Perry Ellis International is the mother company of heritage label Farah. Since the UK team took over the reins in 2008, it has grown to encompass full collections across three different lines – Farah Vintage, Farah Classics and Farah 1920. It has come a long way indeed, and is no longer celebrated for its hopsack trousers alone. Interview by Emma Holmqvist Deacon

Farah has grown tenfold since 2008 and has managed to successfully reach a younger consumer group. What strategies are behind the success?

A well executed repositioning plan is at the heart of the achievements. I’d give full credit to the Farah team in the UK, where the brand has been based since 2008.  The brand’s commercial director Mark McCann, James Pearce Roberts (head of product development), and Mia Zackrisson (head of head marketing) have done a brilliant job communicating Farah’s intriguing history and current values to our target consumers – not only through great product, but via means of digital platforms and various kind of events, such as the Farah Fridays gig nights held at London’s Roundhouse during August this year.

Who is the Farah customer, and how has he changed, if at all, in the past few years?

Farah encompasses three lines, and each one has a different target consumer, particularly so in terms of age. Farah Vintage is designed with a young, trend conscious man in mind, while the 1920s range targets the 25-35 plus age group. Farah Classics, meanwhile, caters to a more mature and traditional consumer. However, mature men don’t dress as conservatively as they used to in the past. As a response to these changes, we’ve altered the offer of our Classics range by introducing denim and adding a wider range of tops, for example. I’d still say that Farah consumers, young or old, all seek accessible fashion with a certain twist to it.

Farah Vintage Sunmer 2014
Farah Vintage Sunmer 2014
Farah Vintage has been particularly well received in the UK at key retailers/etailers such as Asos and Urban Outfitters. What defines the range?

Farah Vintage has carved a niche for itself as a fashionable, unique and yet affordable line to which consumers return every season to find pieces featuring distinctive, in-house designed prints and interesting detailing. The collection keeps growing, and for SS14, we’ve introduced a line of accessories that encompasses items such as backpacks, wallets, belts and wash bags. We tend to produce the collections – both Farah Vintage, 1920 and Classics– as close to home as possible. We currently source in Portugal, Turkey and Eastern Europe, and to some degree the Far East. Next step will be “Made in Britain”.

Wholesale is your key focus at the moment – will this continue to be the case or might retail play a bigger part in the future?

We’d love to open a flagship Farah store in the UK to complement our London Boxpark shop, but we haven’t found the ideal location yet. We are not going to rush and open a store  for the sake of it – we have to find the right store space first–preferably somewhere in Shoreditch or Spitalfields as these areas correspond well to the brand values.

You're due to launch a Farah e-commerce platform in October. What specific features will it encompass?

We’ll use it as a means to communicate with Farah’s younger consumers, who are all very digitally savvy and virtually live online. There’ll be a blog and a brand timeline as well as a hub for Citizens of Farah, our social media strategy that we launched a little over a year ago in a bid to inspire and help young people to realise their potential. As for the web store stock, all Farah lines will be available and we’ll also release web exclusives regularly.