Kestin Hare has always been about creating quality everyday clothes for real men - it's all about versatility. We have the best customers with unique careers who represent our brand, wearing our clothes to do what they do best. The Customer Series highlights these great guys who bring our designs to life.
First up is our friend Johnny who works next door to our studio at Custom Lane in The Edinburgh Tool Library - the UK's first tool library, promoting sharing as a way of reducing environmental impact. He's a highly skilled carpenter who's daily uniform is the Neist Overshirt , proving the garment is fit for purpose. We sat down with Johnny to talk a bit about what he does and his relationship with our brand.
Do you remember the first time you met Kestin? And how did you become friends?
“Who’s Kestin? *laughs* the first time I met Kestin was through the Tool Library actually, I was volunteering at the time and Kestin came in asking me if I wanted some work. He tasked me with building a sign for the front of the Cruiser Store, it was to be removable so it could be taken in at the end of each day. This turned out to be a bad idea, a huge gust of wind blew the sign off, smashing it completely. Every now and again odd jobs, bits and pieces come my way.”
Can you tell me a little about your work and what you do?
I work for The Edinburgh Tool Library, I’m a carpenter, fabricator, I studied sculpture originally. A lot of my practice were just making stuff out of wood. Mainly I used to make playgrounds in urban space, so essentially I’d weld grappling hooks and I’d attach them to bridges and make wooden slides for stair cases and just leave them there for people to discover. I joined the Tool Library as an apprentice and I now help run the workshops and I oversee the health and safety for them. So, an all-round person at the Tool Library wood man, janitor. I freelance as well, and I do a lot of wood turning too.
How did you get to where you are? What made you choose this path?
It’s the fact of you don’t want to work somewhere doing something you don’t enjoy doing. I’ve got friends who’ve gone straight from school to uni to a job, and didn’t travel or anything and they’re working jobs they hate but at the same time they’re making money. I’d sacrifice that to be doing something I love, I make enough money to get by and I have fun doing what I enjoy, getting to grips with material and actually making things because that’s what I like doing. I wouldn’t ever want to be stuck behind a desk.
The SS19 collection A Summer on Speyside is inspired by childhood summer holidays; do you have any fond memories to share about your own childhood trips?
My mum is from the Philippines, so mainly growing up we’d always go back there for summer. As a kid all my friends were going to Spain or America and I was always jealous, you’d be like - why can we not go to America and Disneyland. But now looking back I realise so many people have never been to the Philippines and would be envious of me. We were travelling half way across the world going further a foot than most people. My family are essentially farmers, so we’d help out on the rice land, cutting about in just shorts all day in the sun helping out, it was a cool way to spend the holidays.
What is your favourite Kestin Hare piece ever and why?
Pffft, ever?? I quite like these workshop jackets (wearing a Neist Overshirt). I like that they are based on traditional French workwear jackets. The material Kestin uses for his clothes is hardwearing and the best quality. The pieces withstand the test of time, a lot of competitor brands have the same price point, but I just never find the quality matches up to Kestin’s high standards. But I do also love a bit of cord, the shop coat in cord. With the big pockets, nice for all round weather. A lot of the pieces are good for layering up when it's really cold.
Why do you like the brand, and why is it important to your industry?
As I said before the materials are so hard wearing, I’m not someone who likes big branding so I like the kind of minimal look, the small batch production helps keep the quality high, it’s nice to know that you get what you pay for. I appreciate that Kestin supports UK manufacturers as well. The clothes are great for the kind of work I do because I know that they can withstand the aren’t going to be ruined in the workshop.
Lastly what drives you and what inspires you?
Wood things *laughs* I suppose it’s like hand made goods, well-crafted things, that’s why I can appreciate Kestin’s stuff a bit more as well because it’s just well-made product. His appreciation for something that’s made really really well whether its clothing or furniture. With my job I’m often out and about working on different projects and I find inspiration in that, I look for the imperfections in things and that drives me to want to make things better or learn how to make them.
About the Edinburgh Tool Library
Edinburgh Tool Library is the UK’s first tool library, promoting sharing as a way of reducing our environmental impact.They lend members tools for DIY, gardening, decorating and machine repair, so that they don’t need to own them. Not only does this collaborative approach make sense environmentally, it also helps their members financially.
Some facts that confirm why the Tool Library is so great:
The average power drill is used a total of 13 minutes in its lifetime we don’t all need to own one.
The average UK household spends £110 a year on tools (Office of National Statistics, 2014) annual membership to the tool library costs £30 (or less if you’re skint!)
Being a member of ETL gives you access to over 1000 tools without the need to store, maintain, or buy them in the first place.