Good morning Alex. Please tell us about the background to
Nakal Clothing and how and why you formed this
I set it up with a friend in Indonesia. We were
travelling together and decided to get a suit made. We
were going to get a normal coloured suit and we got to
the tailors and we thought "Hang on let’s go crazy and
get some bright colours." (Digger laughs)
Was this someone you know in Indonesia or were your
travelling with them from the UK?
We’re both surfers and came across this material and
said “Right, we’re going to get some bright green
suits made.” So we got them made and started walking
around and looking quite cool and people were looking at
And asking you where you got them from?
Yes, exactly, and actually an Indonesian person came up
to us and said “Ah. You’re very ‘Nakal.” and we
said “What does Nakal mean?” And they said
“You’re very cheeky.”
Ah! So that’s what it means.
Yes, and so we decided to buy twenty suits and bring
them back in our luggage into the UK.
(Laughs) "Anything to declare?"
A bit dodgy, but we brought them back and sold twenty
suits within a week and we knew we were onto something.
It’s great when things fly that like that, isn’t it?
Yes, it really is. So we set up our website and gave it
a go at selling online and it really worked.
That is a genuine wedding party photo on your site, is
Yes, that’s a real wedding.
(Laughs) Sponsored by Nakal. Can you tell us a bit about
the services you provide?
We sell bright coloured, animal print and
flag-emblazoned suits, jackets and waistcoats. We get
our suits made-to-measure on our website.
And you turn it round in, what, a couple of weeks?
Yes, two to three weeks.
Is that worldwide, UK?...
It’s just in the UK at the moment but hopefully we are
going to move over to other places pretty soon.
I would imagine that as people find out about it
there’ll be a huge market for it because we’re such
Yes, exactly. That’s why we’re doing it really. The
other thing we can do is custom design suits. So if
someone comes to us and says “We want a suit made with
half yellow, half red", we can do that too. We are going
more and more into custom design.
I’m thinking also about these people who go on stags
and events abroad – whenever I’m in a European city
I always see a group of Brits dressed in identical fancy
dress or T-Shirts. I’m thinking you could extend that
so they’re dressed smartly.
Yes, that’s one of our aims.
Why is retro and nostalgia so perennially popular?
Alex: I guess it’s people trying to reconnect to their
youth in some ways. I guess we’re always looking back
Digger: But sometimes you’ve got youngsters, like
yourself if you don’t mind me saying so, who
couldn’t have experienced the sixties or the seventies
first-hand. Why are they fascinated by retro?
Alex: It’s funny. I guess it’s just something that
seems different to what we wear now and I sometimes
wonder if we will be looking back in twenty years at the
clothes we wear these days and wearing them as
Digger: (Laughs) I won’t that’s for sure! It seems
as though we never appreciate the present as much as the
past and things always seems better looking back.
Digger: What sort of feedback do you get about your
products from customers?
Alex: Well, normally our good customers give us repeat
orders – they normally start off with something quite
modest like a bright blue suit and then they get a bit
of confidence and think “Let’s give a tiger suit a
go.” And then they go for a fluorescent green or
something like that.
Digger: Sounds addictive! Do you get people who are working in banks or
traditional business people who are doing this as well?
Alex: Yes. Professional people are a group we target a
Digger: It's great and I wish you’d been around
when I was working in an office. The only way I used to
have to display a bit of individuality was through my
ties. It must be great if you turn up to work in a
leopard spotted suit because they can’t say anything,
can they? The company protocol dictates merely that you wear a
Alex: Yes. I know and some of them do it as an office
joke which is quite funny. My father works in insurance
and he went into a board meeting wearing a zebra striped
Digger: What would have been even funnier was if nobody
mentioned it or reacted at all.
Alex: Yes. It went down really well, he said.
Digger: The suits come in amazing designs and colours.
What are the most unusual and outrageous of these?
Alex: I reckon our most outrageous design is the pink
zebra stripes. It takes a pretty brave person to pull
Digger: It is about attitude really because one person
could wear something and look ridiculous because they were
feeling self-conscious. Whereas someone with a lot of
confidence could look really cool and impressive, not to
say cheeky. As Eddie Izzard pointed out, there’s a
circle of cool and the line between total nerd and
really cool is very close and you have to go the long
way round to pull it off.
Alex: Yes. And it takes a lot of confidence to first
wear one of our suits but obviously I’ve got used to
it now and I’m quite an out there person. Sometimes we
go out and about around London wearing our suits and
people look out of windows and so on and you think “Oh
God, everyone’s looking at me.” But as the day
goes on you tend to forget you’re wearing it.
Digger: Quite a challenge for your partner I suppose?
Digger: What are the most enjoyable aspects of what you
Alex: Probably just having all the suits to wear – I
have twenty here.
Digger: And also being a young entrepreneur?
Alex: Yes, and being able to do this alongside my
studies. That helps a lot. Being a student is quite
Digger: What are you studying?
Alex: Business management.
Digger: Okay, so that’s quite appropriate then?
Alex: Yes, it works very well alongside the business.
Digger: Does that include marketing as well as
accounting and so on?
Alex: Yes, marketing and a bit of everything really.
Digger: Who are your typical customers?
Alex: We sell to all sorts of people really – stag
parties are our biggest market at the moment, we’ve
done bands and entertainers. We target students a bit,
young professionals and weddings.
Digger: Funnily enough, several of those that you
mentioned would have been my guess as relevant targets
for these suits. That’s good.
Digger: What plans do you have for the future of Nakal
Alex: In the near future we’re going to be setting up
an accessories page on our website. We’re going to
start doing bright coloured ties, cummerbunds, that sort
Digger: Braces and cufflinks?
Alex: Yes, braces, cufflinks – slowly developing into
those kinds of things and brightly coloured shoes,
shirts and hats perhaps. Belts as well.
Digger: Sounds great. All your bright and outrageous
clothing and accessories in one place.
Alex: So we’re going to be doing that and I’ve also
got some ideas which won’t be quite as outrageous –
jumpers and that sort of thing.
Digger: It’s a great idea, Alex, and it’s definitely
going to fly. I do wish you the best of luck with it and
with your studies.
Alex: Thank you.
Digger: How long have you been going for now?
Alex: About a year and a half.
Digger: I suppose your main focus is your studies?
Alex: Yes, it’s meant to be. I am mainly focusing on the
Digger: Yes, but I guess that this is the best sort of
course you can have with this practical experience
Alex: Definitely and it really helps with my studies.
Digger: Are the tutors noticing this?
Alex: They are. And actually one of my modules for this
year is called Business Enterprise where you’re meant
to write a business plan and set up a business but
obviously I had that already. I just said "Let me use my
business" and they did so along with that I’ve got six
people from my course working for me, for free
basically! So that’s pretty handy for me.
Digger: Thanks Alex. I wish everybody was as
straightforward to talk to as you and you obviously know
your stuff. Thank you for that and I love what you’re
doing so I really wish you well with it
Alex: That's good.
Digger: If only you’d been around when I was a
suited and booted person. I would have had a standing
order with you.
Alex: Thanks very much.
Digger: Thanks Alex. Take care.