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Friends of Begg x Co - Daniel Jenkins

Daniel Jenkins wears the Yacht Cardigan in Vicuna | Begg x Co

Comfort Dressing with Daniel Jenkins, founder of Daniel Jenkins Ltd & Purposeful Activity.

 

Daniel on lockdown, the meaning of life and the emotion clothing can evoke - 'things which make the day to day, feel richer and real'

 

To some my curse, personally my joy, has been spending most of the past 36 years (yup, I’m old), searching for what isn’t just new and next, but those items, experiences and frankly people who catch you like hot pokers through head and heart, things which make the day to day, feel richer and real, perhaps it’s metaphysical and to some eyes pseudo, but for me make the strings playing in my head swell, my heart change and move me.

I’m convinced that the meaning of life, is energy and emotion. Good and bad. The peaks and troughs of human existence; the unescapable passing of time, King Cnut/Canute we all are, the waves lap up and over our feet, before lolling back again. Pain & pleasure, it’s all part of the game we have no choice in playing. Love, doesn’t just get us through, it saves us.

Whilst I should have spent the past 12 months box-setting, the above has been playing on my mind, separated from those I love, the life I adore, and the work I can’t help but obsess about.

A year of waking dreams, static at home, doing my bit, feeling helpless, ironic dreams about the transference of energy, how that makes all this go round, from nature to us, machine to thing, thing from you to me, from us all to nature returned.

A wiser person than me, speaks of love liberating us. A noble and correct thought, it’s just sometimes it can be hard, to be separate, to be away. Knowing what we are doing is correct and for the greater good, doesn’t lessen the ache.

I’m a valley’s son. With that comes a marrow deep sense of Hiraeth. A supposedly unexplainable word, but it means as it sounds, a missing of there, that place over the hills, in the past, beyond our grasp.

It’s a word which season’s the art of my nation, our words, song and sport, are enacted with a sense of the before. We elevate and deify them, because we are nothing if not committed to the emotion, to the feelings which guide us energetically through life.

Ok, Ok, I know, at this point, you’re going to write in and say the other fellas, they just tell you the measurements, give a few outfit options and pose. It’s a fine idea, probably a much better one.

But my problem is that, well, that doesn’t do it for me.

Because we use clothing to project ourselves upon the world and to protect us from it.

Our favourite pieces become our statement of intent and armour rolled in one.

They remind us to engage joyfully, to be childlike in wonder, with open eyes and hearts.

They make us feel, this isn’t me suggesting that the meaning of life is clothing. But, that energy, that emotion I spoke of, those stories and dreams, they can be tied up in woven and knitted stuff.

Daniel's take on investment knitwear and rewearing treasured items - 'favourites are worn, not hung' 

 

During lockdown, I couldn’t open a paper, or scroll a page without hearing about comfort dressing, the move towards a more relaxed track-suited future, sat in your pants zooming away.

I guess I should probably suggest that I too have jumped on board and changed how I dress, but frankly, I haven’t, I still wear what I wore, what feels like a lifetime ago.

My thing is investment dressing. Not clothe-coin, but, wearing things I love, and then wearing them some more. Favourites are worn not hung.

They are the background to my day. I am reminded of significant situations and places when I wear that shirt, lace up those boots, or throw on that coat. I like how things age, they go from beautifully crisp and calm on shop floors and wrapped up in cosy packages, becoming more me over time, softening in places, taking on my shape.

That is comfort dressing. Where the things which you wear are truly yours.

What makes me feel how I want to and aids me in my daily adventures.

Comfort isn’t just about getting loose. Yes, it’s in part physical, I mean, who doesn’t love their skin to be nestled against tactile and pleasing materials, but it’s also emotional.

How does it make you feel, not just your skin, but your mind.

Comfort is confidence. Fit is comfort, as is structure, make and cut.

Good garments, well-thought and made, fit. They move with you, and through clever cut, they sculpt, presenting a vision of ourselves which is pleasing to all.

They are vehicles for inner confidence.

This is why Savile Row tailoring will never die and why good things are eternal.

It’s also in part why in our heads when we want comfort we want cashmere comfort, to live in cashmere clad dreams, soft, warm and sated.

To be cuddled by clouds.

Problem is, often, cashmere is a quick fix, perfectly unsatisfying at best. Super soft, marshmallow sweet, placebo sugar high, turns super quick to pill.

For year’s I’ve told people, just buy the best lambs or merino wool. Don’t bother with the C word. It’ll only disappoint.

But, there is Cashmere, and then there is Begg x Co.

It is the best.

Daniel on the Begg x Co Yacht Cardigan - 'cashmere clad, dreaming'

 

Of course it’s soft. But this isn’t the faux sugar high softness of others. It feels different, otherworldly, fat and unctuous, furrowed fields of thick cashmere.

Slipping an arm inside is lunch à deux at The River Cafe & Guinness outside the Guinea, timeless, restrained and elegant. The very best ingredients. Perfectly prepared. Texture and colours left to speak for themselves.

Further wear makes neurons fizz and eyes dance.

I see the Auerbach & Hodgkin, thickly applied, earthy funk, and sunshine filled colour. Light playing across the ribs, it almost breathes as I move.

But it’s that other British textur-alist that I think of when wearing because Begg’s stuff has that give a proverbial, just being me, louche and quietly luxe Britishness of Freud’s best work.

When I think about the brands and people whose work I love, there is an obsession there in everything they do. Knowledge, technique and expertise running through every element. They are those who could wow us, throw their entire box of tricks, and dazzle. But that’s why they are they and I am not, because the true skill is not to hold something back, nor little flourishes, just the right amount.

My Yacht Cardi is like sculpture and I wear it so. Open & stood proud with shoulders back running errands. Or rolled shoulders, collar buttoned and up, hunkered in at home, pulling the face the dog gives when tickled just at that spot behind the ears, thinking, plotting and dreaming.

It lives to suit my moods.

First thing in morning with coffee in garden watching things change, orecchiette leaves unfurl on roses and their buds as of today appearing: tulips sipping on raindrops & paint-bombing borders; daffodil’s smiling, holding on.

Then wind in my face, hat on, out there, amongst the ancients, watching wind slowly draw clouds of rain towards me.

& the week before last: stood, distanced, but close enough, glass in hand, twinkle of eye, with some I love, cashmere clad, dreaming. 

Daniel wears the Begg x Co Yacht Cardigan in Vicuna.

Discover more about Daniel's online magazine Purposeful Activity

Follow Daniel Jenkins on Instagram @danieljamesjenkins

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