The legendary musician, guitar hero, and co-owner, Eric Clapton explains his love for the long-established country clothing retailer Cordings of Piccadilly, London and his mission to preserve British heritage.
For the BBC British Style Genius TV program, Clapton had his interview and he said:
“I became aware of Cordings. I think when I was in my mid-teens. I come from the country, and the highlight of our week would be to come up to London and listen to guitar players and musicians, and it was difficult to get home. I’d spend that time till dawn just walking the West End and I remember Cordings. It stuck in my mind as a place of tradition, part of the heritage of England,” he said.
“I went off on my life, traveling around the world playing guitar but every now and then I would look in the window at Cordings. One day, I saw this suit. It was a sort of a moss green herringbone tweed suit, three-piece, and I thought, God, that’s beautiful, it was just the most exquisitely cut jacket,” he added.
“I had to pluck up the courage to come in! I don’t know what that’s about, but, perhaps its something to do with the fact that I’ve always considered myself a working-class country boy and this, in a way was like entering a gentlemen’s club. I felt that I really wasn’t entitled to come in here. So, I came very shyly and tried it on and it was immaculate, it was stormproof and solid. I mean it was like wearing a green wooden suit!”
“From then on I visited Cordings every week. My favorite tweed jacket is the 21oz over a check. I just feel like I’ve come to a kind of home in terms of what clothing I need to be in the country.”
When Noll Uloth, now the MD of Cordings, was looking for someone to invest in the company in 2003, he felt that Eric Clapton was an obvious choice. He explains: “Cordings was struggling, the previous owners had tried to make the brand fashionable and it had lost its identity. I was searching for someone who had the same love of Cordings and understood that it was a unique part of London’s heritage. I didn’t want it to get swallowed up by a big company, and lost its individuality,” he said.
Uloth asked Clapton if he could have fifteen minutes of his time to pitch his proposal on a management buyout. The answer was yes.
Three minutes into the carefully prepared presentation, Clapton interrupted to say that he would happily support the buyout, such was his enthusiasm for Cordings. Famously Clapton never heard the rest, he once said he selfishly only preserved it so he could continue shopping there. But his involvement with Cordings has been ongoing and his enthusiasm for it tangible.