Mainline Meets Luke 1977 – Exclusive Q&A

Written by Dan | 09/06/2021

LUKE 1977 are celebrating!

2021 marks 20 years since the brilliantly British brand started trading and what a year it’s been! We pinned the brand’s founder and creative director, Luke Roper down for a quick chat:

Tattooed man in a Luke 1977 polo shirt

Where did it all start for LUKE 1977? Can you give us some background for the brand?

 

I began making clothes in 1989 when I was 12. Sewing came naturally to me so I pursued a career in Menswear Design. I started at St Martins College in 1997, then started our LUKE 1977 journey in May 2001 with lifelong friends Simon and Deborah Poole with 3 printed t-shirts, thick skin and massive belief!! 20 years on we are still as driven and passionate as we were back then and all still contribute to the business.

 

Your lion logo has become an iconic symbol over the years. What’s the story there? What does it represent to the brand and your customers?

 

In May 2001 LUKE 1977, was formed. Our logo then was LUKE 1977 (text) with the UK highlighted in red, but I felt we needed a masculine, bold logo that would stand the test of time. In 2003 the lion head was born out of the family crests of Poole and Roper. I simplified the styling lines of the rampant lion’s heads and created the lion as we know it today. Colouration for the company DNA (lion’s head) came to me while I was on a fishing trip in Ireland in November 2003. I saw a dusty old whiskey bottle on the top shelf of a random pub in Belturbet (sadly well before the time I had a camera phone as I’d love to know the name of the whiskey now!)

It represents great British design, quality, inclusivity and solid value for money.

 

Talk us through the design process for a new idea. Where do you start?

 

As we never stop, it doesn’t start as such. It’s an ongoing, evolving process and has been for over 20 years. New ideas constantly flow and some make it, some don’t. Our dropped styles (that don’t make the cut) are often better than I see in the marketplace from competitors.

My initial drawings are pen and paper with detailed notes on them (hieroglyphics I like to call them as you need to work for the company for years to understand my writing!). They are then CAD’d by my team and sent to the relevant factory for a prototype sample. The next stage is to make styling and fit comments to take it to the Sales Sample stage. Then we edit our range, sell for a period, and place the bulk orders. Production takes around 4 months including shipping, then it’s ready for the stores!

 

What impact did the lockdowns have at your end? Have you changed the way you work?

 

We’ve had to adapt in many ways, to work even harder and smarter as there is always a new challenge around the corner. Factories close with no notice due to local lockdowns and raw materials shortages. Shipping taking up to 4 times longer, price increases, the list goes on but we are good enough and reactive enough to ride them all whilst maintaining a positive outlook with the belief that normality will eventually resume. We’re primed, fitter, stronger and ready for it.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

 

We are soon to launch our SPRING/SUMMER 2022 collections and have been working on them for the past four months. Sales Samples are coming in daily and it’s looking really strong. Work has just begun on AUTUMN/WINTER 2022 which will be launched at the end of the year.

 

What’s next for LUKE 1977? Can you give us any teasers for upcoming seasons?

 

We have recently rebranded our collections (for the digital age) into 3 clear areas all offering something different but all equally as important as each other:

Luke Mainline

Luke Sport

Luke Performance

We are also increasing our popular core continuity collections that our customers love and return for season after season

We are proud to partner Britain’s number one men’s tennis player Dan Evans. Look out for the mighty Luke lion on Centre Court at Wimbledon in the coming weeks.

Also, some exciting new collaborations to be announced soon!!

 

What are you having for your tea?

 

As it’s a weekday it will be chicken and basmati rice to counteract my hedonistic (I wish…) weekends (my weak days) of beer and good times.

 

SHOP THE LUKE 1977 RANGE WITH MAINLINE MENSWEAR

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