Friday, 5 September 2014

20 years of Griffin

G R I F F I N   1 9 9 4-2 0 1 4

Celebrating 20 years of Inspired, Luxury Sportswear and the reintroduction of Womenswear to Griffin Studio. From its creation onwards Griffin has consistently delivered Simplicity of Style and Beauty.

Griffin has grown and evolved over the years, however it’s key aims and standards still remain. You get Quality clothing from a British homegrown company.  The renaissance of Griffin womenswear is an exciting addition to the brand and has added to the Versatility of the brand.

The craftsmanship, technology and Sustainable outlook of the company has always brought the brand to a Unique and high standard. The latest from Griffin is no exception.

Scanning through the archive brought out images of garments that have, (in an industry that moves on quickly) shown very little dating. They retain their Adventurous and Innovative edge.

Griffin invites you to take a look at what has been and what is new in and available; to see how the Technological and Streamlined design aesthetic has persevered throughout the years.

This years AW collection is the most Enterprising, Modern and Exclusive yet. This collection focuses above all on the creation of a beautiful piece of clothing that is more than looks and Functionability, as Griffin prides itself on caring for the planet, and customer satisfaction.

A look back over the last twenty years:

Jeff Griffin finished Derby Uni in 1987 and graduated Saint Martins  College of Art with destinction for his Master of Arts degree
 in 1990, selling his collection to Soul 11 Soul.

He then moved to Italy to join the Gian Marco Venturi design team in Milan and was subsequently headhunted by the ‘Little Italy Family ’ design studio where he was given the position of head designer. His directional vision was creatively spent on a well-versed array of Italian houses including: Valentino, Oliver, 1818, Ferre, Americanino, G.M.V and Fiorucci. During this time, Jeff successfully designed and launched the design label ‘Voyage ’.

In 1994 Jeff returned to London to establish his own label, frustrated with the menswear market at the time Jeff wanted to create a brand that merged fashion, lifestyle and sportswear, a new idea that would change our approach to fashion. he identified a gap in the market for a contemporary menswear fashion daywear/sportwear label. He was as he put it “mixing life up.” Jeff wanted to create a brand of urban styling with an extreme attitude. The label was launched in 1994 under name ‘Griffin Laundry’ which soon received worldwide press coverage and rapidly gained respect from the industry.

In 1995 Griffin launched a Cyber Collection online, coinciding with the comercialisation of the world wide web.

Griffin then showed at paris in 1996 a Spring Summer catwalk mixing Fashion-Military-Sportswear-Heritage. 


Griffin’s aim was, and still is, to continually inspire consumers to take a different approach and in 1996 Griffin Laundry abandoned the traditional mode of catwalk presentation despite a series of successful shows in Paris and London in favour of a more static format which could be international, and used as installations in-store. These were produced as sculptural/technological installations in London, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong.

In 1997 Paris he showed a Sportswear-Tailoring collection.

In 1998 Jeff was one of the first designers to show a collection on the Internet, he swiftly advanced the visual format to include a joint cinematic venture for Television with Channel Four for the showing of his collection. Griffin’s online store is set up.
1999 and Griffin created an installation at Carnaby Street. Jeff wanted to look at fashion differently (before pop-ups became cool.) The concept was BI-Ocular mixing: inside-outside, urban-rural, technology-natural; i.e the Sleeping bag coat (which is interchangeable between the two.) Bareskin (when unzipped and laid flat looks like a bearskin rug.) And the Flak Jacket (old military style jacket.)

In 2000 the Griffin Online Store became a space to showcase and sell the collection as well as maintaining the brands worldwide awareness, the Griffin Concept Store on 297 Portobello Road in London also opened around the same time and became an interactive shopping experience holding host to a range of exhibitions and events. AW00 Griffin works with Donald Christie on a short film for Channel 4, called Combat Tailoring Norfolk 30.01.99. 

2001 Griffin Studio was established as a design consultancy business with clients that included: Kenzo, Baracuta, Madarina Duck, Oneninezerosix, Converse, Airwalk, Pefield, Hugo boss, Iceberg, Kent and Curwen.

Griffin moves to Wiltshire to truly live the lifestyle that the brand represents. The internet has made it optional to continue the business from the country. “The internet gave us the freedom to be international from anywhere.”

Griffin had expanded into a business that centred around community, exhibitions, collaborations, international ties, ideas and the consultancy business Griffin Studio. 

Griffin’s thought provoking and political stances, such as anti-war and anti-establishment outlook, provided opportunities to work with some of the art worlds most inspirational contributors. Griffin next collaborated with Banksy, the only fashion house to ever have a collaboration with the enigmatic graffiti artist. 

