Interview: James Barshall - Penfield CEO

Interview: James Barshall - Penfield CEO
Interview: James Barshall - Penfield CEO
Interview: James Barshall - Penfield CEO
Interview: James Barshall - Penfield CEO
Interview: James Barshall - Penfield CEO
Interview: James Barshall - Penfield CEO
Interview: James Barshall - Penfield CEO
Interview: James Barshall - Penfield CEO
Interview: James Barshall - Penfield CEO

Interview: James Barshall - Penfield CEO

What prompted you to launch a collection for kids? Parents who themselves have been loyal to Penfield for years, have been asking us to make jackets to keep their kids warm for a long time now, it's something we've been wanting to do and we feel it is a great time for us to launch the Penfield Kids range as part of a natural extension to the collection. How would you describe the Penfield 'New England'™ aesthetic? ˜For Life in the Open,™ is what Penfield is and always has been about, be that on the trails of the Appalachians or the streets of Boston, or anywhere else in the world. But it'™s also about a fusion of function and fashion - it'™s important for us to make products that are truly functional but that also look great and are comfortable to wear. Talk us through the design process,“ how did the kids collection take shape, from initial concepts through to construction? From the start we were keen to ensure that the Penfield Kids collection reflects the classics from the Penfield mainline collection so the aesthetic, key styles and materials were of course strongly influenced by our FW14 adult line and will continue to reflect the seasonal adult collections going forward. In terms of the specific styles featured in the Kids range, our selection was on the one hand influenced by the classic silhouettes which Penfield is known for, and, on the other, by the styles that would be the most comfortable and versatile for the kids, such as the Outback and the Kasson jackets both of which are classic Penfield styles. Penfield Kids incorporates the same technical elements as the Penfield mainline collections,“ why is this important to you and how has this affected your design process? With Kids the protection and comfort elements are really of absolute importance. So applying the technical innovations and detailing to the Kids line was incredibly important to us in making sure the garments provide protection whilst remaining comfortable, looking stylish and featuring all the technical detail that is absolutely essential in childrenswear. While the design process was similar to the mainline from an aesthetic point of view, we really started from the beginning for Kids with the actual construction to achieve the highest level of quality and comfort with each individual piece. Where do you gather inspiration from? I definitely find the most inspiration from my travels and seeing how people put looks together in different parts of the world. What is your favourite piece from the Kid'™s collection and why? If a single one does need to be picked then the Hoosac down parka. It'™s one of our most classic styles in the adult collection and I think both grown-ups and kids find it well-fitting and comfortable as well as protective. It embodies what Penfield stand for in design and product execution. What do you enjoy most about what you do? I love the collaborative creative process of working with a very talented and committed team of people. Working with them to bring our ideas to reality is very rewarding. The Penfield Kids collection draws inspiration from the brand'™s most iconic styles such as the Hoosac, Bowerbridge, Kasson, Outback and more - how have these been adapted for children? While the fit and aesthetic is the same as the Penfield mainline collection, the construction of the Kids garments has been adapted to reflect the difference in physique and thus increase comfort and ease of movement. Safety elements in details such as fastenings have also been adapted accordingly. Penfield has maintained a huge following for almost forty years, what is it about your collections that you think speaks so strongly to people? I think our 'Strength, Utility, Durability'™ promise really says it all. We continue to take this as seriously as we do in offering beautiful and classic designs. What can we look forward to from Penfield in the future? We will continue to focus on incorporating new technical innovations and detailing and while we are confident in the brand aesthetic and believe in its longevity, we will also be further developing original prints and unique colors, ensuring loyal and new customers alike can rely on our garments to carry them through seasons and to compliment their own personal style. In the near future there are some very exciting collaborations coming up in the FW14 season mainline collection and further as part of our 40th anniversary celebrations in 2015. Any interesting customer stories? One of the things we're proud of is that our customers feel free to communicate with us directly and share their feedback and experiences wearing the product. So there are always individual stories coming through that we really appreciate hearing. A customer contacted us with their story after they were involved in a car crash. When the airbags deployed her hand was burnt by the acid, but the rest of her body (most importantly, the neck) was protected by her Penfield jacket, which she had zipped all the way up, and as such she escaped with only minor injuries. Best piece of advice received "Characterise people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words."