Freddies of Pinewood
- Vintage style outerwear for that uber-glamorous shapely
look, with comfort and affordability thrown in!
Digger talked to Phil Whyte at Freddies of Pinewood who have a big
reputation in the vintage world for their good-looking and
hard-wearing reproduction authentic-look forties and fifties-style
clothing. So authentic and so popular, it's even worn in
Digger: What is your background Phil?
Phil: Both Jo (my wife) and I
have been on the 1950's Rock n Roll and Rockabilly scene since
the 1970's (I first got into it at the age of 11!). It isn't
a fashion for us, it is a total lifestyle; House,
furniture, cars motorcycles and, of course, clothes are all of
Digger: Can you please tell us how Freddie’s of Pinewood
started and evolved into what it is today?
Phil: It really started with my
wife having a vintage clothing stall in Camden market dealing
in 40's and 50's vintage. I then joined the business and we
opened a shop in Reading selling vintage clothing from the
40's to the 80's - this was called Rockaround. While we were
doing this we started having jeans and ladies trousers made
under the name "Freddies of Reading" - the name came from my
dog Freddie, the Pinewood came from one of his favourite walks
in the pine wood of Black Park! These were just a sideline,
with maybe 200 pairs a year being made. Like now, they were a
reproduction of original 50's women's jeans. We shut the shop
about 4 or 5 years back and have turned Freddies of Pinewood
into a world wide brand of repro (definitely NOT retro !)
casual clothing of the 40's and 50's.
Digger: This retro and classic forties and fifties look is so
enduring. Why is that?
Phil: Being into it for so
long we have seen it go in and out of "mainstream fashion"
every couple of years. I can't really say why it has been
enduring , as I am biased - I don't really like any other
fashion ! I'm just glad that it is!
Digger: Please tell us more about how you make and source the
jeans and clothes you have on offer.
Phil: We use original clothing
as our patterns - with the tops I take the original garment
and make a pattern from it. Jo sources the fabrics and we then
either make a sample ourselves or have a sample made, then we
go into production. Our tops and our motorcycle hats are made
in the UK. Our jeans are reproductions of originals again, but
are made in Turkey. We strive to get as close to the originals
as possible - these are reproductions of clothing that was
designed by the unsung heroes of mass production clothing of
40's and 50's. Most, but not all, of our designs are American
- they had the best clothing then as they did not have
rationing in the 50's.
Digger: Why do you think generally retro, vintage and
nostalgia is so popular with so many people these days?
I'm really the wrong person to ask as it is all that I have liked!
Digger: Who are your ‘typical’ customers, where are your
customers coming from and what customer feedback/comments do
Phil: Hard to say, I suppose
our core customers are on the rock 'n roll/rockabilly scene,
but our stuff appeals to a much bigger audience - no-one else
makes women's jeans like us. They are very flattering (muffin top eliminators!) and our men's jeans are the classic
work wear style of the period. Even Hollywood "A-Lister" Anne
Hathaway wears our jeans!
Customer feedback is great, we
get a lot of "I have never owned a pair of jeans that fit me
so well....." etc. etc.
Digger: What are your personal retro passions Phil?
Phil: Music (especially Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps), clothing, cars,
motorbikes, furniture, architecture - is there anything else?!!!
Digger: What would you say is special about the products and
service Freddie’s of Pinewood provides?
Phil: We make good quality
reproductions of original clothing that are affordable and can
be worn day in, day out. We aim to send out orders the same or
the next day. Some of the other repro and some of the retro
clothing brands have tried copying us, but so far they haven't
been able to touch us either in price or quality.
Digger: What are the best and most enjoyable aspects of
running Freddie’s of Pinewood?
Phil: Meeting our customers is
great, especially when you see how pleased they are with their
jeans. You can't beat working for yourself in a business that
you love. Now and again it can be stressful, but then I just
remind myself that I could be back working in the building
industry as a carpenter and joiner (that is what I did my
apprenticeship in.) Much as I love my trade, I hate the
building industry. Luckily I have been able to use my training
in this business - making patterns and making samples, it's
the same thing, just working with different materials!
Digger: What are your plans for the Freddie’s of Pinewood
business in the future?
Phil: We aim to get bigger and
better! We are constantly bringing out new designs and we are
also concentrating on getting our brand out to a wider
Freddies of Pinewood
Vintage style outerwear for that uber-glamorous shapely look,
with comfort and affordability thrown in!
Men's Jeans, Men's Tops, Men's Shirts, Ladies' Tops,
Ladies' Jeans, Accessories, Ladies' Jackets, 1940s Lounge Pants, Capri
Pants, Motorcycle Caps, Women's Clothes, Accessories
Our jeans are made from proper,100% cotton, washable denim, with NO stretch,
just like the original 1940's and 1950's jeans. You can wear them day in and
day out without worrying that you will ruin them, unlike your vintage jeans!
Mission: To provide fashion conscious, shapely women with stylish
jeans and tops that encourage confidence and fun.
Company Overview: Small family business based just outside London in the UK,
with fast growing international customer base and loyalty.
Hours are 9am to 6pm