In 2003 between Givenchy and Gucci, Jeff Griffn was acclaimed as one of I.D Magazine’s most important designers in the publication Fashion Now

2003 Spring Summer a Flagship store is opened in Tokyo.

Next El Ultimo Grito (The Last Shout) collaboration along with: Griffin Soho, Griffin Selfridges, Griffin store Tokyo and Griffin Paris.

2003 Selfridges first outside window display created by Griffin to grab the attention of passers by.

SS03 collection photographed by Donald Christie in Dungeness Kent

2004 Artist Eco from Bristol works on the Griffin wall in Selfridges London.

AW04 Collection ‘Smoke’ Photographed by Donald Christie.

SS05 Collection ‘Run’ Photographed by Donald Christie.

AW05 Studio Work in London photographed by Donald Christie.

2005 The Griffin Studio had collaborated with many established brands from around the world such as clothing and footwear specialists Kickers. This product was developed from a Kickers block which was then adapted. The print developed from a series of graphic screen prints that had been designed for the Griffin SS06 range which resulted in the print being etched into the leather of the trainer.

A run of collections beautifully shot by Donald Christie continues:
SS06 Studio London- Photographer Donald Christie.

AW06 Wiltshire- Photographer Donald Christie.

SS07 ‘A box’ Photographed by Donald Christie.

In 2007 Griffin Studio began collaborating with renowned outdoor wear specialists Berghaus, initially approached because of the knowledge Griffin has of the Japanese market and the conceptual approach to design.  Griffin added edginess and originality to a traditionally technical company.
“Berghaus had a record year thanks to the innovative combination of
functionality and fashion we were able to inject into the product as a result of the brand’s collaboration with menswear designer Jeff Griffin”
(Andy Rubin, Pentland)

 AW07 Berghaus collaboration with Photographer Donald Christie.

In 2008 there’s a collaboration with Radiohead member Stanley Donwood.

SS08 Studio Village Hall Codford- Photographed by Donald Christie.

AW08 Studio Village Hall Codford- Photographer Donald Christie.

AW08 Berghaus collaboration with Photogropher Donald Christie.

In 2008 there is a collaboration with Photomontage artist Peter Kennard.

SS09 Wiltshire – Photographer Donald Christie.

Jeff Griffin was featured as one of the ‘Faces to Watch in 2009’ by Menswear Buyer magazine.

2009 Griffin Studio does a collaboration with Charge on the design of the saddle covering.

2010 Jeff and Karina Griffin decide to move their family and the studio to the rural village of Hartland on the dramatic North Devon coastline. Loveland Farm is now developing into an eco-retreat that is being built using the latest green technologies whilst eventually operating on a self-sufficient basis. Here the brand places even more importance on sustainability and ecologically friendly fashion. This love of the outdoors aids in the inspiration of new ideas and allows free thinking.


Now there is even more input towards the models that are used being authentically sporty and ‘outdoorsy.’ Griffin has used a combination of models and climbers/surfers/boarders and begins to focus in on this sense of authenticity and realism. Griffin used/uses Andrew Cotton, famous big wave surfer who grew up in North Devon. Griffin later uses the sponsered Mountainboard champion Alex Downie, also a local in North Devon.

SS10 Baracuta collection- Photographer Donald Christie.

AW10 shoot of Charge bikes collaboration- Photographer Donald Christie.

AW10 Griffin shoot- Photographer Donald Christie.

SS11 Griffin shoot- Photographer Donald Christie.

AW11 Griffin shoot- Photographer Donald Christie.

2011 the creation of Griffin Hartland, a collaborative business based in Japan in which Griffin Studio designs, and Griffin Hartland Manifactures. It follows the same ideals as Griffin and it’s style is a mixture of Griffin and British Heritage. The business is about “Britishness,” fashion sportswear, traditional values, modern attitudes, the outdoors and military style. The brand is a youthful casual brand which takes the influence of the street and gives it a fashion, outdoor, British look. It’s all about “mixing it up.”
SS12 Griffin Photographer Donald Christie.

AW12 Griffin Hartland- Photographer Donald Christie.
AW12 Griffin- Photographer Donald Christie

SS13 Griffin Hartland- Photographer Donald Christie.

SS13 Griffin Hartland Film Directed by Donald Christie. ‘Vallicans Harvester.’

SS13 Griffin Photographer Donald Christie.

A behind the scenes film of some of the goings on at Griffin!

