Stroke of Rowing Fashion

RichardCrosswithGregSearleDashwood Boat Club, a new lifestyle-clothing brand, evoking the heritage and traditions of rowing recently opened its doors at 34 Hart Street.  On Thursday night last week, the founder Richard Cross invited special guests to the official launch including Olympic Rower, Greg Searle.


This new fashion line has been influenced by the history and culture of rowing and the Dashwood Boat Club name itself draws inspiration from English rower John Haviland Dashwood Goldie who distinguished himself by stroking the Cambridge University Boat Race Crew in 1869, 1870, 1871 and 1872.  With Henley being the home of rowing, the first shop just had to be here.


AlexGregory1The debut range includes three distinct collections; Casual which offers easy to wear t-shirts and polo shirts; Formal centred around the Dashwood blazer which is made in London by renowned Jermyn Street designer Chris Ingham and Club which includes classic rowing tops with the Dashwood Boat Club crest on.  Olympians Alex Gregory and Vicky Thornley have been signed up as brand ambassadors of the debut range.


The shop has the real feel of a Boat Club with the first room known as the Changing Room. The idea being that you have come back from training and your locker is there with all your gear to change into. The second room is the Club House with an honours board and black and white photos which have been donated by Henley River and Rowing Museum. The clothes in here include blazers, chinos and club shirts.  There are also some lovely other features including a coat stand in the fitting room made of three oars.


Richard has over 14 years experience working for companies such as Selfridges, Jack Wills, Pukka Clothing and La Martina UK) and the range bas been designed by Dashwood Boat Clubs Head of Design Jenny Valarino (formerly Senior DashwoodLifestyleHoodieDesigner at Heidi Klein and Sweaty Betty).  He explains the influence behind Dashwood’s development; “I’ve always been fascinated with the culture of rowing and felt it provided the perfect centre point to build a lifestyle brand around. Dashwood Boat Club combines style with heritage, making it easy to wear and evoking an immediate identity for those looking to become ‘part of the club’.


Outside of work, Richard is devoted to his shaggy blonde lurcher called Harry. He says, “He gets lots of my attention, otherwise its sport, sport and more sport – watching it, playing it and he loves to read the Sunday Times sport section.


Richard has come along way since his first job at Pukka clothing when he was annually voted the worst dressed person at work.  He said, “I like to think I’ve improved somewhat since then!” He also says, “I’m not afraid to be unconventional with what I pick out to wear now. So whilst navy blues are safe and certainly the mainstay of my wardrobe, I’ll pick out the bright shirts and tee’s to add colour to my day.”


DashwoodMen'sPoloShirWhen asked what people would be surprised to learn about you, Richard said, “Well most of my friends seem bemused that I did actually row a lot when I was growing up! Proper boats like Crabbers and Gigs, none of these sliding seat type things!”


Names of rowers and other great friends who have supported Richard in launching Dashwood have had their names added to shelf labels and the honours board in the shop.  Richard explains, “There have been a lot of people who have helped me with the launch and I could not have done it without them. “


The Henley Herald would like to wish Richard good luck with his new venture.