IN CONVERSATION WITH: JONATHAN SWANSTON

October 14, 2015

If you’re going to invest in a pair of shoes, do by Grenson’s slogan and make sure they’re good ones. Founded in 1866 in Northamptonshire, Grenson is a British heritage brand and staple in the wardrobe of any self-respecting shoe lover. From beautifully crafted men’s boots and brogues to the introduction of a women’s range, Grenson keep raising the shoe game. We spoke with Shoreditch Store Manager, Jonathan Swanston to find out more about his Autumn wardrobe staples, inspirations and work advice.

UO: Tell us a little about your story so far

I’m a nice Yorkshire lad that moved to London to study art at Central St Martins, and then went on to study fashion imaging and promotion at Epsom University. Having worked in fashion as a stylist and photographer for years, I worked in a shoe shop part time and always enjoyed the work that Grenson were doing. I was glad when they asked me to run their store in Shoreditch, and have been working for Grenson for four years now.


Shop: Grenson Grover Black Grain Boots, Dickies Thornton Brown Duck Chore Coat and Burgundy and Mustard Plaid Scarf and Edwin Red Listed Selvedge Burn Jeans

UO: What or who inspires you both personally and professionally?

The things that inspire me in life are the people who are very self-motivated and want to give 110% to everything they do. I’m very influenced by the books I read and the films I watch, as I focused on imagery quite a lot while studying. My favourite author is Charles Bukowski and my favourite film director is David Lynch.

UO: When did you know you wanted to explore a career in fashion? Is it something you’ve always been focused towards?

I have always had an interest in fashion from a young age. Fashion was a very competitive course to get on when I was studying, so I knew I had to be 100% motivated to do it. I have always had a strong interest in menswear, and the timeless element that comes with eras gone by.


Shop: Rhythm Pocket Trilby Hat in Camel, Farah Berkley Wool Cropped Trousers, Grenson Grover Black Grain Boots, Shore Leave Black Waffle Knit Jumper and Shore Leave BLucifer Teal Overcoatr

UO: What is your favourite era?

It’s quite hard to decide what my favorite era is, as I take inspiration from anything within the past 100 years! I have a preference for the classic element of fashion, so I would say the 40s to late 60s. I love tailoring, but I do also love workwear from that era. These guys looked really cool without even knowing it, it was just a part of their day-to-day work wear.

My current interest has to be the surfers and mountain climbers style from the 1960s. So effortlessly California cool!

UO: What are your Autumn wardrobe staples?

I’m an autumn baby, so it has to be my favourite season as you get to layer up. My staple pieces would have to be good knitwear, and my US navy deck jacket, which will keep you suitably warm if you are caught in a blizzard! For those really wet days, I tend to go for my ll bean duck boots and yellow rain mac I got from Denmark.


Shop: Navy Trilby Hat, Farah Berkley Crop Wool Navy Trousers and Grenson Archie High-Shine Brogue Shoes

UO: What’s been the most important thing you’ve learned in your career to date? Any wise words to pass on?

Always be humble in the work you do. Nobody likes a show off.

UO: What’s next for Grenson in 2015 and beyond?

In my opinion, Grenson can only go from strength to strength. The launch of the women’s collection in 2010 has proved to be a great decision as the popularity of this collection continues to grow. The design team do a great job of getting the mix between classic and modern spot on.