With an individual approach to design and tailoring, Huddersfield’s Anthony Caton is reinventing menswear for a new and discerning audience. Victoria Benn reports.
Looking fresh from his weekend business meetings in Barcelona, Anthony (pronounced with a hard ‘T’) Caton is a walking advert for his self-named brand, Caton Manifesto, which has just launched its first ready-to-wear collection.
Sporting his signature lightweight elongated lapel-less jacket in a charcoal grey cashmere pinstripe with crisp white collarless smock shirt, Caton looks cool and comfortably at ease.
His route into fashion design has been unconventional, but unequivocally on his own terms. While studying for a degree in Public Relations at Leeds Beckett University, his entrepreneurial streak and natural interest in fashion prompted him to seek out freelance clients long before his course had concluded. These early clients, Yorkshire-based fashion designers Benaiah Matheson and Hardy Punglia, quickly immersed Caton into the business side of the fashion world, teaching him the importance of branding, imagery and narrative.
Caton says: “I learnt many practical things, such as how to coordinate a launch event or fashion show, and the significance of engaging social media strategies and product placements, but the key thing I picked up was the importance of communicating the story behind a brand and its products. Sharing the inspiration for a particular ethos and collection is crucial, as it gives a depth and identity which ultimately connects people to a brand.”
Just over 10 years ago, he started experimenting with his own designs, driven by a constant need to present his visual identity in a particular way.
The conundrum of transforming his paper designs into tangible garments led him to the man he now refers to as his mentor, Clyde Sheriffe, a highly regarded pattern cutter, tailor and private tutor based in Roundhay, Leeds.
“Clyde runs all sorts of textile and garment making courses from his studio, but what initially appealed to me was the opportunity to learn one-to-one in a flexible way which fitted around my portfolio of PR work,” said Caton. “Within a year or two of working with Clyde, I was designing, constructing and wearing my own designs, and very quickly people started to approach me, offering me money to create something similar for them, which was essentially the origins of Caton Manifesto.”
With an established and growing core of private clients, Caton now divides his time between Leeds, London and Dubai. A natural brand ambassador, he implicitly understands the importance of walking and talking the part, but also credits his PR background for his understanding of how his target audience of 18-40 year-old males engages with the world.
“My Instagram feed, which is linked to my website is a very powerful tool for connecting me to the right people,” said Caton. Being listed as one of the best dressed men in 2017 by the editor of Esquire Middle East, no doubt also did wonders for raising the profile of Caton Manifesto’s unique designs, wardrobe staples to some of the UAE’s most notable personalities, including model Rami Yassine.
Caton’s newly launched debut ready-to-wear collection, named Manifestations of Grandeur, is a season-less modular range which, in taking its inspiration from the changing moods of the ocean, has been specifically designed to be free of any sense of restriction.
“What my audience love about my garments is the ingenious construction which belies the connotations of formal menswear. My garments are created from high quality Yorkshire worsteds and cashmeres, yet their unique cut – which creates a slender elongated silhouette – and their non-traditional construction, which gives them added movement and flexibility, offers the wearer the freedom to wear them ‘up’ or ‘down’ as they choose.
“The elongated jackets and tapered trousers can be worn with one of my smock-style shirts for a more formal look, or they work equally well with a T-shirt, which is an aesthetic favoured in a hot climate, like Dubai. My collection presents an informal yet smart alternative to a traditional suit or blazer, being free from all the usual assumptions and expectations associated with such garments.”
The Manifestations of Grandeur collection showcases Caton’s tailoring techniques and finishes. All the jackets, which come in a range of light to heavier weight fabrics, are lapel-less, with the exception of the Alchemist Jacket which, taking its inspiration from a kimono, has a rolled shawl style collar, along with unconstructed lightweight shoulders devoid of the usual padding.
Fasteners for all the jackets are large concealed press-studs, and the trousers are slimline and tapered, all of which elongates the form. The finishing touches come from Caton’s signature cosmic lining and internal piping detail, which he simply describes as, “the little bit of magic inside everything I create.”
Made to measure items can be obtained by appointment via the Caton Manifesto studio on info@caton-Manifesto.com. The ready-to-wear collection is available at www.caton-manifesto.com.