Hot! [INTERVIEW] A chat with Mike Beagley, CEO of Rodd & Gunn at their outlet opening in Takashimaya, Singapore

Rodd and Gunn CEO image

CONTENT: Medina Razali

New Zealand heritage menswear label Rodd & Gunn has officially launched its first outlet at Takashimaya, Singapore. The concession store marks the brand’s first foray into the Southeast Asia market following their global expansion across Europe, the United States and Australia. Synonymous with elegant, timeless style and exquisite fabrics, Rodd & Gunn continues to expand beyond New Zealand while staying true to its heritage.

Rodd & Gunn brings to Singapore their Spring/Summer 2023 collection, featuring a curated selection of summery fabrics best suited for the Singapore heat. Customers can look forward to the brand’s classic collection of breezy linen tailored suits, refined SUPIMA apparel and more.

Also available in-stores is the limited edition Rugby World Cup 2023 collection, conceptualised in collaboration with Gilbert in commemoration of the world cup this year. Rodd & Gunn has a rich history with New Zealand heritage sports, including the rugby union, polo, and ocean racing. The Rugby World Cup 2023 limited edition collection features a selection of apparel ranging from everyday shirts to rugby polos and even accessories.

Ahead of the official launch in Singapore, we chat with Mike Beagley, CEO of Rodd & Gunn on the Spring/Summer collection, sustainability, future plans and more.

Luxe Society Asia: Can you share the design inspiration behind the Spring/Summer 2023 Collection?

It all came from the colours of New Zealand in Summer, which are very bright and vibrant. We have a lot of rain there, but in summer it all clears up in yellows and blues. Contrast skies and mountains, it’s very inspirational behind the colours of New Zealand. Colours are a very big inspiration behind the collection this year.

Luxe Society Asia: How is New Zealand culture and heritage incorporated into the collection?

Culture is a very deep and personal thing, but we’re more about the nature of New Zealand. We come from an outdoor premise — we actually started off as an outdoors brand and morphed into a lifestyle brand. We were really inspired by the natural landscapes of New Zealand especially for the Spring/Summer range this year.

Luxe Society Asia: What does this collection mean to you personally?

I think it’s one of our best. Just like one of my favourite sayings ‘Best Ever’ — I think that this is one of our best ever collections. We’re feeling really confident about it as we’re seeing great sales and reactions from customers in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. We’re really encouraged by the collection, we’ve been hearing that it’s resonating well with a lot of people.

Luxe Society Asia: What’s your personal favourite piece from the Spring/Summer 2023 collection?

I absolutely love our linen shirts – it’s just incredible. Our linen is soft and wearable, without any harsh or scratchy feeling. It’s just incredibly beautiful and amazing to wear in warm climates like Singapore where it’s humid.

Luxe Society Asia: What would be your favourite colour pick in this collection?

It‘s all the blues, I just love blues. All men love blues — from the lightest blue to the brightest blue to the darkest blue. Any blue is a great colour and it’s easy to wear. I’m even wearing blue now. *laughs*

Luxe Society Asia: Linen is a key fabric used in Rodd & Gunn apparel, tell us more about the fabric.

Our linen comes from flaxgrain in France and Belgium. It’s quite a phenomenal thing — the fact that linen comes from a plant, turned into pulp and then made into yarn and finally becomes a shirt. We’re really going back to the ground that grows the crops to create a garment, just like what would have happened thousands of years ago.

Luxe Society Asia: In the fashion industry, a current hot topic would be the issue of sustainability. How does Rodd & Gunn practice sustainability?

We’ve been a sustainable business for a long, long time but we don’t ever market it. For us, sustainability is not just a marketing campaign, it’s an obligation.

For the past decade, our sustainability department has been very active in making sure that we are doing the right thing. We can guarantee that all our products have got all the right factors — mainly Italian fabrics which are produced of really high standards and control. We follow the traceability of our fabrics; from where our cotton is grown to the farm we source from and so on. We follow the end-to-end process and cycle of sourcing fabrics. It’s really important to understand the journey of each garment and what its impact on the world is.

Luxe Society Asia: Congratulations on the opening of your first store in Asia. Do you have plans to expand Rodd & Gunn to other outlets in the region?

Absolutely yes. We basically started in New Zealand a long time ago and we’ve grown wherever opportunities happen. In Asia, the results we’re seeing have been encouraging so far so we’re looking all through Asia for more opportunities.

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