Daks store". October 2012. Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012
- "Real 'Grace Bros' Store Closes". BBC. 1 February 1999. Retrieved 27 December 2012
- Number 10. Retrieved 27 December 2012
- Telegraph. Retrieved 27 December 2012
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