Colhay’s is founded as a nod to the lessons passed down by my father and grandfather. Growing up, they taught me that a man should invest in a few good things that last, know where and how they are made, take care of them, and pass them on to the next generation.
My grandfather always dressed immaculately and had a simple, classic English wardrobe, as most men from his generation did in British colonial Hong Kong. He would proudly wear his Scottish tweed flat cap and his English made Morley's knitted shirts, carefully wrapping them up and storing them after each wear, keeping them in pristine condition for decades. My father's taste was more contemporary but he had a similar love for British craft and a habit of caring for his things. He would say, "when you are older, get a pair of shoes made in Northampton and polish them yourself; they'll serve you well for many years", before adding, "a man should always iron his own shirts and polish his own shoes." He always led by example.
There is virtue in appreciating the artisanship behind what you wear and looking after them over a long time, making them personal to you.
Neither of them are men of means, but both are from a time when this discipline was the norm.
As a result, I became the beneficiary of some much-treasured items, including the burgundy striped tie worn by my grandfather in the picture below, which he had passed on to me.
My grandfather and I, in our Sunday best.
In our disposable culture of today, much of the quality in the clothes that my father and grandfather enjoyed had been abandoned in favour of things that are quick to make, but quick to break; along with the discipline to nurture your belongings and make them last.
My passion is in bringing back clothes that stand the test of time, by championing skilled heritage makers who have tenaciously committed to the highest standards of craftsmanship over the years and continue to create the world’s best garments.
The aim is to restore the relationship that once existed between craftsman and wearer by bringing to your attention the quality, care and expertise that have gone into every stage of manufacture - from the fibres used, to the skills of those who have created your garment. I think that you deserve to know, and the makers’ stories deserve to be heard.
Through this, I hope to once again instil the satisfaction that comes with investing in a superior garment that lasts, that carries a proud story of workmanship and that you will cherish as a deeply personal item for a lifetime.
The norm in ages past, but an exception today.
My father, in his "Top Gun" style leather jacket and me, who opted for a more conservative red knitted cardigan. He was always the more fashionable one.