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04 June 2015

Jacket Required Presents x a number of names*


a number of names*
4 Upper James Street
Soho
London
W1F 9DF

  

*almost everyone welcome
store.anumberofnames.org


In the heart of London’s ever evolving Soho district – long established as a hub for entertainment and known as the city’s centre of culture and creative commerce, it’s the beginning of a new era for the glass fronted unit at number 4 Upper James Street, as the only store of its kind in the UK sets-up-shop with an alternative approach to the realm of retailing.

A select flagship store, operated by a distribution company – it’s anything but conventional. Therefore it’s no surprise the venture is the innovative brainchild of Craig Ford, founder of a number of names* (aka anon*) the sales distribution and marketing company behind A Bathing Ape®, Billionaire Boys Club and Cav Empt among others, and of course – co-founder of Jacket Required.

Ford’s accomplishments within the industry are nothing short of remarkable – after graduating with a first class degree in clothing design from the Scottish College of Textiles while working in Glasgow designer store Ichi ni San, he then found success with Duffer St George at first as a Saturday boy, then buyer before paving his own way to forge an unrivalled career in the institution we call fashion. Regarded by many as the world’s number one streetwear professional, not just having worked with industry leaders like NIGO®, Pharrell Williams and Tet Nishiyam, but also running the Billionaire Boys Club and ICECREAM London satellite stores, and navigating the landmark launch of the first ever BAPE® store outside Japan.

At the store’s opening on 23 May 2015, the Jacket Required team found some time between planning the spring/summer 2016 edition and browsing the rails to find out even more about the man himself. Paisley born, influential fashion insider, and one of the key tastemakers in the premium menswear industry – today Jacket Required Presents Craig Ford, CEO and Owner of a number of names*.


 

“When I chose to call the company a number of names*, I didn’t even realise anon was an acronym. It wasn’t until my colleagues in Japan said they would send a package to ‘anon’ that I realised. I was like, ‘Where’s anon?’ – for them to reply, ‘Your office’!”

“The store doesn’t have a sign above the door – just a constantly scrolling dot matrix digital board listing brand names, our company name and some political quotes from Karl Marx and Dr Martin Luther King, among others. Generally it’s referred to as the ‘a number of names* store’ or the ‘anon* store’ for short.”



 
“I have worn the same stuff for years. Ask any of my colleagues, especially Fabio Arciero who berates me every summer for adding a new polo shirt to my collection. But I’ve always worn polos! Along with Oxford button-down shirts, plain white tees, and white printed tees; Levi’s 501s and 505s; crew neck sweats and the occasional hoodie – really just sportswear and streetwear. Any time I experiment and veer from my personal style, it doesn’t really work for me.”

“I like to think I’ve always worn classic style with a contemporary twist. I’ve never been into dressing in a retro way since I was a young kid, or a teenager. The idea of being modern has always appealed to me. Brand wise – Polo, Levi’s, Adidas, Brooks Brothers and all the labels I deal with – Cav Empt, Human Made, Gourmet, BBC, ICECREAM, TSPTR and my own label – all in all a pretty small list really.”




“Around Soho, there used to be many more music industry people. But when the crisis hit, all the record companies made big cutbacks, though you do still get all the guys from the production houses in the area. It’s also very international retailing out of London – there are many overseas buyers, especially Asian tourists and student. Come the weekend, you also get loads of guys up from the ‘ends venturing into the West End to do their shopping.

I like to think most customers who come to the store have good style, and that’s why they’re there in the first place. We sell a hand-picked selection of all the anon* brands plus a few other collections from labels we already have a personal relationship with. Many collections are exclusive to the UK, unavailable elsewhere in Europe. We’re also collaborating with our brands to make special co-branded products and for the first time we’re selling our own brand product previously only available to friends and family. It’s a small and considered brand mix which will continue to attract a particular type of customer, with a particular type of taste.”


Craig Ford and anon* will exhibit at the spring/summer 2016 edition of Jacket Required with a roster of international brands.


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