Neil Barrett's passion for fashion began at an early age: born in Devon, South West England, both his grandfather and great-grandfather were master tailors, a talent that runs in the blood for this designer obsessed with the cut and finish of his immaculately-made apparel.
In pursuit of his early enthusiasm for fashion, Neil studied at both Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art in London. Immediately after his graduation, Neil was recruited to work with Florentine-based Gucci, where he was appointed Senior Mens' designer.
After five years of work with Gucci, Neil was approached by Patrizio Bertelli of Prada, where he was instrumental in establishing the Prada menswear line. Enormously influential, Neil's work under the Prada label also established a blueprint of Minimal menswear that combines luxurious fabrics and unparalleled Italian craftsmanship with high-tech sportswear and a forward-thinking approach to the modern masculine wardrobe. This is an approach that also formed the foundation of the Neil Barrett label, which began in 1999.
Neil Barrett's eponymous label met with immediate success from buyers and press, with Barrett opening his first flagship store in Tokyo, Japan, within a year of starting his own-name business. In 2002, Neil Barrett staged his debut catwalk show as part of Milan menswear week.
In addition to his own label, Neil Barrett has collaborated with Puma on a collection of sports shoes. In 2003, he was named Creative Director for a series of Puma technical collections, starting with Italy’s National Football Team, for whom he created both training and formal wear exclusively.
The hallmarks of the Neil Barrett label are a modern interpretation of the timeless menswear staples of cut and fabric, alongside striking, streamlined styling for the twenty-first century. Fit is key - a selection of slimline cuts carried throughout the collections ensure a continuity of proportion, although the silhouette changes dramatically season on season, each time building a wardrobe for today's man.
In 2006 Neil Barrett expanded into womenswear with the same clean, contemporary outlook. His collections offer women the same bespoke-quality finish, handcraft and luxurious textile as his menswear collections, alongside Neil Barrett's trademark aesthetic purity and chic Minimalism.
In 2009, to strengthen the very heart of the brand, Neil Barrett invested in its production division, based in Italy. In Tuscany, near Florence, a force of great craftsmen efficiently implements all production, distribution and delivery. By then, in countertrend with most fashion houses, 85% of the collection was, actually, Made in Italy. Moreover, the decision to reinvest in the company also coincided with continued belief in focusing on fabrics suppliers, new technologies and artisan producers in Italy.
2011 began with the strengthening of distribution: a Neil Barrett boutique opened in Landmark building, Hong Kong. Four boutiques and one monobrand store opened between autumn 2011 and spring 2012 in Korea. Neil continues his partnership with architect star Zaha Hadid who designs all of Neil Barrett's shops.
Recently, Neil Barrett’s suits have been a favourite with the likes of Gary Barlow, Ben Wishaw and Matthew Morrison, but international trendsetters began turning to Neil Barrett for their wardrobe needs since 2004: Orlando Bloom, Colin Firth, Jake Gyllenhaal, Lenny Kravitz, Ewan McGregor, Chris Martin and Mark Ruffalo just to name a few. Neil was especially proud when Brad Pitt chose to wear Neil Barrett for his change in image with “Mr And Mrs Smith”, becoming the first celebrity to wear one of the “hand aged” leather jackets that have since become signature pieces in the Neil Barrett collections.
After the launch of his Womenswear Collections, Neil Barrett has attracted celebrities like Madonna, Kirsten Dunst, Angelina Jolie, Kate Hudson and Robin Wright.
Neil has also provided over the years wardrobes for big movie productions including Spiderman 2 and 3, I-Robot and Ghostrider.