Ray Kelvin of Ted Baker talks exclusively to Bicester Village about the brand’s humble beginnings and the style secrets he swears by…
Renowned for stylish and sophisticated menswear, womenswear and accessories, Ted Baker London is a household name, loved for quality design, high-end fabric and a distinct British attitude.
Launching in 1988 with a collection of classic yet edgy menswear, Ted Baker soon expanded to include womenswear collections – a seamless blend of old-fashioned glamour and contemporary femininity – and accessories including socks, scarves, hats and cufflinks.
Now a global success story, we spoke to founder Ray Kelvin about his style inspiration, entering the fashion world at the age of 11, and naming the business Ted, not Ray.
'When I started the company in 1988, its success was far from certain. I christened the business ‘Ted Baker’ as it was a good, friendly moniker that people seemed to like. And while Ted is now a global success, I still prefer to remain in the background. I’m a big believer in team effort, not glorifying the individual.
Since I started working in my grandfather’s menswear shop at the age of 11, many different aspects of the fashion world have sparked my interest: from the history of formalwear and a gentleman's attire, through to the sixties and its mix of diverse and genre-defining fashions.
We've seen huge leaps in menswear and womenswear throughout the nineties and noughties too. The richness of design in fashion now is incredible.
Working with my grandfather from such a young age I learnt the art of retailing; everything from stocktaking to selling tricks. My parents and grandparents epitomise style to me. They taught me everything I needed to know about clothing.
British style is about layering, precise fit and tailoring. The secret is the ability to look put-together, even at your most casual.
At its heart, Ted Baker is a celebration of fashion, teamed with British mischief. We play with, update and reinterpret classic shapes and materials, as well as continually looking at detail, fit, finishes and fabrications. All of my collections focus on colour, fit, fine fabrics and inherent details – and each collection is as exciting to me as the next.'