Ledbury, the Richmond, Virginia, clothing brand best known for its exceptionally well-crafted shirts, is in expansion mode. Founders Paul Trible and Paul Watson, who met while in graduate school at Oxford – and apprenticing with one of London’s well-known tailors. They were committed to creating an American tailored clothing brand with Saville Row quality, geared toward modern, discerning customers. Located in a renovated tobacco warehouse built in 1866, Ledbury’s home base appropriately atmospheric and refined; it’s grounded in the past but re-imagined for today’s world.
Ledbury’s shirts are great-fitting, high-quality and can be worn in almost any setting and, as they like to say, “by any generation.” The company’s collections are influenced by the studied tailoring of English tradition as well as the relaxed atmosphere of the founders’ Southeast U.S. roots.
Fabrics are sourced from Italian mills and all of their shirts are made in one small factory that has refined its craftsmanship through generations. This focus on quality, comfort, and relaxed yet refined style shows through in the product. There are a few features that make Ledbury shirts unique. The fabrics are substantial but not heavy and possess a distinct drape and hand. Details like thick mother-of-pearl buttons and specially sewn collars that hold their shape tie or not, all combine to create a great design. The shirt’s second button is dropped just enough to create a flattering “V” when worn without a tie.
Ledbury also offers a range of tailored blazers, sweaters, and accessories that compliment their signature shirting. For example, the crew neck sweaters have necks designed to be worn over a collared shirt and allow for a more comfortable and attractive fit. The distinctive Free Union Belt is another Ledbury item that has received a fair amount of attention. It’s clever quick release lever, combined with a refined rustic aesthetic makes for a unique and locally hand made heirloom.
OTC stopped by their Richmond headquarters over the summer to check out the new retail space as well as their operations and design center. Some of the items in these photos will be past season – like the swim trunks – but whatever Ledbury puts out, rest assured that it is bound to carry their signature American classic/elegant/casual style.
This is a smart company that is managing its growth and capital wisely; it’s got two businessmen at the helm after all. So, when you combine smarts with a passion for a new sense of what American sportswear (in the traditional sense) means, the result is a brand that has some real potential. And the Pauls are managing that potential in a way that slowly builds a brand focused on reputation and product – not hype or trends.
We see Ledbury as a transitional company that is part of a movement that is redefining American style for a global audience. And that doesn’t just mean customers in other countries, although we are not surprised that the Japanese love Ledbury. Americans who look to brands like Ledbury for design and quality also like them because they take what is best about American heritage and blend it with things like English construction and detail and Italian fabrics and fit. They play with the basics to evolve clothing and design in a way that meets consumer desire and also retains classic elements.
The Ledburys of today’s menswear resurgence make what makes American style, better.