Neil Barrett: The Man Behind the Brand

Neil Barrett, minimalist, menswear designer and master creator.

Discover the man behind the Neil Barrett brand.


Growing up in Devon, South West England Neil Barrett grew his passion for clothing from his father and grandfather. Both master tailors, the family firm started in 1892 in Plymouth, home to the army, navy, marines and air force. Working on the uniforms of the majority of the military officers, Barrett grew up surrounded by suits that were rigid and perfect, without a crease in sight. The designer’s grandfather was a very strict man, always in formal dress and never without a bow tie. This marked the creative, the precision and care that he took to dressing.

Neil Barrett later went on to study at both Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art in London though admits to being more formed at the Royal College where importance rested on creating a garment that was sellable.

The Gucci & Prada Years

Immediately after his graduation, Neil was recruited to work at Florentine-based Gucci where he was appointed Senior Men’s Designer – not bad for his first job out of school. Gucci taught luxury without limitations, there were no restrictions on pricing or materials.

Five years later, Neil approached Patrizio Bertelli, CEO at Prada with a proposal. In a letter, he wrote, ‘If you ever considered doing a men’s collection, I think I know what it should look like’ and eight months later Prada Menswear was born. Very organised, more American in its way of processing, Barrett names Prada as the best school in the world.

With a legion of followers across the world who share his fetish for stripped-back minimalism, clean tailoring and a wicked way with a techno fabric, it seemed only natural that Neil Barrett would move into creating his own line.

Despite offers from numerous international menswear houses, Barrett remained at Prada until the offer came in to start his own label and showed his first menswear collection in 2002.

Neil Barrett Collection

With a penchant for American sportswear staples like bomber jackets, sweatshirts and t-shirts, Neil Barrett’s purist, pared down aesthetic has drawn in a firm fan-base. With a clear eye for tailoring that relates back to the designer’s upbringing and personal taste, lines are clean, silhouettes sharp and colours monochromatic.

With innovative and distinctive designs, there’s no denying the attention to detail when it comes to fabric development and fits. A modern interpretation of timeless menswear staples sits alongside striking, streamlined designs, seamlessly breaching the gap between the classic and the contemporary. Masculine, ageless and progressive, Neil Barrett designs combine precisely-cut tailoring, accurate detailing and athletic elements – a testament the the creative’s own purist, pared-down aesthetic.

Words by Georgia Leitch / Images from Neil Barrett

Georgia Leitch

Georgia Leitch

Writer and expert

A fan of maximalist fashion and all things fluffy, you can find me layering prints or looking for new earrings. A disco queen at heart, if I'm not dancing around the house to 70s soul, I'm counting my flares.

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