The Le Roy brothers are both natural creatives, Eddie being a womenswear student at Central Saint Martins and Sam co-owning Hartcopy, a sneaker-based platform. The “two arguing brothers”, as their slogan states, have now joined forces for their brand new clothing brand Palfrey Heights. Having lived their whole childhood together, it only made sense to the brothers that their brand would take them back to their distant memories created in their hometown, Palfrey Heights being the name of a street they grew up next to. Today, we caught up with Sam and Eddie to talk about their brand’s ethos, the behind-the-scenes of production and aspirations for the future of Palfrey Heights.
Hey Sam & Eddie! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
EDDIE: Hey! I’m a 20 year old student between my foundation year and Ba Womenswear course at Central Saint Martins. I live in Suffolk, where over the last couple years I’ve taught myself & developed my technical abilities. Though my work typically sits in a menswear category, I’ll be focusing more on draping and tailoring at CSM – pattern cutting & construction is my bread and butter so I find joy in whatever space I work in – as long as I’m sewing, I’m happy!
SAM: I’m co-owner and all-round creative lead for Hartcopy, a UK-based media platform and agency that’s focused around shedding light and highlighting important context behind products — primarily footwear — and other cultural artefacts. I’m based between Milan and Suffolk, and I’m always writing, creating, and consuming content, so this is a nice change of pace for me.
Your brand is called Palfrey Heights, as an ode to the English countryside of Suffolk. Is that where you two grew up?
E: We aren’t in a super remote area, but if you’re from Suffolk you know it’s difficult to avoid all things countryside. We are in our own little bubble over here, so a lot of experiences are shared amongst the same friends, in the same villages. Having both gone to a local Naval school, it’s fair to say we’ve really had the full country run down, and maybe even have a unique perspective on it all.
S: Born and bred in Suffolk, yep. it’s a strange place where things often feel frozen in time, or as if they’re moving in slow motion, which is massively different to city life. But, for us, I guess that’s what normal was for a long time.
Why did you end up picking that as your brand name? Was it a straightforward, obvious process?
E: It was super natural for us to reference our local area, it gives a thoughtful foundation to grow and push forward in every aspect of the brand. By giving it a name like Palfrey Heights it warrants an explanation and provokes questions within us to apply to all sides of branding – whether it’s for the label, designs, photoshoots or whatever it is. It all has stemmed from the brand name in one form or another.
S: Palfrey Heights is the name of a street very close to our childhood home. When considering a name for the label, we were both wanting something quite low-key that makes you think “What’s that about” without trying to be edgy or too modern. I enjoy knowing that someone out there probably thinks that Palfrey Heights is a hiking trail somewhere, but in reality it’s a very average street in a very average village.
The ethos of your brand is all about looking back at childhood memories, fitting as you both share a lot of the same ones. Why did you decide to make that one of your key focuses?
E: As individuals we’ve grown to understand that our countryside roots are a huge part of our identity. I’ve found that being a creative in an area without a creative scene makes it easy to look elsewhere for inspiration. By referencing our own experiences, it’s a constant reminder to us on what we are producing & why – which I think is a full proof way of staying authentic. For us, if we are both authentic to ourselves, and where we’ve come from, then the branding and products will just fall into place. If there was ever a way of keeping Sam and I on the same page it would be these childhood memories, where we both get the significance, vision and can approach our ideas on the same wavelength.
S: For me, I’ve seen so many projects that are just “red shoe, blue shoe”. Clothing or footwear that looks great, but there’s no real thought or story behind them creatively. Sure, we’ve released a green and navy trouser, but the steps we’re taking creatively through editorial are all with the goal of evoking some memories for those that grew up in a similar situation to us, and giving some fresh perspective to those that didn’t. The slow, relaxed feeling I get whenever I come back to Suffolk isn’t something you can really describe, but I hope to convey that aura as much as I can through campaigns and the like. On a wider level, I think a treasured childhood memory is something that resonates with everyone, even if you grew up in a totally different world to me; if we can bring someone back to their own memories, that’s enough for me.
Sam, you work more on overall brand direction while Eddie, you are the lead designer. How do you share the workload and daily tasks? Are you still working quite collaboratively, feeding into each other’s ideas?
E: We are just properly finding our feet with our process as a partnership – as Sam said, our strengths work great together, but we also work in very different ways, which is a double edged sword in itself. Our larger roles work on different time frames, with production coming months in advance and Sam’s additions being more crucial on the project realisation. By the time my job is “done”, Sam’s is just getting started, which in itself is a great thing for a general workflow. We are constantly feeding into each other’s work, which for us, is something we’ve always done, so the only real difference is that we are aiming for the same set of goals.
S: Our strengths actually complement one another quite nicely. Like you said, Eddie’s obviously the real pioneer in terms of making clothes a reality — which I’ve got no experience in at all — but my knowledge in product and general brand placement have been really useful in hollowing out a functional space for Palfrey Heights to reside and flourish. That said, we work very fluidly, and nobody really “owns” a specific job. Of course, I won’t be jumping on the sewing machine or be pattern cutting, but we have a lot of open dialogue about minute details on clothing as well as broader brand topics like how we want to align with other entities out there. I’ve been able to absorb a lot of insights from Eddie’s experience, and I’m sure he could say the same for me, so it’s a really efficient partnership.
Being brothers, do you find that you get involved in more or less conflict over creative ideas? How do you tend to solve these?
