At first glance, Old Harry seems an odd moniker for a knitwear brand. Paradise Lost aside, Satan makes few best-dressed lists. But, as anyone familiar with Britain’s coastal towns knows, it’s not Lucifer that the brand’s referencing, but the iconic rock formation that bears his name, which looms off the Jurassic Coast.
Appropriate, since the brand’s genesis is in the seaside holidays of its founders’ youth, when they’d step out of the chilly sea to be swaddled in their parents’ vintage jumpers. Which is why this first collection focuses on emulating the comfort of that now sepia-tinged knitwear, albeit in a modern style that works from shore to city.
The range’s watchword is ‘quality’. Each piece is crafted from 100 per cent premium cotton, in a five-gauge knit that gives the jumpers a subtle texture, offering the perfect contrast to your winter tailoring, raw denim or even bare skin as – in keeping with the label’s inspiration – you step straight from the sea into something comforting. It also means pulling one on is like having a portable log fire to keep you cosy, even as the leaves start to fall.
The Old Harry jumper’s beauty is its simplicity. Understanding that truly timeless pieces eschew fussiness, this is knitwear without anything extraneous, cut slim in colours that will complement everything that’s currently in your wardrobe. The unisex crew neck is available in five shades: navy, crème, black, and light and dark grey.
Although each will work with whatever else you wear it with, we’d still advise picking up a spare for when your other half inevitably takes a shine to it. Especially considering they are priced at just £65 each.
But even though Old Harry’s knitwear is unassuming, that doesn’t mean it isn’t distinctive. As any man of elegance knows, standing apart is about the subtle details, not the flamboyant.
In Old Harry’s case that means a lightly ribbed collar and cuffs – the latter straddled by the brand label. So you can fold it back and still give a nod to the craftsman keeping you warm.
Equally unobtrusive is the Old Harry wave; eight undulating lines sewn in an almost imperceptible contrast colour on the left chest. It’s branding that speaks only to those in the know, a tilt of the head to the sartorially informed.
It’s a detail that also harks back to the origins of the fisherman’s knit, when men would take to the water wearing jumpers crafted in a bespoke pattern so, should the worst happen, those left at home could identify the body when it washed ashore.
Finally, there’s a detail solely for the wearer. Inside the collar is a grid reference that marks the spot of the Old Harry rock formation. It’s said that, seven centuries ago, notorious plunderer Harry Paye chose that spot to secret treasure looted from French and Spanish galleons.
According to legend, that booty was never claimed, and is still hidden somewhere in the outcrop of limestone caves. Should you decide to seek it out, an Old Harry jumper will keep out the sea breeze – and show you where to start your search.
Old Harry’s debut knitwear collection is available at oldharry.com now, priced from £65.