Well Happy New Year one and all…

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Thank you , Thank you, Thank you, for your support in what has been and continues to be a difficult period.

The Prime Ministers announcement on the news on January 4th, stated a substantial rise in C19 cases and resultant deaths, and that we are now to enter a further lockdown from midnight on the 5th of January!

It’s usual around now for a TV slot to show all the famous public figures who passed last year, footballers, sports people, entertainers and the like.

I think we can all look at our lives and some of us, will not see certain people again who if not taken by other causes , fell to the virus known as Covid 19., they flash through our minds and we remember times spent with them…happy times, how they touched ours and others peoples lives.

It’s about this time last year, I first heard about the virus on the radio!……”nah…. it’s just in China”…..how wrong could I be!
I’m thinking about the South African variant as well as the new strain that has ripped through the south and is easier to catch in a much different light.

We are of course not out of the woods yet!… far from it.

Like all of us , I hope the vaccine is speedy and works through the population quickly.

In the meantime whilst most people ( myself included at times) have become ‘sign blind’ we need to exercise care and keep washing and sanitising ourselves and surfaces , keeping abreast of each other safely.

One thing I have enjoyed this last year was the rest and relaxation that came with the first lockdown.
The second November lockdown, I worked behind scenes at my partners shop, delivering and taking deliveries of stone statues and her mix of eclectic objects as well as ‘doing Christmas’ at Rhodes-Wood, namely waving a wand and turning the shop into its Christmas theme.

I appreciate we are all different and have differing needs…. some may have hated the isolation and some have suffered from loneliness and there are also those who may have asked “ is this it then…. retirement?”… “with this person I live with?”

We are all different and of course some people in the medical world and those who make medical products, along with food and haulage have never been so busy !

There is light at the end of the tunnel, and whilst there will be casualties along the way, I pray we all get through this.

There…. I promise not to mention it again!… it’s 2021 and time to get on with important things like dressing individuals individually….you can work that out.

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If there is a term I do not like.. it’s ‘business casual’, which broadly seems to mean wearing an open neck shirt and trousers……and whilst I’m not suggesting that people who wear such attire have a ‘casual’ attitude to business, it just suggests to me a certain level of ordinary.

The back bone of R-W is suits and our order book is encouraging, better than I had estimated, despite the fact that many people have not put a suit on since last March!

That said, this year I plan to develop our casual wear, and re introduce a softer natural shoulder cut in drapeier fabrics , layering with fine easy care knitwear, softer shirts, garment washed trousers, jeans and more casual coats…..a softer and very comfortable look to wear, with some thought and style.

I don’t like the standard business casual trousers and shirt look…it leaves me massively underwhelmed.

Without doubt the trouser house, Incotex ( formal trousers, chinos and jeans) added to R-W last year has been a great addition and if you haven’t tried them…, I think they are as comfortable as jogging bottoms!

So to this I will re introduce a softer shouldered jacket updated from the ones I did with Neapolitan shoulders 12 years ago and try to achieve a masculine look that is strong, easy to wear and interchangeable and easy to look after.

That said, suits will still play an important anchor to our offer.

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When the government allows I need to visit my suppliers and do what I love doing, visiting the ‘bowels’ of their factories unearthing cloths and building a range and a look,

This isn’t usually possible with brand names as they have a planned look ( a range) which is carefully controlled and sold forward, however with an artisan maker I can build a look that I want… just as I did many years ago when I worked for the artisan maker, Christopher Dawes. I learned an awful lot and then decided to ‘create’ Rhodes-Wood after Christopher became ill and sold up.
I will never forget him and what he taught me in two and a half years! I was a very interested party who ‘soaked up’ knowledge, because I wanted to learn.

Somebody said to me a few years ago ‘life is a journey!… not a destination’

This year I will try to take the odd lunch hour, and have a proper weekend every six weeks or so…. to try and travel more, even though I dislike airports.

Whilst most love to chase the sun, I love the snow and Alpine weather, I’m bored sat on a beach but alive walking next to the sea in Autumn/Winter… so whatever your goals and aspirations this year forward, let’s remember to live and love and forgive and embrace life.

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One of the best lines in one of the best films (The Shawshank Redemption)…”Get busy living or get busy dying “

I hope you live well and with style…and living well doesn’t always account to having lots of money.

I recall being at an antique fair with my partner Jools, seeing a French couple whom we bought a table off…. on the freezing December day, they dined , cutting slices from a whole French salami along with slithers of cheese whilst quaffing a good French red in the middle of a field…. I call that a working lunch and remembering to enjoy living along the way!

May God bless us and keep us all , safe, sane and well!

Happy New Year!

Jeremy, Chris and Andrew


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