In a world full of the forgettable some things you buy will be memorable. For example here’s a photo of my dad with his Vincent Comet. I never saw the bike but I cherish the photograph and the feelings that it inspires.
“Some dance to remember some dance to forget.”
Sometimes you cringe as you hand over your money. Sometimes you regret it. Sometimes though that thing, that purchase, that place you were in at that time, when you were where you were: you will never forget it.
My dad Barrie bought this watch in the 1950s. I’ve got no idea what it cost but I’m sure it was quite a lot. Probably more than he could afford. He’s dead now and the watch has become mine. Some years ago it stopped working. I didn’t have much money and I winced at the cost of having the watch restored by a Rolex specialist. I’m glad I did it though because it means so much to me now. Putting the watch to my ear I hear the gentle yet persistent ticking that connects me and my old dad, and a world of quality and a world of memories.
On New Year’s Eve I bought a bottle of beer that cost £40. I bought it to share with friends and even though we don’t remember much from that night now, we still remember that beer. We shared our time and made a mark. No matter how serious or trivial. We remember.
Not long after we started HebTroCo someone said to me how cool it would be if 40 years from now one of our belts or pair of trousers should turn up in a vintage shop. At that moment I realised that what I wanted to make and sell was things like this. I want our stuff to be like the silk scarf I have that belonged to my grandfather. Or the overcoat that once kept my dad warm in the winter and made him a stylish bastard when he paraded himself at a day at the races.
I used to love to pick through old photographs, jewellery boxes with signet ring and cuff link, along the wardrobe rail with suits and shirts and ties. These things were earned with hard work, with luck and with a hunger to have something good. It made its mark on me. This is not working class or privileged and it’s certainly not hipster (and fuck you if you think it is).
To this day I still value nice things. I’m not impressed with logos but I can tell quality. Perhaps it is materialistic but I like to collect memories and markers from the times of my life. People talk about leaving a legacy. It might be achievements they’ve made, stories that last longer than the bloom of a poppy or sometimes just a smart purchase, perhaps more than they could afford at the time, but something with class and quality that lasted even longer than they did, something that could be passed down to someone they knew or maybe even to someone with taste that they didn’t, but who picked it up and cherished it.
This all reminds me once again of my dear departed dad, who after a couple of drinks loved to quote Robert Burns.
“But pleasures are like poppies spread, you seize the flower, it’s bloom is shed; Or, like the snow-fall in the river, a moment white, then melts forever.”
So yes, I hope you buy some of our stuff because that’s how I make my living. Some people will buy it, wear it a couple of times and then put it to the back of the wardrobe. No problem, thanks for your order. I know that it’s made to last and even if you don’t wear it out because you love it, someone from a future generation will. And then some of the bright ones will be inspired and make something equally as good. It’s what we do and I feel good about it because quality has a value that needs no justification.