Two Manchester-born construction workers have revealed how they created a fashion brand in lockdown that’s now loved by Corrie, Love Island and Man Utd stars.
HEX MCR was the birthchild of Mancunian construction professionals Luke Powell and Andy Gibson, who started trading online in October 2020, offering a selection of Hex hats on the website.
They received such high demand for the trucker caps that the duo decided to expand the collection to include the earth-friendly line, clothing and bags for its official launch.
“We’d been discussing starting a clothing business together for some time,” says Luke, “we noticed streetwear had been growing in popularity and lockdown only accelerated the demand for athleisure clothing to chill, workout and work in, so, despite the economic uncertainty, we decided to take the plunge and set up the business during the pandemic.”
The business has only been trading for six months and has already experienced a 400% increase in sales from month one to month five thanks to its initial interest from celebrities and influencers.
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“Seeing footballers, reality TV stars and other celebrities wearing Hex MCR products is a huge confidence boost for us,” says Andy.
“We wanted to create an authentic, premium brand with humble, urban origins and we feel that’s what makes the products attractive — it’s relatable. We also believe that customer experience is crucial, which is why we send orders in premium packaging; even when you’re shopping online there is still an experience to be had.”
We sat down with the founders of HEX to talk all things Manchester and fashion.
Here’s what they had to say.
How did you start the brand?
“The brand was started at the beginning of the pandemic / lockdown. Andy and I are both in the construction industry and were concerned with the uncertainty around the ever changing COVID rules. We wanted to create stability throughout the period, we both felt that we needed to create an additional revenue stream to secure our income.
“We agreed that consumers would naturally gravitate towards online shopping. So for us it was just about understanding our offering and a potential gap in the market. With people working from home it became obvious that loungewear and caps would be in demand. Our focus was to set ourselves apart by creating a memorable user experience for our consumers. We do this through the presentation and quality of our products.”
Who are some of your VIP/Celeb clients?
“We’ve been flattered by some of the big names that have been wearing our products. The Thomas brothers, Danny Simpson, Georgia Steel, Charlie Frederick (Made in Chelsea), Brad Howard, Jordan Defay and Aaron Wan Bissaka.
How have you found the climate for luxury loungewear during the pandemic?
“It certainly had its challenges, the majority of which we’ve had to think on our feet given the uncertainty and the potential ramifications of the pandemic. Our initial focus was led by people unable to get to their hairdresser / barber.
“Andy and I were conscious that consumers would be keen to cover up their lockdown hair so we created our range of caps! The caps were really well received by all consumers which quickly created demand for our line of loungewear. Ultimately, our business model has been moulded around the pandemic and consumers looking for comfortable work from home garments.”
What do you think of the current fashion climate in Manchester?
“Manchester’s fashion climate is insane at the moment. We’ve got some serious players making a big impact around the world. We look at other brands around Manchester that have started from their bedrooms, it motivates and inspires us to elevate ourselves to create a brand that is known worldwide.”
What are your plans for the brand in the future, and do you think Hex MCR can further put Manchester on the map when it comes to luxury brands?
“We have to remind ourselves that the brand is less than a year old and what we’ve achieved in that time feels incredible. We’ve got big plans to put Hex MCR on the map over the next 12 months. We aim to grow and create a community presence. We want to grow organically, authentically and give the brand a purpose, we don’t want to be a brand that scales too quickly and then runs out of creativity.”
The full range is now available to shop on the Hex MCR, where customers can enjoy free shipping on all orders (mainland UK only).