Norton & Sons

Shaping the future of a Savile Row great

It’s rare to find a company steeped in as much history and tradition as Norton & Sons. Founded in 1821, it is one of the oldest tailors on Savile Row. Soon after being founded Norton & Sons gained a reputation amongst ‘rugged and robust gentlemen’ for its immaculately cut suits and sporting garments. Lord Carnarvon was wearing Norton & Sons when he discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb, as was Henry Stanley when he found Dr Livingstone.

While Norton & Sons knew the strength of their heritage, new Director Patrick Grant recognised the importance of building engagement with a modern generation of young customers who also appreciated fine British tailoring. Moving Brands continues to work with Patrick to develop a brand both respectful of the past, in tune with the present, and adaptable to the moving world.

Objective

Our aim was to attract a new generation of customers, capturing their attention with the authentic story of the brand. It was crucial to do this in a way that still had relevance for long-standing, loyal clients. We wanted to build on Norton & Sons’ heritage to reaffirm its position as the leading bespoke tailor on the Row by focusing on British craftsmanship, history and pure bespoke garments.

We set out to convey how a Norton & Sons suit is a piece of art. Bespoke garmets are unique pieces, co-created by the tailor and the client. They are not a 100% symmetrical piece of clothing one would find on a ready to wear rack. It is a unique map of the client’s body, with all its faults and beauty.

Not only were the garments pieces of art, they were pieces of British art. In our assessment phase we uncovered archive advertising claims such as “no other address”, “no branch houses or agencies anywhere” and “16 Savile Row.” This shaped our assurances that a vital element of the story was the importance of Britishness and British making. These dynamics, coupled with the characters of adventurers like Lord Carnarvon or Henry Stanley, underpinned the sophistication and story of the brand, encapsulated as ‘The Englishman At Large’.

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Approach

Having assessed the competition and created a customer journey for Norton & Sons, we began work on a new, modern identity that would acknowledge and emphasise the firm’s rich heritage, while appealing to a dynamic, younger market. The identity includes a redrawn version of Norton’s original crest, which was awarded by a Prussian emperor in the 19th century. The original, idiosyncratic wordmark has also been redrawn and the royal warrants reinstated as indicators of the brand’s history and quality.

We wanted to reflect the brand’s high quality craftsmanship through the design language and processes. We created a complete set of collateral using the best materials to ensure all touch points reinforced the quality of the brand. The colour palette was developed to reflect the sober, soft-to-touch wools and cashmeres of the suits as well as the bright silks of the suit linings. We used mostly British archive typography set in a fluid way to reflect the structured but bespoke nature of the suits themselves.

We used only archive advertising claims such as “no other address”, “no branch houses or agencies anywhere” and “16 Savile Row” to deliver credibility. The website reinforces this idea and communicates the culture of the brand through the use of strong illustration of the house at work.

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Results

The creation of new stationery and retail experience was just the first step. We designed the more esoteric fineries of the Nortons experience: the clothing labels, signed by the cutters, tailors, and Patrick Grant and stitched into each suit; passport books that chart the progress of each suit’s creation; concepts for the interior design of the salon; and bespoke storage boxes for all the records, some of which date back over a century, and include invoices and patterns for Sir Winston Churchill.

We refined the shopping experience to appeal to a younger affluent audience. On the interior, the overall shop layout was redesigned to be more welcoming with a consultation space and an updated work room still visible. To reference the traveler lifestyle, Patrick procured objects such as orynx heads and explorer maps for the shop floor. The window was curated to be singular and iconic, and the facade was redesigned to include hand painted signage, reflecting the artisan qualities of the suits themselves.

“I approached Moving Brands as one of my good friends had worked with them on a project for Nokia, the results of which he was delighted by. Moreover the quality of the people involved and the efficacy of the process was impressive; in his mind they created just the right amount of tension to ensure the best was brought out of both parties. Despite appearances the great majority of the old tailors on this street have done what we’ve done (re-branded). We’ve just approached it with a little more confidence, and Moving Brands have executed it with considerable skill.”
Patrick Grant speaking to Grafik Magazine

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