Braille: The Rediscovery of a Tactile Sartorial Language

With no formal training in fashion but with an avid interest in adding an inquisitive dimension to it, Benjamin Vorono and Samuel Kientsch founded the menswear label Braille in London in January 2009. Hailing from the USA and London, the two bonded over their shared appreciation of the cultural and natural worlds and decided to join forces to bring to the fore their backgrounds in Sociology and Graphic Design using a unified creative language.

The first step started naturally when the duo realised the difficulty in finding clothes that they could relate to, causing them to set out to design garments for themselves. Eventually, this creative process inspired them to start their own business leading to the creation of Braille, a textile-driven brand focused on the long-term exploration of men’s sartorial tastes.

The designers launched their first collection ‘A Gentle Wake‘ in February 2010. This initial foray into mass designing and production included a concise set of tactile and functional garments composed of Yorkshire tweeds and Scottish waxed cottons. The collection proved to be successful and was immediately picked up by the independent boutiques Beyond the Valley and Wolf and Badger. Encouraged by this positive response, a few months later the duo launched their own e-commerce site and garnered sales from Hong Kong, Australia and the US.

Following on the success of their launch, Braille showed their Spring/Summer 2011 collection ‘Colt‘ in Paris. This time, they traded wool fabrics for light linens from Northern Ireland to give shape to a collection inspired by the colours and textures of the canyons of Palm Springs and by a modernist design perspective where speed and dynamic movement are paramount. To establish this blend of quiet nature and fast mechanical pace, the duo resorted to a subdued colour palette of charcoal, sand and dust, and created linen pleated blazers that evoke the topography of the desert while sculpting the torso. Similarly, trousers with back seams generate a sense of elegance for the body’s lower half.

Our Damn Hands‘, Braille‘s Autumn/Winter 2011 collection, sees the duo returning to the realm of thick wools but also incorporating a wider range of textiles and tough metal fastenings that provided interesting details.

Choosing to grow with creative caution rather than commercial greed, Braille has maintained their initial stockists and kept its focus on building sustainable relationships with local manufacturers. The designers continue to cement their position on the London and international scene, offering collections that comprise the best of British fabrics and manufacturing in cuts that suit the cosmopolitan man about town.