Patrick Grant is a British fashion designer and creative director of bespoke tailors Norton & Sons of Savile Row. As a media figure he is best known as a judge on the television series, The Great British Sewing Bee.
While at business school, Patrick’s thesis focused on the regeneration of luxury fashion brands such as Burberry, and was titled “Is Burberry’s formula for brand revitalisation replicable?” Patrick graduated in 2005 and bought the Norton & Sons business, it consisted of one tailor, one part-time cutter and him. Founded by Walter Norton in 1821, it had held a Royal Warrant from Kaiser Wilhelm I and its impressive clients over the years had included Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant. At first, it was incredibly tough going – “I’m not sure I was fully prepared for how hard it would be with 100-hour weeks and very little holiday or pay” – but eventually the business became a success under Patrick’s leadership.
The purchase of Norton & Sons had also brought him the rights to two further businesses, E Tautz and Hammond & Co. The former had been founded on Oxford Street in 1867 and had specialised in dressing those into country pursuits or men in the military, and one of its most famous clients had been Winston Churchill. It had been bought by Norton & Sons in 1968 and had been long forgotten by the time Patrick was around. This is now Patrick’s ready to wear collection and he’s now opened a store in Mayfair which has been a real success. When Patrick was approached by Debenhams to do a range for them, he decided to design it under the Hammond & Co brand so now all three brands are sitting back in one family.
In recognition for his work with Tautz, he was awarded as Menswear Designer of 2010 at the British Fashion Awards.
For most people, however, Grant is probably most famous as one of the judges – alongside presenter Claudia Winkleman – of The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC Two, which has so far had three series.
“All publicity is good publicity,” he cheerfully admits. “I think there is no doubt that The Great British Sewing Bee had a really positive effect on what we do at Debenhams. Millions of people watched the show and a lot of them are going to be shopping there. But more importantly I loved doing it and I think it made great TV.”