Joe Casely-Hayford, OBE (born in Kent, England, 24 May 1956), is a British fashion designer. He has established his international reputation as a British designer of men's and women’s clothing since the mid-1980s. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, for services to the fashion industry, in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, published on 16 June 2007.
In 2008 The Black Power List named the Casely-Hayford family the most influential black family in the UK. In 2006 his sister, Margaret became the General Counsel, Director of Legal Services at The John Lewis Partnership,a company with 70,000 employees. He is the brother of cultural historian Gus Casely-Hayford and Peter Casely-Hayford, whose film company, Twenty Twenty has made some of the UK's most popular television programmes, such as The Choir and Brat Camp. The grandson and namesake of the eminent lawyer and statesman J. E. Casely Hayford, MBE, whose 1911 novel Ethiopia Unbound greatly influenced Pan-African politics and the leading civil rights activists of its time.
Training and education
Joe Casely-Hayford’s formal training began at the Tailor & Cutter Academy in London (1974-5) where students were taught to draft and construct garments from scratch. He spent time in the workrooms of the celebrated Mount Street tailor Douglas Hayward before attending Saint Martin’s School of Art in 1978. He then completed Diana Weir’s History of Art course at the ICA, where he studied European art and history (1979-80).
Joe Casely-Hayford was nominated for Womenswear British Designer of the Year in 1989, and also Innovative Designer of the Year in 1991. He has been a freelance creative director in Italy, and written and styled pages for major publications including The Face, i-D, Arena Homme Plus, The Independent newspaper, and Senken Shimbun in Japan. In 1993 he was the first designer to be approached to create ranges exclusively for Topshop, and he has also designed special collector’s pieces for the Joseph label. In 2002, he designed a limited edition T-shirt in collaboration with the Turner Prize-winning artist Chris Ofili. In 1995, as a departure from the nature of his previous commissions, Casely-Hayford undertook the design of the hugely successful and critically acclaimed exhibition The Art of African Textiles – Technology, Tradition, and Lurex at London’s Barbican Centre museum. The exhibition was a major feature of the "Africa ‘95" programme in the U.K.
Joe has contributed definitive pieces of work to many fashion and art related exhibitions around the globe, as well as being the subject of exhibitions himself. Through the Ages, a retrospective of his work, was held at “The Edge” space in Tokyo, September 1996.
Joe Casely-Hayford has produced his own brand label for men and women since the mid-1980s, and has shown his collections on the runway in Paris, London and Tokyo. In addition, he has undertaken work for film, ballet, and bespoke commissions for bands and artists in the music industry, dressing many leading celebrities. His clientele have included The Clash, Lou Reed, Liam Gallagher, Jarvis Cocker, Take That, and Suede. Joe designed the stage wardrobe for U2 from 1991 to 1993. This led to creating seminal outfits for the band during their two-year world tour and for the albums Achtung Baby and Zooropa.
His signature style of original yet wearable clothing has been sold through over 150 stores worldwide, the majority being in Japan. From 1993 to 2004 his collections were distributed through Look Inc., also the distributors for Marc Jacobs' Look. The collections have been sold in prestigious stores and select shops throughout Japan such as Beams; United Arrows; Edifice; History; Deuxième Classe; Tomorrowland; Robehouse; and Dressterior. International stockists have included Selfridges, Barneys, Liberty, b-Store and Colette.
Casely-Hayford is featured in the book Fashion Now, which lists the 150 designers in the world considered most important to i-D magazine, edited by Terry Jones, and published by Taschen in 2003. He was also included in the second edition, issued in 2005, called Fashion Now 2, and the third edition, Icons, published in 2006. In February 2007, Joe Casely-Hayford was named in the Independent newspaper as one of "The Fabulous Fifty" most influential fashion creatives in London.
Joe continues to work in his own right on limited-edition collections for specialist stores in the Japanese market, which began with a capsule range in 2004 for B2nd menswear. He has since worked with Jun Co. Ltd on a menswear collaboration label with Adam et Ropé, using traditional Japanese artisan dyeing techniques combined with modern styling. The range was distributed through the leading Adam et Ropé stores across Japan.
Since 2005 Joe Casely-Hayford has been creative director of Gieves & Hawkes, the 200-year-old Savile Row house. In January 2006 his new Gieves collection was launched on the runway in Paris for Men’s Fashion Week. The collection is available through Gieves & Hawkes own stores and selected international outlets.
In 2008 he was approached to form a collaboration with Sir Terence Conran for the launch in London's Shoreditch area of a new boutique hotel, restaurant and deli called Boundary (www.theboundary.co.uk). The first stage of the project opened it doors on 1 January 2009. Casely-Hayford was responsible for the creative direction of all the clothing throughout the development.
In Spring/Summer 2009 he launched a new luxury menswear brand called Casely-Hayford, in collaboration with his son Charlie Casely-Hayford. The brand philosophy reflects the Casely-Hayford spirit with duality at its core, combining "English heritage" with "British anarchy", Savile Row tailoring methods with modern-day sportswear. It is the first time in high fashion where both father and son are actively co-working at the creative helm