SS13 Griffin X Donald Christie Film.

AW13 Griffin Hartland- Photographer Donald Christie.
AW13 Griffin- Photographer Donald Christie.
SS14 Griffin – Photographed by Donald Christie


AW14 Griffin – Photographed by Donald Christie

A favourite expression of Jeff’s “There are no boundaries only possibilities” Jeff also takes inspiration from something Charles Darwin surmised:  “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Today in 2014 Griffin creates distinctive men’s attire combining military utility with luxury and tradition. The brands roots are British with one foot in fashion and the other in streetwear. The brand has grown forever stronger merging Griffin’s urban background with active lifestyles.

Griffin’s diverse range of skills and commercial awareness allows it to drive business for brands; Griffin is a niche brand with a very unique identity. Entirely self funded Griffin realises the commercial value and success collaborations can bring to a brand. Season after season these collaborations are an integral part to the Griffin collection. The collaborations have united Griffin with not only fashion designers but also product designers (such as El Ultimo Grito.) The Griffin collaborations are regularly featured in many international fashion and sportswear publications including Dazed and Confused, Men’s Fitness, GQ, ID, Arena, etc. Plus the ever important websites and blogs, highsnobiety,, etc.

Authenticity is at the forefront of Griffin’s brand values and working with the best brands and manufacturers is important. Griffin has collaborated with a number of UK based manufacturers including original sportswear manufacturers Gymphlex and rainwear specialists Mackintosh, these collaborations allow Griffin to support local manufacturing, but by adding the unique Griffin twist to traditional quality products, creates an awareness of these brands to new markets.

Conceptual ideas, promotional and marketing material are all produced by Griffin’s culmination of visionary talent; including graphic designers, stylists and photographers, creating design packages, brochures and web sites. Now firmly established, the Griffin Studio is a respected design consultancy known for injecting raw talent and a cool ideal into some of the fashion industry’s most well known brands. 

The Online Store:  Since 1998 the Griffin Online Store has gone from strength to strength. Selling through Griffin’s extensive wholesale network, which included Barneys New York, Maxfields, Fred Segal- LA, Selfridges- London, Harvey Nicols, and Colette- Paris, IT and Demop Hong Kong. Efforts are now concentrated predominantly into the online business. This allows Griffin to stay in direct contact with the loyal customer base and includes Audio Bullies, Banksy, Blur, Coldplay, Ed Case, Ewan Mcgregor, FC Kahuna, Gorillaz, Jamie Oliver, Lamb, Miss Dynamite, Morcheeba, Oasis, Prodigy, Rankin, Radiohead, Roykssop, U2 and The Bees.  Griffin has a niche but loyal following, which return season after season, inspiring Griffin to continue to deliver and shock with what’s new and surprise with what is coming next. This gives a platform to bring brand heat to collaborations.
Griffin is a company that designs with fresh ideas and new technologies but also tries to live the life of self-sufficiency and producing locally. Due to this integral mix Griffin still does some of it’s manufacturing in Italy because of their extensive skill and quality. The manufacturers background in jackets and outerwear allows Griffin to produce the technical aspect the brand is known for. Their techniques in seam bonding and laser cutting allows Griffin to create technical sportswear that incorporates the brand’s heritage and military influences. Along with the manufacturers in Italy Griffin supports local production wherever it can and currently uses British mills such as Fox Brothers, along with high quality Italian mills.
Loveland farm is growing and evolving. There are new plans to create a community for campers and ‘glampers’ alike. With the success of the eco pod, more will be installed, each with their own unique twist as well as being set out to create community that will encourage more sustainable attitudes in future. There are also renovation plans at Loveland to expand Griffin into a brand new studio space, using a previously neglected outbuilding on the farm. Griffin intends to increase it’s eco friendly awareness with regards to all aspects of the businesses. The future is looking green.
“Small is beautiful you can interact with your customer more. We have some great relationships, our quality is better than it has ever been and our manufacturing is absolutely fantastic. I think in a way the brand could’ve grown a lot bigger but then we would’ve had to of sold out to the big corporate guys, so in a way I think we have achieved everything and probably more than we set out to do. “ – Jeff Griffin

Griffin is known for its camouflage and military inspirations that are in no way intended to support war; in fact Griffin supports peace and love (just check out the logo).  Griffin is a real brand with something to say. It is quality and a mixture of modern classic and heritage. Griffin combines fashion, street and sports for a modern lifestyle and a greener future. The current collection epitomises this vision and has referenced the best of the past collections. (A peek into the life of Jeff Griffin)

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