Ted Baker's Ray Kelvin: 'You never know when or where inspiration will strike'

"From a scrap of fabric found in Morocco to a pattern spotted in Peru, you never know when or where inspiration will strike"
"From a scrap of fabric found in Morocco to a pattern spotted in Peru, you never know when or where inspiration will strike"

Kelvin started out in the fashion business as a shirt specialist, having developed a love of clothing at an early age while working in a relative's menswear shop. The first Ted Baker store opened in Glasgow in 1988.

Ted does things differently

His personality is woven throughout everything we do. We don’t want to be ordinary or do what everyone else is doing. It’s the subtle embroidered details in the clothing, or funny little notes on the packaging. Everything that bears the Ted Baker name always offers absolute quality and just that little bit more.

It all comes down to our belief in making people smile; making fashion, and life in general, fun. It’s the unique and quirky viewpoint we’ve always had on fashion that’s kept our customers coming back. Whatever we do, we always ask ourselves… would Ted do it that way?

Retailing is an art

Ever since I can remember I’ve been interested in and involved with fashion in one way or another. I came across the art of retailing at an early age, working in my grandfather’s shop, where I learned everything from stocktaking to sales. Throughout my teenage years I developed my own style, and it was this passion for fashion that eventually led to the creation of Ted Baker.

Ted doesn’t advertise

We felt that not advertising was the right thing to do when Ted Baker took its first steps. We’ve chosen to stick to this philosophy as the business has grown through considered expansion of the collections and stores, and clever marketing techniques. We remain one of the only brands to be built into an international designer label without an advertising campaign. We believe that our stores are our advertising, and our customers and employees, in all of our locations around the world, are our ambassadors, singing the tune of Ted.

The customer is king (or queen)

 My mum taught me everything I needed to know about fashion, but the greatest lesson remains the simplest. We’ve listened to our customers for over 27 years, no matter where they are in the world, from New York to Azerbaijan. They are truly at the heart of everything we do.

Engage and entertain

We used to offer a free laundry service as a way of providing an engaging shopping experience and connecting with our customers in a personal way. Unfortunately, we no longer offer this service, but we still bring that same element of quirk and attention to detail to everything we do.

It’s all about passionate people

 Ted wouldn’t be where he is today without having employed the best people. We work hard, always striving to exceed expectations and continue to improve and progress. We always say it’s about doing better than we did the day before. But we also have a lot of fun, and I’d like to think that we always have that special glint in our eye.

History shows us that things keep changing

There have always been different things that sparked my interest. In the 60s, when I was growing up, it was the history of formalwear and gentlemen’s attire. The 70s and 80s were not my favourites for fashion and then we’ve seen huge leaps in both menswear and womenswear throughout the 90s and noughties to this day, with the types of products and influences that have shaped fashion. The richness of design in fashion now is incredible and we feel really strongly that our product deserves its well-regarded place in that history.

We continue to play with, update and reinterpret classic shapes and materials, as well as continually look at the ways in which detail, finishes and fabrications can enhance our collections. We don’t use public muses or celebrities, more characters from history with an interesting story to tell, a different point of view, or who have done something out of the ordinary.

Open your eyes

From a scrap of fabric found in Morocco to a pattern spotted in Peru, you never know when or where inspiration will strike. Whether I’m strolling through the streets of London or past the shops in Shanghai, my imagination is fuelled by life itself, in all its many shapes and colours.

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