Ahead of Sotheby's George Daniels, Visionary sale in July, the first of four stand-alone auctions from the Masterworks of Time private collection, we invited Charlie Casely-Hayford to speak to his sister Alice Casely-Hayford (Digital Editor of British Vogue) about his sense of style, seasonal trends and how he wears a pocket watch.
Designer and co-founder of men’s and womenswear brand Casely-Hayford, Charlie Casely-Hayford has had a fondness for watches from a young age, inheriting the interest, as well as a number of timepieces, from our father, Joe Casely-Hayford OBE, who was an ardent collector. In the midst of London Fashion Week Men’s Spring/Summer 2020, I caught up with my brother as he attended the Oliver Spencer show.
Over the past ten years you’ve developed a distinct uniform in terms of your daily style. Who have been the biggest influences on your approach to dressing and how would you describe your own wardrobe?
Clothes are powerful weapons; they can magnify our presence and become synonymous with our characters and they can just as easily do the opposite. Growing up, I looked up to a lot of artists like Lucien Freud, Gilbert & George, even David Lynch, first and foremost for their work, but I was also fascinated by the way they wore the same look every day. It was something that really resonated with me. I generally wear a suit, T-shirt and boots as my own uniform.
You're an advocate of slow fashion rather than a slavish follower or creator of seasonal trends. That said, is there a particular theme in men's fashion at the moment that excites you?
The wider silhouettes that have been coming through in streetwear, and also on the runway in tailoring, over the last few years is certainly a positive shift. It is exciting after over a decade of a very slim aesthetic to see this change making its way onto the high street.
Oliver Spencer dedicated his show last season to our father, whose work he admired. What do you admire about Spencer's work?
I've always had a lot of respect for Oli and his designs. He has a clear vision and ethos and has built a very strong world around it. I often feel with some of the bigger, more corporate brands that they shape shift so dramatically that they can become interchangeable. It's apparent with his work that, although he's never standing still and always striving to push his personal boundaries, he also has a very identifiable handwriting no matter which collection you look back at.
Our father loved and collected watches and now you share that same interest. How did he educate you about timepieces and when did your interest grow?
I think my interest really came from the sentimentality attached to one of our dad's first watches. It was a constant in my life no matter what he was wearing and was therefore imbued with this certain strength in retaining the character of its wearer. I’ve always loved that idea. I got my first luxury watch when I was 25. It was the exact same one that our dad had when we were children. My obsession started there really, and I’ve been building up a small collection ever since.
You normally wear a wrist watch so how would you incorporate a pocket watch into your look?
Although I wear tailoring most days, streetwear certainly informs my thinking too. I like the idea that, the chain of the pocket watch if worn in a particular way, can nod to both worlds simultaneously.