STYLE FOR SOLDIERS HUNTSMAN X EMMA WILLIS
Huntsman, together with luxury shirt-maker Emma Willis provide a helping hand to boost the confidence of British soldiers returning from war zones with life-changing injuries. To do that, the house has joined with Willis’s charity, Style for Soldiers, to provide bespoke and made-to-measure suits for a number of ex-servicemen with conflict injuries.
Willis started the charity almost ten years ago, after listening to a radio programme about the difficulties wounded servicemen have in entering back into civilian life. In response to this, she decided to employ her shirt-making skills to bolster the self-esteem of injured soldiers.
Huntsman’s chairman, Pierre Lagrange, says that working with the charity was a natural move. “As you’ll hear from the team at Huntsman, styling those soldiers in bespoke garments has been an extraordinary, uplifting experience for all, and I am grateful to Emma for her leadership that inspired us”. Huntsman’s general manager Carol Pierce and cutter Anette Akselberg worked together with the retired soldiers, to create a suit expertly fitted to their different body shapes.
Among the ex-servicemen are 25-year-old Shaun Stocker, who lost both his legs and was partially blinded when he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan. Stocker, who now works as a motivational speaker, asked Huntsman to make the suit that he will wear in June when he marries his fiancé Persia. Akselberg has cut the suit in grey herringbone wool, with a coat and waistcoat, in Huntsman’s classic, single button style.
Garth Banks, a soldier who was also injured in Afghanistan in 2010, and who now has two prosthetic legs, commissioned a suit with short trousers in what Akselberg describes as “a bright, French blue.” “Garth is very into his clothes…and this particular colour just suits him so much,” she says.
Both Pierce and Akselberg describe how inspirational all the soldiers have been to work with. “You feel quite humbled when you see these guys and all that they’ve been through,” says Pierce. “And yet they’re so appreciative of craftsmanship and teamwork, which is very much what they do anyway [in the army]. It was a very, very rewarding project.”
Akselberg recalls some of the many thank you letters that she and her team have received from the soldiers. “Ali Spearing wrote an email saying: “I will walk taller and stand prouder in such an exceptional outfit.”
Posted by The New Collections
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