Saturday, 23 November 2013

A Pint With... Kevin Stone

Kevin Stone, owner of The Stone Consultancy and brand director for The Vast Agency, knows all there is to know about Baracuta. Atom Retro caught up with him for a swift half.

Atom Retro - Hello Kev, what you drinking?
Kevin Stone - A pint of real ale please.

AR - So Kev how long have you been kicking about the industry?
KS - its a long time but in essence it feels like yesterday as it’s such an exciting industry and it’s even faster paced this days with on-line retailing, social media and buying seasons becoming shorter.

AR - You are involved with Baracuta and have a love of all things heritage, tell us how this started.
KS - It started in 1977 at the age of 16 at Bilton Youth Club (Harrogate, North Yorkshire). That’s when I discovered Northern Soul. Two years later I went to Wigan Casino and many years later I found myself working for the brands that we wore at the mecca of soul.

AR - Which brands are we talking about?
KS - Three in particular have had a large impact on my career; Fred Perry, Ben Sherman and Baracuta. I was European Sales & Marketing Director at Fred Perry. I joined in 1996 shortly after Oasis played at Maine Road; I mention this moment as it was a tipping point for the brand, as overnight it switched its focus away from tennis and into lifestyle, exciting times! I then took up the reigns at Ben Sherman. This was a pivotal time for the brand as it looked to change its position as a brand that sold tons of shirts to lots of retailers. Our brief was to change it into a British lifestyle brand that not only looked backwards but also forwards; a brand with a heritage of modernity.

AR - And now you are working with Baracuta...
KS - I have been associated with the brand for 10 years. It’s a wonderful brand full of provenance. I’ve headed up design, ran the marketing, designed the first website, ran the PR before we took on Village Press, worked on all the collaboration projects - it’s really is hard-coded into my DNA.

AR - The Baracuta brand was recently sold. What can you tell us about that?
KS - The brand has been bought by WP Lavori in Corso. They are a fantastic business dedicated to heritage brands. They have a real passion, something we both have in common. They are great fun to work with very knowledgeable, In my opinion, the brand couldn’t be in safer hands.

AR - What’s next for Baracuta then?
KS - The new direction is very much the old direction but with much more finesse. For now we are concentrating on outerwear, the brands heritage, making our iconic pieces here in the UK, but upgrading all the materials, hardware, improving the fit.

AR - What pieces key pieces should we be looking out for?
KS - I’m busy with the Spring 2014 collection. The new Made in England Trench is receiving a lot of attention; it’s going to be a must have item!

AR - What else is going on then Kev, you’ve always got your fingers in lots of pies?
KS - The creative agency that I am involved in is very busy and we are working on some great projects. We love British brands and we have some great lifestyle ones in the portfolio, including Tootal, Private White VC, Twisted UK, Johnny Tuxedo and Gibson London to name drop a few.

AR - Thanks for your time, Kev!

This article was first published in Up&Atom Issue 1.