Hilditch & Key | St James's London


Hilditch & Key

Established in 1899, Hilditch & Key has enjoyed a rich history as renowned shirtmakers to the best dressed.

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When we arrive at the sunlit and immaculately appointed shop at No. 73, dapperly dressed Steven Miller, CEO of Hilditch & Key, is ready and waiting. He has been at the helm for nearly four years, but is a veteran of Jermyn Street, having migrated slightly east from his tenure at Turnbull & Asser. Miller states that staying on Jermyn Street is key, as it’s “our home and heritage."

On what makes them different, Miller affirms that Hilditch & Key focuses not on selling, but on “dressing and educating.” Each customer to the shop – whether a routine local or one-time traveller – is provided with customer service that seeks to build relationships and pass on the knowledge of the staff with the end goal to provide a quality garment, value for money and longevity.

This Jermyn Street institution with an eye for quality and a passion for service has remained a small, family business, in spite of a market full of cookie-cutter conglomerates. But maturation does not necessitate stagnation. While the focus is on classic craftsmanship and avoiding fickle fads, evolution is evident in the form of a carefully curated ready-to-wear collection, for example.

Chief Executive Steven Miller explains this is the result of a change in shopping behaviours, as increasingly time-poor customers want the option of accessorising and completing their outfit. While this isn’t a first for Hilditch & Key, accessories, jackets, and sleepwear have been thought through with a more comprehensive collection approach.
On St James’s, Miller states part of what makes it so unique is its palpable village atmosphere. While Hilditch & Key caters to an international clientele, many of their patrons are locals to the area. Further heightening this sense of community is the staff. Aside from the near-familial relationships between shops – Floris perfumers, Bates Hats, and Cheaney & Sons shoes are just some that have ties to Hilditch & Key – many of the staff working on Jermyn Street move amongst shops to progress their craft in different milieus. This inevitably helps to maintain the quality and craftsmanship the area is known for. Staff members from Jermyn Street, Miller adds, have a skill set that those coming from Bond or Mount Street typically lack.

Outside of St James’s, Hilditch & Key has a shop on Paris’s Rue de Rivoli and currently exports to Bloomingdale’s in New York, with eyes firmly set on expanding into further department stores across North America, bringing British shirtmaking closer to clientele across the pond.