E: Of course. I wish the slogan “founded by two arguing brothers” was just a branding gimmick, but in reality, it’s not at all. That being said, we don’t get in conflict over things that don’t matter, the only reason we do argue is because we both want the best out of each other. Like a lot of brothers, we are one another’s rivals, critics & right hand man, all in one – so it’s only fair that we clash heads once in a while.
S: I don’t know if it’s more conflict because we’re brothers, or that we’re less afraid to say what’s on our mind to one another, but we definitely do our fair share of arguing. Neither of us are the type to end up stuck on something though, so arguments don’t last long and before we know it, we’re onto the next thing. I’m always quick to remind myself that these difficult conversations always lead to positive growth, so it’s not a problem for me at all. At the end of the day, we’re brothers (and best mates) so arguing about clothes will never end up being a big deal, however important things seem in a single moment.
What have been, if any, difficulties you’ve encountered while setting up your brand?
E: The biggest challenge we’ve had was definitely production. With this being our only experience of getting work manufactured, it’s been a huge learning curve. Where things were overlooked initially, we now have a hands-on relationship with our manufacturers, where I cut patterns and produce samples in our home studio, then offload these to start the production process.
S: It’s the tedious, small steps that have surprised me. I’ve always been on the other side of product creation, merely witnessing what’s publicly shown, so it’s easy to forget quite how complex things can be. Sure, it’s not wrong to say that we’ve made some trousers, but it’s much more accurate to talk through the entire process. This also feeds into much more appreciation for the product as a whole; Eddie’s spent countless hours working to perfect these designs, and both of us have gone to extreme lengths to make them a reality. I think a lot of people could do a better job of showing off the baby steps that lead to a final product, and I really want to do this for Palfrey Heights as much as possible, which is another reason why we’ve placed weight on the “arguing brothers” mantra – we want people to understand exactly how much thought has gone into every single step of the process.
Your very first drop focuses on the Kaloula trousers. Tell me about them – how long from design to production did that take you to make? What was that process like?
E: I made the first sample back in October 2021, where I wanted a trouser that had a balance between the typical “balloon” shape, and a more tailored silhouette. It’s full of subtle details that may be overlooked, and a shape that, to me, absolutely can’t be ignored. The cut & details have had slight alterations since then, but we mainly went back and forth on fabric weight and composition. After three rounds of sampling we settled on an 8 oz duck canvas – a fabric that balances the two best parts of the trouser; its structure and drape.
S: Eddie’s the guy to talk through all the specifics on design, but I did have some minor inputs from start to finish. Initially we sampled with a cargo pocket (maybe 2 years ago) but over time decided that it pushed us too far into casual and streetwear, which we wanted to keep our distance from. Stripping back keeps the pant a touch more formal, which is really nice considering how unique a shape they are. As for the colours, both the Olivine and Petrol Blue come slightly different from the standard khaki/navy colours we see all the time, which makes the Kaloula Trouser even more of a standalone presence. I couldn’t be happier with how the trouser came out, all in all.
Where does the name Kaloula come from?
S: Simply put, both of us like frogs, and a Kaloula is a really fat frog. That round shape is almost reminiscent of how the trouser bows out at the knee and is brought back in by darts at the ankle and waist, so it’s the perfect name for it. If you look at the interior, the tag shows off two moody looking frogs – Eddie and I have a weekly argument about which of us is each frog, but I’m opening Pandora’s box by bringing that up.
E: Sam’s got it pretty spot on there. As for the wider context as to why we chose frogs, there is no one elaborate story. It was really a combination of things, yes childhood memories factor into it, but really we both had a mutual love for these old illustrations of frogs. Whether they’re dancing, fighting or smoking, the illustrations have a cheekiness & are full of character, which are things that over time we want to express more in the brand.
What other items do you want to venture into? A full apparel line? Accessories too?
E: We’ve got very high hopes for the brand! We want to be wearing Palfrey Heights head to toe everyday, so we have our sights set on everything. Currently our focus is on apparel, where we’re really trying to establish ourselves as a quality British brand, but we are just as excited to jump into leather accessories and knitwear as the brand grows. We love the idea of developing our own fabrics, leathers & knits, which are long term projects of ours. In terms of design, we have so much reference material to pull from, so I don’t see us slowing down anytime soon.
S: In an ideal world, we’d be able to offer up a full lifestyle under the Palfrey Heights name. This means more than just clothing, with a really specific customer that’s receptive to our product first and foremost but just as importantly the storylines we’re spinning behind it all. Bigger still, I’ve got an obsession with physical spaces, and the ability to connect with people on a personal level rather than through words on a screen, so a retail space (maybe further down the line) would be a real dream for me.
How do you see your brand growing within the next couple of years? Any particular goals in mind for Palfrey Heights?
E: We are both super excited for what’s to come. We share similar ideas on the importance of community & involving friends within our work. As time goes on, I hope Palfrey Heights can be used to bring people together, especially through our editorials and collaborations.
S: Just like Eddie said, I think there’s so much to come out of the brand and our minds. We’ve already got a capsule locked and loaded for summer, and winter following straight after that. We’ve done the “hard” part of making these products a reality so we can finally enjoy the rewards of what we’ve worked so hard for, and see people in our work – that’s the end goal. It’s so easy to make connections online now, that I’m really craving interaction with like minded people in person, because it’s so much more valuable than like counts or shares on social media.
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