Each quarter, we chat to some of the industry’s leading talent. From established influencers to that new hidden talent, we arrange a little tête-à-tête to suss them out.
Suppliers get left out of the picture all too often, but the Greig & Greig Partnership plays a major role in achieving Socky’s mission of sourcing and delivering the very finest socks to its members wherever they are in the world. So, this quarter, we caught up with Maurice…
By Nathalie Thery.
I had only met Maurice once before, though was greeted upon my return to his charming Chelsea studio with the warmest of smiles and a great fuss over whether I would prefer tea or coffee. I had dropped by to interview Maurice about his deep experience of the luxury retail industry and came prepped with notes and questions. Instead, I got a friendly conversation, and a delightfully insightful one too.
As a boy, Maurice attended an English school in Rome before moving to Dundee to study for his masters degree in Civil Engineering and Economics. As happens to many of us, young and unsure of what we wanted to do, he soon realised it wasn’t the life for him (one presumes he refers to both Civil Engineering and Dundee here). And all the better for us too, as after working for brands like Jaeger, Dunhill, Laura Ashley and Dawson International, Maurice went on to establish The Greig & Greig Partnership with his brother in ’94, Casa Italia in ’98 and Hardy & Parsons in ’02
The Greig & Greig Partnership is dedicated to introducing new niche brands and products into the UK, Italy and Ireland as well as into key markets, such as Japan, France, Germany and the US. Maurice focused initially on the UK and Irish markets for Italian companies whilst his brother Robert, who is based in Milan, concentrated on the Italian market for British and Irish brands. Today The Greig & Greig Partnership’s UK operation represents a port-folio of brands from the USA and UK as well as Italy.
I started picking his brain to find out what makes him tick, and he pressed on the importance of good craftsmanship and quality control. Hardy & Parsons make superbly crafted belts and leather goods using the best English vegetable-dyed bridle-butt leather with solid brass, nickel, pewter or alloy fittings. Every item he makes is carefully inspected and no item ever goes out if it isn’t perfect.
He says mass-production “takes the waiting out of wanting” and throws quality control out the window, but he is beginning to see a shift in the industry and a return to customers demanding quality over convenience. The online mar-ket place is one cause of this shift, though more important is an ideological change in how we perceive industrialisation. “We are in the era to watch the rise of bespoke fashions.
”Our conversation leads to socks (of course), and for Maurice comfort is paramount. “Long socks are the only way to go”, he says emphatically, “they hold up, don’t gather at the ankles and keep hairy legs hidden from view”. He feels there is a need to educate people about long socks, and we couldn’t agree more!
I left the studio chuckling at Maurice’s stories of his beloved bell-bottoms in the sixties, of an incident involving Cary Grant in the Jaeger store many years ago and about his iconic quick release belt. I couldn’t implore you more to make the trip and hear for yourself.