Derek Rose: Fine Loungewear for Your Spare Time
An interview with third-generation Derek Rose leader, Sacha Rose.
For Sacha Rose, the third-generation loungewear leader of London's Derek Rose, his business' focus is on making high-quality garments for people's free time. Derek Rose calls it "feel-good living".
"We've been around for quite a long time actually," Sacha says. "my grandfather started [the business] in the 1920s. My dad joined him in the 1950s, along with my sister, probably in the 1990s. And we're [still] a family-run business here in the U.K."
Derek Rose has a great deal of history behind it, and many brands choose to lean into that, but for Sacha, that's the easy thing to do. What's most important is to produce excellent products in the present. "We have to have a reason to exist," he says. "And that reason has to be that we can make a product that's better than what's out there. And that it also enhances or enriches the customers' experience when they're wearing the product."
On Purposeful Design
"A really good example of our approach to design and being consumer-centric in our thinking is in our resortwear. We designed a really wonderful linen shirt that has to be super comfortable and look good on the body. But on a practical level, I'm guilty of wearing a linen shirt, having my sunglasses tucked in on the top button, you lean forward, and they drop out! So we put a sunglass loop next to the pocket. People say, what's that piece of fabric there? And we say, ah have a look at this! When you do that, they can understand that you're designing for them and not just the economics of clothing.
On Making Products for Your Free Time
Our decision-making is about the long term of the business and looking after the people within it, which I think is a set of values we share deeply with Harry Rosen. And then as a brand, our focus is on what we call the end-user, which is something of a tech term to use...but our focus is based on the understanding that we're designing clothing for people's free time. We believe that our customers agree that their free time is the most important time in their life.
At the end of the day, if you walk down the beach in our swim shorts, do you feel marginally more comfortable? Do you feel a bit better about yourself? Is there a swagger in your walk as a result? Or if you're sitting on that long-haul flight––are you the most comfortable person on that plane, even though you might not be sitting in first class? Or if you're sleeping, are you getting a great night's sleep and do you feel comfortable and rested in the morning? Anything we can do to contribute to that is a win for us.
On A Lovely Friendship
We have a friendship and a partnership with Harry Rosen. Harry himself and my father have known each other for years. I'm lucky enough to know Larry and have met Ian Rosen, his son, more recently. It's about the way you work with people. Life's too short to be 100% about business. It's about building friendships and relationships. It's about mutual respect; it's about shared goals and values. So, for me, it's a real genuine pleasure to be able to work with the team at Harry Rosen on that basis. It's a partnership and a friendship and we love that and the world needs a little more of that.