Belstaff A/W2020 Brand Ambassador – James Norton
New brand ambassador James Norton shows us how it's done in Belstaff
Belstaff is one of the unsung heroes of British heritage fashion. The almost 100-year-old luxury fashion brand started life as a clothing manufacturer of waxed and waterproof gear for the motorcycling enthusiasts of the country (and the world). The company added leather to the mix and was then repositioned to favour the luxury market to take advantage of the brand’s notoriety for rugged and contemporary good looks, coupled with its famous durability and wearability. All adjectives that could easily be applied to Belstaff’s new ambassador, English actor and (we hear) the ‘next James Bond’ James Norton.
There’s not much that needs to be said about that square jaw, except that it complements the Belstaff aesthetic so perfectly you wonder why they haven’t been put together on screen long before now. And, like Belstaff, Norton is an English classic with a nice sharp edge. You’ll see fine English fare like Grantchester and The Trial of Kristine Keeler on his creative CV, but also the sharp edge of eclectic work like McMafia, The Nevers and the iconic Black Mirror. It does help that there’s something of Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff about him when you look at the campaign images for A/W2020. Shot at the improbably named Jurassic Coast in Dorset, the stark black and white images tell a story well suited to the heritage brand. Spartan environment, inclement weather and rugged terrain are food and drink for Belstaff’s heavy-duty boots, jeans and oversized coats.
I am proud to wear Belstaff, it is a classic British brand with a great heritage. I have owned a Trialmaster jacket for years and I love it – it’s like a second skin, I love all the scratches and marks on the jacket that document your own adventures. Having had the chance to have a peek at the Belstaff archive, I saw a ton of incredible designs, each timeless in their own way and I look forward to celebrating these classic designs in our future collaborations. – James Norton.
The tone and mood set by the campaign images are perfect. No glitz or overproduced set-ups. No stiff poses, no added embellishments and, yes, not even any colour. They could almost be candid shots of a guy walking the beach simply lost in his thoughts and wearing the appropriate gear to protect himself against the elements. It’s just a coincidence the gear happens to look this good! Belstaff has a good track record with their ambassadors – David Beckham has sat for them previously, as has Harvey Keitel. Liv Tyler made a short film for them in 2016 revolving around aviator Amelia Earhart (the parallels with vintage aviation apparel being obvious). Fortunately, this won’t be the last time we’ll see Norton in front of their cameras either, as their partnership is due to stretch to the SS2021 season. We’ll be really looking forward to seeing what Belstaff thinks up for him next.
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