Turnbull & Asser Master Shirtmakers

Turnbull & Asser are London’s premier Master Shirtmakers. They occupy a unique place in the establishment… in a curiously anti-establishment way. They invented the ’60′s radical Kipper Tie and tie-less turtleneck; they made Picasso’s blouson shirts; David Frost and Lord Snowdon were famously refused admission to a black tie party while sporting T&A’s fancy new white satin dress shirts, resulting in 2,000 orders within 10 days. Going further back in time, they designed and made Churchill’s wartime zipped ‘siren’ suits – and frequently repaired cigar burns in the fabric. F.Scott Fitzgerald was another fan:  Gatsby’s numerous, beautiful T&A shirts made Daisy so deliriously and fatefully happy. Turnbull & Asser first opened shop during the British Empire’s boomtime in Regency England. The brand has been around for a long time.

Today they continue to make beautiful handcrafted shirts and ties for everyone from James Bond (on and off set) to execs.

I worked with Sedley Place Digital to give their new website the ‘voice’ and content that would be right for their disparate target audience. It’s a hard-working e-commerce site for custom products and also drives wealthier gentlemen in-store for bespoke fittings.

Copywriting for a client such as this involves handling large content and oodles of detail, together with taking every opportunity to build the brand. It also involves some ‘hand-holding’, as their older website felt very dry and dated and the client needed some convincing to update their brand to a) use their fabulous but unsung heritage and b) use it in a way that attracts, not deters, the contemporary buyer.

The resulting website copy works hand-in-glove with the design and was finally launched in summer 2013.Diction is pitched quite high and the language is precise, using words such as ‘physiognomy’; sentence structures feel traditional but still use modern active English so that the copy moves quickly; SEO keywords are naturally woven into the copy; complex heritage stories are distilled down into digestible and interesting cameos; an otherwise dry-sounding making process feels silky and compelling.

To quote the copy, it’s a long story, not a tall tale.

Below you can see the landing page for the beginning of the ‘Our World’ heritage section.

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On a personal level, I want to add that I deeply value working with designers who feel copy is equally important in the building of a brand. The right verbal identity to go with the right visual identity makes a critical difference in taking any brand forwards – regardless of the excellence of their product. It always needs to be communicated. And this needs to be through words as well as pictures.

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