In Conversation with Gabriel Kenny-Ryder

We caught up with Gabriel Kenny-Ryder of new menswear brand ‘Kenny Ryder’, to discuss all things provenance, pre-loved and passion, as his eclectic wardrobe of vintage treasures newly and exclusively joins our men’s clothing collection.

Gabriel Kenny-Ryder with mens pre-loved clothing hanging
Tell us how Kenny Ryder has come to be

For as long as I can remember I have been interested in quality clothing and finding a bargain. Always on the look-out for memorable pieces, I would try to persuade friends and family to take advantage of the finds when they were not in my size. It made sense to expand this passion to help a wider audience appreciate quality clothing that you wouldn’t discover on the high street.

Kenny-Ryder Jackets
Your description of pieces centres around ‘pre-loved’, why did you choose this term?

I chose the term ‘pre-loved’ for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the pieces I choose have been cared for and maintained, not just shoved in a drawer and forgotten about. Secondly, I wanted a way to describe second-hand clothing that was more positive. These pieces are in excellent condition, sometimes they haven’t even been worn, they are just waiting for their next loving home.

What do you look for when sourcing a piece?

It seems obvious to say, but quality is always the first box that needs to be ticked. This may be through feeling items’ fabric on a market rail and inspecting their construction or searching online for brands that I admire for their commitment to creating clothes that last. I choose brands not for their status but for their history of fine craftmanship. I also value interesting design, an item may be made by an unknown brand but if the quality is high and the design is quirky or unique, I will always be interested.

What would be your ultimate ‘Grail Item’?

I’m not sure I have any one particular item that I am desperate for, however I love finding gems in unexpected places. I recently found a fantastic vintage Burberry trench coat in wonderful condition in a dusty French market, for example. I like the idea of finding a bespoke suit that fits me perfectly amongst a rack of clothes in a charity shop or a piece with amazing provenance.

Gabriel Kenny-Ryder with mens pre-loved clothing hanging
What would you class as the one staple worth investing in that should hold a place in every gent’s wardrobe?

This is a tricky one, whilst lots of people would simply say a wonderful navy blazer, this is not everyone’s style. I think that is a great item to invest in, absolutely, but I believe they should think about what item they enjoy most in their current wardrobe, or what item gets the most wear. Buying the best you can afford in your area will result in an item that not only gets a lot of use, but becomes part of you as it ages. For example, if you live in jeans, then invest in quality Japanese denim that develops wonderful characteristics as it’s worn. If you are on your feet all day, buy Goodyear-welted leather shoes that look even more beautiful with a patina and can be re-soled over and over again.

You mentioned shoes being re-soled, is an item’s ability to be repaired important to you?

Definitely! There are so many positives to repairing over disposing. There is the clear environmental benefit of not sending more clothing to landfill, but also avoiding the water and energy usage required to make new clothes to replace the old items. Then there is the benefit of getting more value out of your investment in clothing. If you spend on quality, often this means an item is more easily repaired and can look better for it. With every repair you are adding a bit of yourself into the clothing and building a stronger connection to it, not to mention the upgrading and personalising potential with repairs. I won’t pass up buying a lovely item because of minor damage, I will often repair them myself or seek out experienced local tailors to help with more difficult tasks. The items are then as-good-as-new, if not better than new, as they have more character, more of a story.

Kenny Ryder Blue Jacket Sleeve resting on windowsill
What would be your ultimate Christmas Gift for the discerning chap who has it all?

For Christmas gifts I look for things that the person would not be able to find or buy for themselves. This is often something that is particularly unique or one-of-a-kind. I have recently started stocking vintage Hermès silk ties that make wonderful gifts. Of course, there is the highest level of quality with these items, Hermès is known to make the finest printed silk in the world, but there is also the unique nature of the designs. They release new patterns every year and older graphics that are no longer in production are often highly-collectable. Buying something that you can’t find on any old shop floor makes a gift far more memorable in my mind.

Gabriel Kenny-Ryder with mens pre-loved clothing hanging

Gabriel will be joining us in store on the first Saturday of each month for our ‘Kenny Ryder Refresh’. He will be available to answer questions about the new arrivals, and to discuss all things ‘pre-loved’. Please see our What’s On page for more information about the next upcoming session.