Yorkshire menswear company Brook Taverner sticks to its roots while reaching out across the world

What makes a great Yorkshire brand? Ahead of Yorkshire Day, Jason Scott, owner of 110-year old Keighley-based tailors Brook Taverner, tells Stephanie Smith how the brand has managed to go from strength to strength.

From its Keighley home, Brook Taverner extends its tailoring heritage and expertise across the globe, yet it remains proudly Yorkshire. “A great Yorkshire brand means sticking to your roots,” says owner and managing director Jason Scott.

“There is certainly a sense of togetherness in the Yorkshire community which you don’t particularly see anywhere else, and this creates an immense sense of loyalty – whether that be with our customers, our staff, our suppliers or with fellow local businesses. It’s this togetherness which makes Yorkshire a special place to operate.”

The Brook Taverner story does not begin in Yorkshire, however. It begins on a boat to Kolkata, then called Calcutta, when, in 1912, Frank Brook met Walter Taverner, and they decided to go into business together.

Brook Taverner summer collection: Pink woven polo, now £29.95 for four for £90.

First they sold buttons to tailors, then added linings and cloth to their range. The company flourished and between the wars built up one of the largest stocks of menswear fabrics in the country.

In 1967, with traditional tailors’ shops disappearing, a cut, make and trim service was introduced, followed, five years later, by a ready-to-wear range. In 2006, it launched its own customer web and mail order business, www.brooktaverner.co.uk, taking the brand on to a new level. Meanwhile, corporate operations also went from strength to strength, with Brook Taverner now Europe’s largest corporate tailoring supplier (that website is www.brooktaverner.com). It also supplies fabrics to tailors from Yorkshire to Savile Row, South Africa to America (yet another website, www.brooktavernercloth.com) and has around a dozen manufacturing factories across the world.

Jason Scott bought the company with Ben Jones and Andrew Booth in 2004. “Both Brook Taverner and myself are Yorkshire born and bred,” he says.

The key to keeping the business relevant and healthy is listening to customers (he gets plenty of emails from them), and he pays credit to Brook Taverner’s staff, from sales executives to shop teams, feeding back what customers want to see.

Brook Taverner Borve Harris Tweed nehru collar gilet, £169, available now.

“We believe that you can’t find what we do anywhere else – so it is vital that we constantly stay ahead of the curve,” he says.

The pandemic saw a shift from formal towards casualwear. “Demand focused on clothes to wear around the home rather than out and about and, as was well documented, comfort was key.

“Since we moved out of lockdown, however, we have seen an overwhelming return of formal attire. Plenty of other companies have declared that they are reducing their suit and jacket offerings, whereas we are expanding our ranges in order to cope with demand.”

There has been a rise in customers wanting something different. “Those who previously wore plain now want semi-plain – which might include a feature lining or a subtle pattern,” Jason says. “We have seen a new lease of life in our customers, something that is hardly surprising after being cooped up at home for so long.

This shirt is part of the AW22 collection, which launches in September.

“The key to being a great menswear company is trying to offer something for everyone. We are all different, and with so many shapes, sizes, tastes and styles, people very rarely want the same thing. It is vital to provide a varied product to allow everyone to express themselves as they see fit.

“The trend now seems to be that wardrobes need to be more varied than ever before. Of course, working from home more casual attire may be needed, but there is now a need for garments to be easily dressed down, or dressed up, according to the occasion.”

The autumn collection launches in mid-September. “Our cord jacket and trouser combo is something I’m personally very excited for, as well as an increased shirt range which includes everything from blanket overshirts to alpine festive scenes,” Jason says.

Brook Taverner went into standalone shops a few years ago, beginning in Scotland, where success suggested potential for more, and 2019 saw the opening of its first stand-alone English shops in Beverley and Northallerton, following market research into retail locations.

Tropical print short sleeve shirt, £39.95 or four for £110; Brook Taverner Avebury jacket, £129; some trousers now two for £70 in sale at brooktaverner.co.uk.

There are now nine stores, including Ballater, Perth, Inverness, Stamford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Cirencester and Bury St Edmunds, with Windsor opening in late September. Jason says: “We are incredibly happy with the performance of our stores and the feedback we receive from locals is that we fill a gap in the market. By the end of September, we will have raised the number of high street stores to 10, and we’re hoping this number continues to grow in the near future.”

But Yorkshire is home. “There is nothing quite comparable to the Yorkshire spirit and the kind nature of the local people. A large percentage of our workforce grew up in the county and build into our ethos of helping each other and the local community.”

brooktaverner.co.uk

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Yorkshire Vet Peter Wright, right, with Northallerton store manager Phil Atkinson.
Ryan Sidebottom wearing Brook Taverner on the catwalk at the Great Yorkshire Show Fashion Show in 2019.
Scott hooded sweatshirt, £69 or two for £130, summer collection, available now. The Summer shoot took place in Faro, Portugal.
This rust-toned jacket and trousers are from the AW22 collection, which will be released in September. The shoot took place in Deauville, France.
Brook Taverner Haincliffe Blue with Red and Caramel overcheck tweed three piece suit, £350, current collection.