Long before Captain Sparrow, pirates prospered in folklore, ostensibly the British version of that Western vision of cowboys taming the wild edges of the earth.
Standing unlikely among these masters of the high seas was William Kidd, born in 1654. He was captain of his vessel, a leader of men and the most endearingly blundering privateer to ever set sail. Tasked by a group of entrepreneurial British Lords to scour the ocean seeking both enemy and pirate ships to pillage, Kidd kick-started his own piracy career by accidentally raiding a British ship transporting a considerable bounty.
Kidd became a marked man, making a swift escape to the Caribbean islands, but in doing so he ignited the legend of pirates’ buried treasure. His journey eventually ended in 1701 when he was deported from America to a London court who proved less than sympathetic to his story. He was duly hung over the Thames as a warning; his body left to rot for three years.
An unlikely man, therefore, to adopt as the figurehead of a new brand, yet 301 years after Kidd’s gruesome death, the ragtag nature of his adventures and his willingness to take risks provided the spark of inspiration for clothing label Saint Kidd.
Just as pirates and privateers travelled as the masters of their own destiny, the legend of their travails living on long after their deaths, so the founders of Saint Kidd hope their unique vision endures.
Established in London in 2011, Saint Kidd is the brainchild of Dougie Poynter, keen to create a label which is, at its core, a platform for emerging British design talent.
Saint Kidd channels the creativity of like-minded artists interested in making their mark using high-quality, ecologically sound components. Meticulous attention to detail is paramount, from the packaging – every piece individually wrapped in cloth sacks as if delivered straight from the belly of Kidd’s vessel – to Kidd’s memorable quotations stitched inside each garment. As for the designs themselves you’ll find super soft T-shirts, vests emblazoned with original, modern reworking of traditional nautical motifs. There’s also a punk-rooted playfulness to their designs: a cutlass brandishing, stump-legged kitten with an eye-patch, a selection of winged sea creatures, a glimpse into the world of freakshow curios.
Saint Kidd springs from a desire to keep its fundamentals strong and the edges raw, behaving not as a company, but as an encompassing artistic collective.