From a university dorm, to an international success, we discover the incredible journey and development of the Rupert & Buckley clothing brand. A brand which, focuses very heavily on British heritage and suits a fun, exciting and active lifestyle.
Rupert & Buckley was founded by James Buckley Thorp, a Business and Law student at Kent University, whose business venture began when he sold his very own varsity sock designs to his university rowing team. With his team's vibrant foot attire catching the eyes of fellow rowing teams, the demand for James' socks was high. This prompted the launch of the Rupert & Buckley website and in less than 10 months, James had sold over 2000 pairs.
"I had no business background when starting out. The business grew through the excitement of my customers and their passion for the brand. I invested my entire ISA and with help from my mother, brother and a private investor, I was able to take the business to the next level, developing other products such as T-shirts, jumpers, trousers and even accessories, and in setting up pop-up shops as an outlet for the brand." - James Buckley Thorp
Rupert & Buckley's target audience is clear; both men and women aged 25-35. This high quality clothing brand is one that has come to represent a well sought-after middle class lifestyle, and has very strong associations with British sporting culture. It is perhaps unsurprising therefore that in 2017 it became the 'leisurewear partner' of the infamous Oxford and Cambridge boat race. It has in fact, secured a three year contract with this iconic British sporting event which allows the company to reach its yearly audience of a staggering 6 million! In this way, Rupert & Buckley is much more than just a clothing brand; it has come to represent an extremely aspirational lifestyle, too.
We speak to Adam and Matt from Rupert & Buckley, who shed more light on the ethos, inspiration and future of this young, fresh and vibrant clothing brand.
How did Rupert & Buckley come about and how has the brand evolved over the years?
The founder James Buckley-Thorpe created Rupert and Buckley in 2011 in Canterbury. Aged 21, James sat night after night making hand woven varsity socks for his local rowing crews and printed T-shirts for events. After making 600 pairs of socks in one week for a varsity tournament and selling out, the realization of a potential brand came to light.
Soon after moving back to his hometown of Bath, James opened the first pop-up store and online store. Today, Rupert and Buckley has 3 thriving high street stores of their own, an online store and wholesales to multiple online and high street stores across the Uk and Irelands.
Tell us about the ethos behind the Rupert & Buckley brand?
To make our brand available to ALL. Rupert and Buckley is a brand for everyone regardless of colour, religion, gender or sexual orientation. We strive to be an aspiration and inspiration to our younger audiences and to be a true representation of you..
What makes your clothing unique?
Our clothing is always casual and comfortable, made from great quality fabrics, with superb attention to detail. What makes us unique is how we combine this with products that are fun, have a nod towards fashion trends and are flattering. You can look good and feel comfy.
What inspires your products? Is there a focus on trends?
We always want to look relevant on the high street and we do pay close attention to the current trends. But we are more influenced by things like colour trends, new fabrications or print and wash techniques, trends that we can fit into our unique look and lifestyle.
Our biggest influencers on our products are our customers. Being a socially led brand, we have a constant rapour with our customers and can get instant reactions to products we launch or run ideas past our followers online. We also work with a variety of Brand Ambassadors, and these guys wearer trial our products in everyday situations. Their feedback and anything we gain from online is far more vital to us than high-end fashion trends.
Do you have a favourite go-to product?
For the men it’s the spreyton stripped tee and for the ladies it’s our gorgeous Meddon rugby dress.
What are your best sellers?
Our varsity socks, but the current season key pieces such as ladies dresses, men’s shirts and graphic tee’s are very popular this summer.
What makes your clothing perfect for by the coast and seaside attire?
When you’re out and about by the coast you need comfy, practical clothing. Items that you can spend the day in, fabrics that will dry quick if you accidentally get stuck in a rain-storm. Items that will pack down in a rucksack and still look ok when you pull them out 6 hours later when you go for dinner. Our clothes are versatile and will work throughout the seasons.
What’s next for Rupert & Buckley?
The company is expanding into Europe and America, with distributors and reps already set up and out on the road, expanding the awareness of our brand, exciting times.
Shop the Rupert & Buckley collection today!
If you enjoyed reading this, click here to read 'Coastal Fashion.'