The style-savvy chaps among you may already know Folk, most likely for its edgy knitwear and subtly directional menswear – especially as it’s available from Supra on Chamberlayne Road.
We pinned down founder, Glaswegian by way of Queen’s Park and now Kensal Rise, Cathal McAteer (below right) who set up Folk in 2001. His sister and fellow K-Rizer, Maggie McAteer runs the showroom Macandi.
What’s Folk and Shofolk all about?
Folk’s about making clean, honest understated garments with a meticulous eye for colour, fabric selection and design detail. We create simple everyday clothing with subtle, innovative and sometimes playful detailing.
Shofolk is designed by the same team and has the same ethos combining distinctive shapes with natural leathers to create functional yet stylish footwear. Production is limited to keep quality levels high with a nice byproduct being that their owners are unlikely to bump into someone wearing the same pair. Inspirations can’t be nailed down to specifics, ideas come from all over but mainly from what we see and hear each day in London. Shapes, colours and textures play a big part in what we do.’
A recent development was a store in Shoreditch, East London.
‘The Butcher, Matt (owner of Butcher of Distinction – the space where the new store is based) was a tad jaded with life as a retailer and his other projects were taking up his time. So we said if he ever wants to get shot [of the shop] we’d be happy to discuss it with him. That happened and it moved quite quickly after that. We got the shop and it’s a big old space, we’re really happy to be there.’
Next on Folk’s agenda is the opening of a ladies multi-brand store, also on Lamb’s Conduit Street, opening in August.
‘The street suits our DNA,’ said Cathal McAteer, said in an interview with the Telegraph magazine. In Cathal’s words, the streets are very unLondon, and sound more like this neighbourhood: ‘You say hello to everyone on it.’
The new shop will give them the chance to showcase the ladies footwear in full and to start developing ideas for a Folk ladies clothing collection.
Where’s it all made?
‘All over, due to the high design content in our clothes we are a bit of a headache for some suppliers. This has led us to search high and low for the right fabric mills and the right factories to make our designs to the required standards. We make alpaca knits in Peru, shirts in Portugal, jackets in Hong Kong, accessories in England, merino knitwear in Uruguay, wherever we have to go to find the best people that are experts in what they do and understand our vision.
Shofolk is made in a small family-owned factory in the heart of shoe-making country in North Portugal; it has 60 years experience in handcrafting shoes, and by combining this skill with leathers imported from Italy, our designs are brought to life.’
Folk is a casual menswear brand born in 2001 in London, Shofolk, the sister (and brother) footwear collection for men and women, followed in 2004. Cathal cut his fashion teeth at Glasgow boutique Ichi Ni San, eventually becoming involved in the merchandising side of the business. Originally only sold in Japan, Folk opened a shop on Lamb’s Conduit Street in 2007.