My London: James Barshall – Penfield CEO

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James Barshall is the CEO and Creative Director of Penfield, Cape Heights and Chucs Dive and Mountain. He has also previously worked with a number of brands including Vans, Eastpak, JanSport, and Sorel. Originally established in Massachusetts, Penfield is specialises in functional, utilitarian clothes designed to stand the test of time, keep you warm and look good while doing it. Barshall apprenticed with his family’s textile business, and is committed to the quality of everything his company produces.

1. When did fashion/a sense of personal style first become important to you?

I’m not sure if there was a ‘moment’, but my Father was also in the fashion business so I think it’s something I have been aware of from a young age.

2. Who is your style icon (living or dead)?

I need two – my father and Paul Newman.

3. How would you describe London style?

London style is as individual as it gets – there’s nothing formulaic about it and people aren’t scared of making their own very distinct look. That’s why London is always so inspirational from a fashion perspective.

4. If you could live anywhere else in the world where would it be (and why)?

Maybe Tokyo. Japan has the obvious benefits of some of the best food in the world, a rich and ancient culture, cutting-edge architecture, beautiful beaches, some of the best skiing/snowboarding in the world…

5. Limited to just a suitcase, which items from your wardrobe would you have to take with you?

Lightweight down jacket (Penfield), navy hopsack blazer (J.Press), white sea island cotton shirts, 1 jean, 1 chino, vintage Florsheim longwings, running kit. Done.

6. What are your most used grooming/beauty products?

Always carry a mini bottle of hand sanitiser on my travels!

7. When and where did you look your best?

Wedding day?

8. Which is your favourite season of the year (and why)?

Spring – still snow on the mountains, longer warmer days, and cherry blossom.

9. Who in your own family most influenced your sense of style?

My father always dressed immaculately and with a great sense of style.

10. If life was a movie, which film would you most like to live in?

A River Runs Through It.

11. Which grooming or fashion mistakes most irk you in others?

I don’t get irked!

12. Cat or dog?

Tarka the black lab.

13. What lesson would you pass on to younger people following in your shoes?

Never, ever listen to people who tell you it’s been done before and it’s โ€œso competitive!โ€

14. What motivates you in your career?

Iโ€™m so lucky to work in an industry where I can combine the commercial aspects of running a business with creativity and working with very talented people who love what they do.

15. If you could trade looks with anyone who would that person be?

Paul Newman!

16. What category of clothing are you most drawn to/are most likely to overspend on?

Shoes – guilty as charged.

17.Which is your most treasured sense?


18.Name three elements of a perfect holiday

My kids, a beautiful place in the mountains or by the sea, great food.

19. If you could change a single aspect of your appearance what would it be?

Better looking!

20. Your ideal lunch venue and guest

The restaurant at Paraggi beach near Santa Margarita with my daughters.


Penfield’s Spring/Summer Collection 2014 is available now from

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