Giant of British menswear Joe Casely-Hayford dies at 62

Better known in recent years as one half of the father and son menswear duo Casely-Hayford, British designer Joe Casely-Hayford has died at the age of 62 after a three-year battle with cancer.

Casely-Hayford, who was educated at The Tailor & Cutter Academy, St Martin’s School Of Art and the ICA, came to prominence in the mid Eighties with his men’s and womenswear collections, which – with the same elegance that Caseley-Hayford demonstrated throughout his life – married artful tailoring with clashing patterns and a make-do-and-mend approach to design.

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His first collection for his brand Kit, which he founded in 1983, featured clothes made from reconstructed Second World War tents. His directional approach earned him a host of famous fans (Bono was pictured wearing leathers designed by Joe Casely-Hayford on the December 1992 cover of Vogue and the designer’s clothes draped the illustrious backs of Suede, The Clash and Lou Reed, to name a few) and an OBE, which he was awarded in 2007.

More recently, in 2009, Casely-Hayford teamed up with his son, Charlie, to create a modern new menswear brand Casely-Hayford. The label quickly became known for its razor-sharp tailoring with a patchwork sportswear aesthetic. It can be said (true to the innovative Casely-Hayford spirit) that the pair saw the current athleisure trend coming way before it arrived.

At the end of last year, the Casely-Hayford brand opened a new shop on London’s Chiltern Street, about which Joe Casely-Hayford told me, in brilliantly original style: “The store is based on a new concept of seasonless capsule collections that we produce every two to three months… Each piece is limited in the numbers we decide to make, with most garments and accessories being crafted by hand. We really want to base the complete experience of the store around the customer and break down traditional barriers.”

A pillar of integrity, intelligence and innovation in an industry which all too readily embraces ephemera, Casely-Hayford, who is survived by his wife Maria and his children, Charlie and Alice, will be sorely missed by the industry he helped invigorate and beyond.

“Joe was a lovely man as well as a consistently inventive designer.” Dylan Jones, Editor-In-chief of British GQ, said of Casely-Hayford. “He was one of the mainstays of the industry in the Eighties, and was an inspiration to a whole generation of young designers. His name was also one of the first British designer brands to gain genuine global recognition. He will be greatly missed.”

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