People & Product - Chris Chasseaud - Malloch's Knitwear

Posted by Crown Northampton on

As part of our ongoing people and product series, we sat down with Chris Chasseaud, the man behind premium British knitwear brand, Malloch's. With a strong focus on working with British manufacturers to spotlight their craft and skills we love how Malloch's closely aligns with our own approach to business here at Crown Northampton. Starting small and growing organically, the brand has secured its place amongst what we consider to be the best of British. Read on to discover his motivations behind starting the brand and his general approach to the day to day.

 

Chris chose the Woodford Desert Boot as his standout favourite for this people and product feature. Perfect for both casual and formal wear, Chris is pictured here in our Sand Janus Calf suede with toffee soles.

 

So Chris….we’ve been meaning to get together for quite some time, pleased the stars have finally aligned and we have managed to carve out some time in our busy schedules to catch up.

Thanks for inviting us down to your place in central London; we’re in late summer, early Autumn and the knitwear is about to come out for the year. With that, we wanted to get your view on the state of affairs when it comes to all things brand and knitwear. Here’s a few questions to kick us off that hopefully will give our readers a bit of an insight into you as a person and Malloch's the brand…

Let’s start with you personally, what’s your background? Has it always been about knitwear?

I’m from a graphic design background – I studied at Goldsmith’s which was very art centric so my design practices and learning were very open. However, I always veered towards graphics and visual communication. Around 2012, I started getting more into fashion, contributing to blogs and magazines and going to men’s fashion weeks in London, Milan and Paris. I then got thrown into the deep end; helping co-found and launch a fashion brand with a friend of mine. That’s where I learnt everything from sampling, fabrics and trims, manufacturing and production, marketing and sales. We had a few Japanese stockists like Beams and Isetan, so it was quite a new and exciting experience.

Unfortunately I got burnt out from the experience and took some time off before being head hunted to be the brand manager for a fashion brand. Throughout that time I still did graphic design on the side and have been getting back into that more and more the past few years – running alongside Malloch’s launch and slow growth.

What was your first foray into the knitwear business? Was it an emotional connection with a super soft and cosy jumper that you slipped on as a child? Or perhaps you remember the feel of a parents jumper during a soft embrace? Or… do you just like a nice knit?

After my time working for other fashion brands, I felt like I wanted to do my own brand – and being excited, I wanted to do a full-look brand with everything. I quickly told myself to calm down and start with one main product category, choosing knitwear as my main focus. I do like knitwear, and my love for it has grown. I remember my dad and grandad wearing very classic styles which made an impression on me, but I always appreciated style. 

It’s a simple one - favourite piece of knitwear?

Simple question, but a tough one to answer. I’d have to say a chunky roll neck – the Malloch’s Newman Roll Neck. It’s cosy, comfortable, and the roll neck adds that extra layer.

 

Chris pictured here wearing our Off-White Veg Tan Harlestones in his home workspace where he heads up all things Malloch’s.

 

With Malloch's, you pretty much do everything yourself, is there any area of the business that you particularly enjoy more than another?

Yes, I do most of it – apart from the actual knitting. Although I’m keen to get an industrial knitting machine so I can start making my own samples and pieces. That will be going a lot deeper into the whole business and process. I probably enjoy the photoshoot side of things most; planning shoots and being there on the day; working with photographers and models.

It’s also exciting planning new pieces or choosing new colours, imagining the response of customers once they’re released and how the garments become part of people's style and wardrobe. I’m a real believer in complementing rather than competing with other brands, as the customer can always choose what works for them, but they shop around and build their own style and taste. 

If there’s one thing you’ve learnt on your journey with Malloch's as a brand, perhaps a single nugget of wisdom you’d share, what would it be?

I’ve learnt a fair few things before Malloch’s, as well as during my time with Malloch’s. I’m actually quite passionate about hearing people’s business ideas and always try to encourage them to do it, or at least start, so you don’t end up with any regret. I’ve learnt that in this world you need to put budget aside for marketing, so that’s one thing I’d go back in time to tell myself actually; “make sure you put enough cash toward marketing”. I didn’t back then, it was all product focus and I’ve been growing organically since.

Okay enough of the reflection now, how about the future.

What’s in store for Malloch's customers? Any new products on the horizon? Any brand collabs we should look out for?

I have a few things in mind – but can’t quite say anything yet as they’re only ideas and need work on them. Collaborations are on the cards as I’d love to work with British brands / manufacturers to champion their craftsmanship. Although I’ve always wanted to expand Malloch’s into other product categories such as outerwear and denim (I love both, and have first-hand experience working in those areas). But the reality is that might be a few years down the line. 

In terms of new products, I have some nice new scarves this season actually which I’m excited about. They’re a merino/cashmere blend. Plus, the long awaited arrival of our Robert Knitted Overshirt. Plus a new all-round season jumper called the Preston.

 

Right, I think we’ve grilled you enough for one blog. Thanks again for having us down and taking the time, we’re big fans of Malloch's here at Crown and some of the team are often found enjoying a cosy knit from your collections! We’re especially enjoying the new colours in the shaggy dog shetland jumpers and I think Ben from our marketing team has his eyes on a knitted overshirt. Best of luck with everything in the future and we hope you enjoy your Crown Northampton Woodford Desert Boots.

For our readers out there, if you’re looking for a seasonally appropriate garment to ward off the winter chills, check out the Malloch's website here. As ever we love to champion ‘Made In UK’ brands and we’ll be continuing the series for the foreseeable, if there’s a brand you think we should connect with then let us know and we’ll be sure to get right on it.

Don’t forget to sign up to the Crown Northampton newsletter at the bottom of the site to be updated on all things sneakers, future people & product features and much much more.

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