our stories

Designs on heritage

 

R.M.Williams Head Designer Jeremy Hershan has brought a contemporary sensitivity to timeless, functional classics.

 

Jeremy Hershan had been wearing his well-travelled R.M.Williams boots overseas for the past 10 years when he heard about an opportunity to relocate home to Australia to work for R.M.Williams. “My boots have taken me everywhere,” he said. “R.M.Williams has been a staple of my wardrobe for such a long time. I’ve always been a customer and admirer of the brand but my career to date has been focused in the UK and in Europe and this role actually brought me back. It was a huge opportunity that I was very excited about.”

Jeremy was appointed Head Designer of R.M.Williams in 2016 and oversees the collection from footwear to apparel. “The Autumn-Winter 17 collection, for me, was about going back to the heart of the brand DNA,” Jeremy said. “I spent a week in the Flinders Ranges, which was the birthplace of the brand. I looked at the photography of Max Dupain, who for me captured these masculine entrepreneurial characters all the way through from the ‘30s to the ‘70s, so I referenced that quite heavily. I also looked at the art of Tom Roberts, who was one of Australia’s most prolific impressionist painters. His sense of light and sensitivity for colour really lent itself to the brand for me and gave me a unique platform for interpreting Australian colour.”

The result is a collection with a contemporary look and feel, but based on timeless classics rooted in functionality from beautiful leather goods to traditional work shirts that look just at home in the bush or the boardroom. “I think the interesting thing about the brand is the way it cuts across demographics,” Jeremy said. “We have a true loyal customer who’s out there in the bush and we have a more recent urban customer and these two customers really sit side by side. The boots are just as at home within both of these environments.”

From an early age Jeremy was passionate about all aspects of dress and clothing, being born into a family of migrant European tailors, dressmakers and milliners. Graduating from the world renowned RMIT with first class honours in Fashion Design – during which he spent 6 months in Antwerp with the highly innovative Veronique Branquinho – Jeremy moved to Paris undertaking an apprenticeship at Kris Van Assche.

Next he accepted a position at the crucible of modern menswear, No.1 Savile Row, working alongside the world’s finest tailors and craftsmen, designing the ready to wear tailoring and accessories for Gieves & Hawkes.

A key role in the relaunch of much-loved British heritage brand Aquascutum followed, before four years as Senior Designer at the venerable Alfred Dunhill.

The Autumn Winter 17 range was shot at remote South Australian sheep station Outalpa by well-known photographer Hugh Stewart, with the cooperation and involvement of the Morgan family. “Being one of Australia’s oldest heritage brands, there’s a fascinating history and you only have to open one of the old catalogues to read into that,” Jeremy said.

Although he is a keen innovator, he’s keen to preserve the early products that are integral to the brand’s reputation as a bush outfitter, in particular the boots. “If I have to think about how the product has evolved, what’s nice for me is how the boots haven’t evolved a great deal,” Jeremy said. “They’re stitched in the same manner they were, they’re lasted in the same manner they were, they’re kind of produced in the same way they were in the 1930s and ’40s, which for me brings a great sense of authenticity to the brand. The product is really built to stand the test of time.”

When putting together the new collection the idea of products ‘built for purpose’ was forefront in his thinking. “Everything has to be functional and have a reason for being,” Jeremy said. Photographing the collection at Outalpa “helped show the collection in its truest light”. “It’s work wear born from function,” Jeremy said while treading the boards inside the shearing shed. “Today it’s very much worn in an urban context or in a non-work environment but putting it out here in this environment has really brought it to life.”

Jeremy Hershan had been wearing his well-travelled R.M.Williams boots overseas for the past 10 years when he heard about an opportunity to relocate home to Australia to work for R.M.Williams. “My boots have taken me everywhere,” he said. “R.M.Williams has been a staple of my wardrobe for such a long time. I’ve always been a customer and admirer of the brand but my career to date has been focused in the UK and in Europe and this role actually brought me back. It was a huge opportunity that I was very excited about.”

Jeremy was appointed Head Designer of R.M.Williams in 2016 and oversees the collection from footwear to apparel. “The Autumn-Winter 17 collection, for me, was about going back to the heart of the brand DNA,” Jeremy said. “I spent a week in the Flinders Ranges, which was the birthplace of the brand. I looked at the photography of Max Dupain, who for me captured these masculine entrepreneurial characters all the way through from the ‘30s to the ‘70s, so I referenced that quite heavily. I also looked at the art of Tom Roberts, who was one of Australia’s most prolific impressionist painters. His sense of light and sensitivity for colour really lent itself to the brand for me and gave me a unique platform for interpreting Australian colour.”

The result is a collection with a contemporary look and feel, but based on timeless classics rooted in functionality from beautiful leather goods to traditional work shirts that look just at home in the bush or the boardroom. “I think the interesting thing about the brand is the way it cuts across demographics,” Jeremy said. “We have a true loyal customer who’s out there in the bush and we have a more recent urban customer and these two customers really sit side by side. The boots are just as at home within both of these environments.”

From an early age Jeremy was passionate about all aspects of dress and clothing, being born into a family of migrant European tailors, dressmakers and milliners. Graduating from the world renowned RMIT with first class honours in Fashion Design – during which he spent 6 months in Antwerp with the highly innovative Veronique Branquinho – Jeremy moved to Paris undertaking an apprenticeship at Kris Van Assche.

Next he accepted a position at the crucible of modern menswear, No.1 Savile Row, working alongside the world’s finest tailors and craftsmen, designing the ready to wear tailoring and accessories for Gieves & Hawkes.

A key role in the relaunch of much-loved British heritage brand Aquascutum followed, before four years as Senior Designer at the venerable Alfred Dunhill.

The Autumn Winter 17 range was shot at remote South Australian sheep station Outalpa by well-known photographer Hugh Stewart, with the cooperation and involvement of the Morgan family. “Being one of Australia’s oldest heritage brands, there’s a fascinating history and you only have to open one of the old catalogues to read into that,” Jeremy said.

Although he is a keen innovator, he’s keen to preserve the early products that are integral to the brand’s reputation as a bush outfitter, in particular the boots. “If I have to think about how the product has evolved, what’s nice for me is how the boots haven’t evolved a great deal,” Jeremy said. “They’re stitched in the same manner they were, they’re lasted in the same manner they were, they’re kind of produced in the same way they were in the 1930s and ’40s, which for me brings a great sense of authenticity to the brand. The product is really built to stand the test of time.”

When putting together the new collection the idea of products ‘built for purpose’ was forefront in his thinking. “Everything has to be functional and have a reason for being,” Jeremy said. Photographing the collection at Outalpa “helped show the collection in its truest light”. “It’s work wear born from function,” Jeremy said while treading the boards inside the shearing shed. “Today it’s very much worn in an urban context or in a non-work environment but putting it out here in this environment has really brought it to life.”

 
 

Top image and bottom left image: Autumn Winter 2017 campaign photography by Hugh Stewart. Bottom right image: R.M.Williams Head Designer, Jeremy Hershan.

 
 

Head of Design

Jeremy Hershan

 

Jeremy Hershan, our new Head of Design, shares his inspiration behind the new collection, how he injected Australian colours into the garments, and how he interpreted the spirit of the outback and the rural influence so integral to this iconic brand.

 
 
 

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