Gemma Latham talks to Made In Chelsea’s Hugo Taylor and his friend and business partner Charlie Morris about shades, hangovers, movie stars and design principles at the launch of their eyewear collection into Harvey Nichols…
I sat down with Hugo and Charlie in the bling-tastic surroundings of the Wow bar at Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar in Liverpool. The boys were dressed down in jeans, jackets and trainers and were relaxed, yet excited to talk about their brand over a sophisticated glass of wine. They are clearly proud of their collection and spent a good ten minutes at the start of our interview making me try on each and every different style/colour combo until they were agreed on the perfect pair of shades for me! Once we were all decided on the Louis Orson’s (named after the boys’ middle names), they told me all about their journey and the Taylor Morris brand.
We started worked together when we were in charge of the marketing and PR of (exclusive London club) China White, in our early twenties. We were working all day and then we were expected to be at the club all night, until it closed. So we were hanging out a lot and we were hungover a lot!! We’d come into the office each morning with bloodshot eyes, constantly wearing shades to cover it up. We worked together there for about a year and a half and decided we wanted to do a project together. We knew we wanted to do sunglasses because we’re both really passionate about them.
We spent a year celebrating the fact we came up with a great name for the brand. And then we got our really good friend Nick involved as our Managing Director. He’s our Managing Director and he looks after the business side, which allows us to do what we do best and focus on designing.
We worked day in, day out for 6 months on this collection. We had a very clear idea of what we wanted to do. We looked at screen icons such as Warren Beatty, Audry Hepburn, Jonathan Taylor, Steve McQueen, Jack Nicholson, The Kenedys. We didn’t want to be too overly fashion orientated we wanted to be quite classic. That old-school look but with a modern twist.
We put a lot of effort into sourcing the highest quality materials and using the best quality lenses, but at an affordable price. We tried to make them as fairly priced as we could, our glasses range from £125-£165. It’s still an investment but you’re getting your money’s worth.
The three circles represent faithfulness, friendship and fidelity. Our brand is very much based around friendship, sharing and fun. We’re not a faceless brand, we’re not a corporation, this is a boutique label run by two people whose names are on the label, who design and are very much living. Every aspect of the way we’ve done the business has been about friends and happiness. It’s essential to us that people can connect with the fun and importance of the brand in those aspects.
If you’re going to cover up your eyes, which are a very beautiful thing, just make sure you do it with something proper. You don’t have to wear what everyone else is wearing, everyone has seen a pair of Rayban Aviators. Push the boundaries a little bit!”
When you buy Taylor Morris, you’re buying a bit of that British sartorial elegance. Passion is the main thing. Charlie and I adore sunglasses, if we walk past a shop we have to stop and look at the sunglasses, If we’re walking down the street we are looking at people’s faces and what shades they are wearing.
If we feel we can do something else as well and as passionately as we do this then we’ll try it. Of course we’d like to expand the brand, but just because we’ve had success in this doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll have success in something else. We’re not just going to assume we can easily design, say, a pair of shoes. We’ll take our time and always keep the same design principles: Classic British-ness and simplicity with a little bit of a wild edge to it.
Later on the boys changed into some sharp tailored suits to host the evening event where guests could chat to they boys and even get some personal shade-styling tips, whilst enjoying FrereJean Freres Champagne, Martin Millars Gin cocktails and canapés. DJ Discouture Kat got everyone in the party spirit with some funky disco beats and once the event drew to a close at 10pm the Taylor Morris team decided to forgo their dinner reservation choosing instead to carry on the party and check out the local Liverpool nightlife scene!
Taylor Morris Eyewear is available in store at Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar, Liverpool One, Liverpool.
Words by Gemma Latham (@carnabytwenty1)
Images by Sven Eselgroth