Banda Approved


Is Heritage the New Black? We take a look at one of the more exciting rebrands in recent years with the launch of the Merchant Fox.

Identity and heritage have been prominent focal points for some time now and one that affects much of our daily lives. With the ease and pace with which new must-have brands, go-to restaurants and bars appear, we are becoming far more fastidious on what we spend our money on. The saturation of the market with faddy competitors has resulted in brand identity and corporate social responsibility being a more crucial element to consumers than ever before. We want to know from whom we are buying from and what we are buying into. Brands are aware of this and have begun making themselves appear more honest and transparent. This in turn leads them to appear more relatable, thereby standing a better chance of gaining our custom. We are being pulled in by stories, rich in the detail of craftsmanship, history and provenance.

Considering the importance of a brand’s heritage and identity in today’s market, Banda turns it’s attention to Wellington in Somerset. Here we examine the rebirth of one of Britain’s most revered textile companies: Fox Brothers & Co Ltd via their new counterpart: The Merchant Fox.

 As the original creators of Fox Flannel (aka Khaki), for which they were granted a Royal Warrant for in 1901, Fox Brothers have supplied many of the tailors of Savile Row since the very beginning. Via Huntsman (one of the Row’s most illustrious tailors), Fox brothers and Co have been draped across the shoulders of some of the world’s most iconic and powerful men. From Edward II to Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and Hollywood icon Cary Grant, clearly Fox Brothers have long been held in the highest of esteem. More recently, fashion houses: Louis Vuitton and Margret Howell have used this fabric to form the backbone of their latest designs, reaffirming this textiles factory’s status as a high quality and respected brand.

Recognising how the market was paying closer attention to craftsmanship and heritage, serial entrepreneur Deborah Meaden (of Dragons Den fame) purchased Fox Brothers in 2009, with her long term colleague, Douglas Cordeux, a notable expert in the textiles industry. Acquiring a wealth of skilled artisans and a revered brand with enviable reputation, they launched The Merchant Fox; a sub brand from which they apply the same trusted and proven principles of rich provenance and handcrafted techniques.

Focussing on a wide selection of specialist areas that includes a foray to the interiors market (think scatter cushions, candles and sophisticated wing-back chairs) they incorporate Fox Brothers fabric wherever appropriate. The result is a fantastic line of products ranging from a ready-to-wear line, leather goods and bespoke tailoring that perfectly encapsulates the brand’s iconic heritage.

With the consumers attention fixated on details more than ever before, it is no surprise that a number of companies, mostly those that can lay claim to an illustrious history like the Merchant Fox, have been able to capitalise on this movement. The rise of Savile Row has proven, once again, that old mantra that fashion moves in circles and that, yes, heritage is the new black.

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All images (c)  Fox Brothers & Co Ltd.

The Banda Journal