We speak to Jerome Mackay, Marketing Director, here at Ettinger, about the first items that sparked his interest in well designed and well-made goods and how his tastes have been shaped.
“Among the few pieces of jewellery a man can wear, cufflinks are possibly the most diverse in style and offer so many ways to customise your outfit – from sensible and serious right through to the wittiest and most outrageous. This allows cufflinks to not just be a mark of your personality but also of your particular mood. I always borrowed my father’s cufflinks when I was younger and so the day I received my first stud box, on my 21st birthday was very special indeed.
The vintage Ettinger stud box that sparked a lifelong passion for well crafted objects and tailored clothing.
It was made of soft black calf leather and lined in a natural pig suede. My Godmother had bought it in Sydney and I hold it very dear. Therefore, how incredible should it be that many, many, years later I showed it to our factory manager in Walsall, only for him to exclaim “We made this one!”, while excitedly looking through his many drawers of cutters and finding that particular shape on the tab. Although the box had no markings, it was indeed made by our factory, all those years ago, then found its way to me, via Australia!
“One never really stops learning, or rather one should never cease to yearn for more knowledge. Likewise with taste, one evolves constantly as we learn and try new styles and outfits. I am no different. I enjoy the process of learning who I am and what I truly like. It started off with my father of course, who still wears a pair of Churches’ shoes bought about 40 years ago and wears ties on the weekend – he just wears a different kind to the office! He travelled so much I never really got to learn from him directly in shops so I took to reading books, then blogs, intrigued by the beautiful craftsmanship behind many of the pieces of clothing that men wear, the process of making beautiful items.
Growing up in France, dressing up, especially in a tailored way, was not always appreciated so it is only when I moved back to the UK that I fully realised how much I enjoyed wearing a more structured jacket even if not always in a very conventional way. I think there is more room for experimenting in the UK, but also more acceptance of “anything goes”, giving plenty of room for sartorial mistakes! There is however a great love of dressing up and formal wear which I particularly enjoy. I try to combine a British sense of tailoring and circumstance with a certain Gallic flair for stylish nonchalance. Not always an easy marriage, but an enjoyable endeavour nonetheless.”
Jerome Mackay in his home in Putney, 2017