Among Jermyn Street’s many shirtmakers, Hilditch & Key stands out for their attention to detail for a discrete expression of style. Charles F. Hilditch and W. Graham Key met while training to be shirtmakers at Harman’s of Duke Street and in 1899 formed a partnership to build their own business. The entrepreneurial pair saw an opportunity in travelling around the country’s universities with their shirt making service, building a following who would soon be young businessmen in the city in need of work attire. At the turn of the century, the business moved to Jermyn Street to further its reputation for quality and craftsmanship, and in 1907 they opened a branch in Paris which remains to this day, cementing them as a shirtmaker accepted into fashion circles.
This legacy rings true in the business today, respecting the original craft and heritage of the Jermyn Street shirtmakers, while adapting with the times and not shying away from changing fashions. Never showy or boastful though, they embrace subtlety as the most refined form of style, making little changes to the fit of a shirt or the cut of the collar or the accessories which complete an individual’s look to stay current. Their client list is rumoured to include members of the royal family and celebrities, but they promise never to ‘stitch and tell’, assuring anonymity and respect for every customer.
A Hilditch & Key shirt passes through 55 hands in the making process. From the small stitch length, to the smooth seam line, and the hand-turned collar, it is all handled with care and attention, creating the finer details that their customers appreciate. While they supply shirts to other retailers, production is limited to ensure quality is never compromised.