The tradition of Simpson garment retail began with the establishment of a bespoke tailoring company in Whitechapel, by Simeon Simpson in 1894. The association of Simpson’s with the trademark ‘DAKS’ (combining ‘Slacks’ and ‘Dad’) only began in c.1934, when Simeon’s son, Alec Simpson, took over the company and created the new brand name for an innovative ready-to-wear tailored menswear range. Alec also invented and patented a new ‘self-supporting’ waistband and added womenswear to his clothing range, particularly the popular adapted men’s slacks. He vastly raised and developed the company’s profile through advertising and creating a prominent new retail outlet.
Simpson’s became known as one of the premier Piccadilly retail outlets for quality ready-to-wear tailoring, sports and travelwear and designer clothing, with exceptional after-sales service (for repairs and alterations). In the late 1960s, a hip DAKS range was designed by Eric Stemp. It gained royal warrants from the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen and the Prince of Wales in 1956, 1962 and 1983.
A distinctive tweed house check was introduced in 1976 and is still a strong part of the DAKS brand.
The company decided to abandon its historic home in favour of updating its image and concentrating on the DAKS brand; in 1999 the Simpson building became instead a glamorous flagship store for Waterstones the booksellers.
‘Simpson Piccadilly’ is still a current brand name, but is subsidiary to the higher profile DAKS name (for which the Simpson company has also been renamed), under which smaller luxury outlets are still developed around the world. The modern DAKS flagship store was opened on Bond Street in 2000.
See Also: DAKS
Written by vintage-voyager.com
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