Sublime: What made you choose to focus on people’s commute specifically when thinking about your vision?
Randell Sergeant: Film and photography have always romanticised travel, with a focus on the journey being more important than the destination, and maybe this rubbed off on Serran.
Photographers have often focussed their cameras on the mundane and made it extraordinary. We hope to do the same. It’s also about the countless interactions we have when getting to our destinations, the better you feel on the outside the more open you are to more experiences/conversations. If you add love to your commute, I think you’re also adding love to your life.
S: What do you want people to feel when they wear Serran?
RS: Wearing a Serran coat, jacket or accessories is aimed at giving individuals the right balance between a classic tailored look i.e. sharp lines, accentuating one’s figure whilst maximising on comfort and functionality. We want our customers to be empowered to take control of their external identity through their clothing but also through the labour behind the finish product. We believe there is additional comfort in knowing your products are ethically produced. We want there to be transparency in our craftsmanship, giving customers greater insight into what they’re buying and wearing, allowing for a more passionate purchase that’s for long term and resulting for a better understanding of their personal style.
S: With many people having dual identities (a strong link with their ethnic identity as well as their British national identity), how does Serran consider this?
RS: For us, being a British brand means respecting the strong history of British craftsmanship by drawing on the traditional approaches whilst merging this with the latest technology to create high quality products. Being a British brand also means that our products are not only designed in Britain but also made in Britain by talented craftspeople most of which hold dual identities.
S: What measures do you take to be environmentally friendly and ethical?
RS: One of the main reasons Serran manufactures its own products are to be sure that every product with a Serran label is produced ethically. Having a dedicated in-house team along with the aid of advanced technologies, we’ve developed a just-in-time system where we produce items from the point at which someone has placed an order all to be delivered to them in a matter of days, thus, eliminating the need for mass production.
Before working with any supplier, we seek to gather as much information as possible about their processes as it is essential for us to be sure that we are not contributing in any way to unethical practices. To be more environmentally friendly, we repurpose any waste we create into other products such as our cushion inserts for our homeware. We use sustainable materials such as aquatic leather for our cardholders and wallets, recycled materials such as rPET yarn for our Ser-Eco scarves and we use biodegradable materials such a wool and cotton for our outerwear.
S: Tell us more about the use of aquatic leather.
RS: Aquatic Leather textiles are created with the lowest possible impact to our planet, while maintaining the highest quality our customers expect. By only using open water farm raised fish, originally grown and harvested for the food industry, we guarantee that our product has nearly zero impact on the world’s oceans, as well as an extremely positive impact on our precious lands. Most landfills in the United States, especially along the coastline, maintain 40% of their capacity with fish waste.
Thanks to our reincarnation efforts, we intend to decrease the amount of fish waste destroying our planet, by removing the waste all together. For this reason, we adhere to strict guidelines for creating our skins, which includes a seasonal timetable for the availability of certain species. Our product is a one-of-a-kind textile that is a naturally water resistant, chemical- free, and allergen-free, allowing the skins to stand up to the natural wears and tears of life. The quality and durability of our fish leather textile matches up to that of Corinthian cowhide, and will outperform cowhide in its sustainability and durability, while imparting its natural unique beauty to any project you may have in mind.”
S: How are you adapting your messaging and vision in the age of coronavirus where people’s commutes are no longer part of their day?
RS: I think it is important to remember that 50% of the work force are still commuting and do not have the option to work from home. However, the attitude towards commuting on trains and busses has gone from bad to worse and it’s likely not to recover for a long time. Studies have shown coronavirus has brought attitudes towards public transport versus the use of private cars back 20 years. We have therefore, adapted our motto from “Add love to you commute” to “Stay safe, keep moving”. We created this message, as we believe it to be inclusive of those staying motivated while working hard from home and of those who have no choice but to travel to work.
S: Why is it important to include a bespoke element to your brand/service?
RS: We believe your clothing is an external reflection of who you are internally, and so its only right that our customers have the choice to truly take control of this whether it is selecting types of materials, colours, or adapting certain features etc. In addition to this, the standardised size chart does not work for everyone or for every garment and with our Brand rooted in traditional tailoring methods, we have utilised this to go the extra mile in ensuring our customers are 100% happy with the way their garment fits.
In addition to this, bespoke clothing was the norm before mass production and standardised sizes dominated the retail industry in the 20th century. This had its disadvantages in that clothing was very expensive, but on the other hand, considered to be far more valuable as they were made of higher quality inevitably meaning that they would last longer. We at Serran are hoping to bring back this approach to clothing where extra measures are taken to ensure your clothing last longer rather than a seasonal/fast fashion approach and in the long run, being more cost effective.
S: What should a shopper look for when considering purchasing eco-friendly knitwear and homeware?
RS: Seek out knitwear and homeware made from 100% biodegradable materials. Avoid hybrid mixed materials. Look for products made from recycled fibres (like our Ser-Eco scarves). Think about second hand - a product made well, is one that is made to last.
S: What impact has Coronavirus had on you as a business and the way people are thinking about their lifestyles?
RS: We have seen a shift in the type of products people are purchasing. With movement from offices to work from home and zoom meetings, we have seen an increase interest in our ‘’tailored comfort’’ clothes, these are items that are made to provide softness to the wearer but maintaining that sharp and confident exterior you would normal have in the office. There has been an increased emphasis on quality products. With people spending more time at home, planning holidays and weekend getaways, people have more time to explore and engage with the brand to find their perfect look. Not doing something as often as you normally would, means you want to do it well and of course this means you need the perfect jacket or scarf.
Our must-have WFH items are our men’s shirts. These are made with 100% brushed cotton, with 100% merino & silk cuffs and collars, making them soft and snug. Our must-have walk to work item is our Knitted jacket, which is sporty and smart.
S: What future plans do you have? Will Serran be expanding into other areas or will you be expanding on current offerings?
RS: We hope to expand our homeware collection and are in talks with a British furniture manufacturer to see if we can collaborate on some new items. However, our main focus is to provide a high-quality option for people when they are shopping. We currently manufacture for other luxury brands and we hope to grow this part of our business alongside our own brand. We have seen an increase in British brands looking for British manufacturing.