Thomas Hancock, in 1843, invented the vulcanisation of rubber using sulphur. That process, when applied to handmade, expertly cut and wonderfully coloured (think tennis green and honeysuckle red) garments is what forms the basis of Hancock, a new brand that specialises in creating raincoats. In the midst of Pitti, we sat down to talk to Daniel Dunko, founder and creator of Hancock about what it takes to open a factory in Scotland and what makes his raincoats so special.
I heard that you just set up a factory. I was wondering how hard or how easy it is to set up a factory these days?
I suppose it depends on what you know, isn’t it? Because I spent 28 years of my life setting what is now currently Mackintosh with their Scotland factory. So I started in ’83, did a 5-year tailoring apprenticeship, then went into sales and design, eventually bought the company and then sold the company in 2007. So I decided it was time to refocus back to what I originally wanted to do which was to create fresh and innovative things with lots of colour. For me, it wasn’t so difficult to open up a factory knowing all the component parts.
After all my legal contracts ended in January, we took out a lease on a new factory on the first of February, we put together the component parts to make our first collection into the factory in between the 1st and 15th of February and then we launched in Tokyo and Seoul in March. So not so bad.
Wow, that’s quite an impressive timeline. Can you explain the heritage details contrasted with the modern, technical innovations?
I look upon our brand as “modern heritage”. The modern side is how me cut and create the shapes, the heritage side is how we follow an old process that was invented almost 200 years ago of gluing and taping handmade coats. So all these garments are basically made, glued, rubber-tapped, sealed and stitched together. The stitching was actually an original process, because without it the garments could fall apart if it wasn’t for the stitching.
The whole idea is to create this whole modern heritage influence and also tap into youth and vitality. We’re using young students from the Edinburgh College of Art to come and put their emphasis on designs and for us an industry to bring these all together to create something a bit fresh and a little bit more interesting.
Can you tell what makes your garments unique and special?
The garments are totally waterproof. Each seam is actually glued, stitched and taped so for extra strength and each piece is individual because each piece is made by an individual person. You can see the hem lines and everything else will differ ever so slightly. In these corners are all very unique – they’re hand tucked under the finger.
You can see the character in it.
Exactly, and it differs for every person. So all these things are characteristic of the individuality that will happen throughout each garment.
I also have a friend who is a tailor, Timothy Everest, in London. We got him to work on three different designs which were unique Hancock Everest tailored outerwear pieces. That will also be something Hancock does each season; focusing on some things and get some uniqueness from an individual but with a focus on our fabrics and colours.
How long would these last you if you wore it in the rain all the time?
With handmade garments, you tend to replace them when you wear it out, depending how you use it, ten, twenty years. It’s very much an investment into the future. It’s not throwaway fashion. On a ladies perspective, colours refresh and change a lot more whereas a guy would probably have this for the next ten, fifteen years. It’s an icon.
For more information, you can visit the Hancock website here.