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Oscar hunt feature

Styling a Speyside Icon: The Balvenie x Oscar Hunt Suit

Like a conductor unifying a collection of musicians, Chris Edwards is the master of orchestrating an outfit. Not simply a matter of comprehending fabrics and texture, his life’s work embodies a deeper process of marrying a client’s spirit with style. As the founder of Oscar Hunt Tailors, Chris’ boutiques are in the business of crafting confidence, providing individuals with a personalised experience that results in a positive self-image. We’ve all felt the intangible power clothing has to raise our presence of mind, and it’s the power to curate those pieces that has made Oscar Hunt the premier destination it is today.

“My job is to combine all of the key elements and bring something special to life. In our world, there are so many moving parts. I see myself as the one that makes these moving parts work together.”

The Moving Parts

Step inside any Oscar Hunt establishment, and you’ll notice a level of purpose behind every detail, from garments to decor. Everything has been put in place to elevate the customer experience, creating a showroom environment bursting with collaborative possibilities. Personal and intimate, tailoring doesn’t exist without trust. Oscar Hunt understands this and has put client connection at the forefront of its operation.

“Our approach is unique because every decision we make, when it comes to our craft, has the client top of mind. Everything from the quality of the fabrics, to the construction, to the service, to our team, to our showrooms, to what drinks we stock in our bars to what collections we produce. We exist to make our people feel better about themselves and feel good in the clothes that they wear.”

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Often seen as an old-world skill or luxury service, Chris’ approach aims to democratise tailoring. While embracing the tradition of the old guard’s craft, they’ve been able to instil a down to earth value system. While welcoming all echelons of society through its doors, they are still able to focus on a quality high-end product. It’s this blending of luxury and accessibility that caught the eye of The Balvenie Scotch Whisky’s Brand Ambassador Ross Blainey.

“Seeing the way Chris envisions a piece and then brings it to life really struck a chord with me, but it’s more than just a creative endeavour,” Blainey says. “Tailoring, like whisky-making, is a journey defined by small steps. Every touch or stitch has the potential to change the final result. It’s the love, care and consideration with which you bring those elements together that turns raw material into art.”

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The Whisky Connection

What started off as a conversation 3 years ago between Edwards and Blainey has now become reality. With both Oscar Hunt and The Balvenie sharing a fervour for pure craftsmanship, it makes sense that the two would join forces to create something truly special. To celebrate this passion, Oscar Hunt has designed a men’s and women’s suit fully inspired by Speyside’s iconic distillery.

Inspired by the way The Balvenie plays with different influences, most notably through the introduction of a unique American Oak in its barrels, Edwards’ team has crafted a suit that reflects the geographical contrasts of the whisky. Paying respect to the distillery’s homeland, he went with a Scottish fabric and decided to use cloth from Harrisons, an esteemed fabric house that was founded in Edinburgh in 1863.

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“I am using a slightly heavier weight fabric in a unique fleck pattern.”, said the Oscar Hunt founder. “I love these types of fabrics for their subtle yet interesting finish. From a distance it appears to be fairly neutral, however on closer inspection you can appreciate the fine detail.”

But this wasn’t merely a nod to Scotland. Like The Balvenie’s Sweet Toast of American Oak release, Edwards’ design takes the best of Kentucky and places it in full display. The suit bears a decidedly more American style, looser cut with softer shoulders as a nod to the southern state’s bourbon barrels. Keeping in tune with the ethos of The Balvenie, the jacket is luxuriously approachable, single-breasted with no darts for a more casual finish. Details include oak-coloured horn buttons and a Milanese buttonhole on the lapel to play with the heaviness of the Scottish cloth. The suits overall theme aims to glorify the dance between the elements within each bottle of its whisky.

“Essentially, I am drawing inspiration from the malt masters vision of pulling together unique and interesting elements from all over the globe to create a product that is uniquely Balvenie.”

Embracing the Way Forward

There is an element of progression in everything Chris does. Eager to seek new avenues and explore innovative new frontiers in a staunchly traditional world, the Oscar Hunt founder has found a certain harmony with The Balvenie. Inspired by the incredible rise of The Balvenie’s up and coming apprentice malt master, Kelsey McKechnie, Edwards has integrated a tailored women’s suit that speaks to defining characteristics that give creativity its purpose.

As he puts it, Chris has been fascinated with McKechnie’s ability to source new influences for the historic brand’s Whisky as well as innovate to push the brand forward. Additionally, with the tailor never afraid to push the boundaries, he’s related to her unique journey.

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“I just love the story of a young whisky apprentice taking over from one of the icons of the Scottish whisky world. I see so many parallels with Oscar Hunt carrying on the torch from the old guard in the tailoring industry,” he says. “Whisky has always been seen as a man’s drink, attached to masculinity and the image of the real man. In our showrooms, just as many women ask for Whisky as the men. And that’s why I also love Balvenie’s choice of Kelsey as the apprentice malt master.”

Tailoring and whisky are different fields of work, yet the underlying pursuit of ultimate craftsmanship has united them for a powerful collaboration. While the methods may differ, the process of harnessing the elements to bring something to life is universal. Capturing the essence of The Balvenie, the suits, much like the whisky are greater than the sum of its parts.

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