From tales of touring the world, through to bringing rugged outdoor apparel back to the UK, Fera are a brand on the definite rise. Read our interview with Sidney, Director of Fera, below…
Welcome Sidney, how are you?
Except for being snuck up on by Covid two days ago, I’m doing well thanks.
You’re one of the names behind Fera, how did the brand come about?
Fera came from the minds of my co-founder Declan and me. We’ve known each other since we were four years old and have spent much of the last 25 years out in the wild, brewing up ideas.
We started a travel company in 2018 that organised outdoor adventures with a food focus around the UK. Picture scuba diving for scallops followed by cooking over fire in a remote cove off the west coast of Scotland. It was great fun but then along came Covid back in 2020 and decapitated all travel. It gave us a lot of time to think and from it came Fera. We haven’t looked back since.
What inspired you to form the brand?
We want to bring the rugged style back to the UK outdoor scene which is dominated by highly technical over-engineered gear. You don’t always need a fluorescent-yellow-lava-repellent-Nasa-designed jacket to walk up a hill. Sometimes you just want a solid bit of kit, that’s functional and looks great.
What keeps you inspired today?
We only launched October last year, so it’s motivating to see Fera grow every day. Plus neither of us had a background in fashion so it’s been a wild learning adventure. Combine those with the joy of bringing your ideas for products to life and then seeing a demand for them and we are both confirmed addicts.
Design wise, Fera’s like a magpie. We draw inspiration from all corners of history, culture and the world. A lot of it comes from the adventures we have been on, although once you start your own brand you find out that gets harder and harder to do. We did shut down the shop for two weeks back in February to go to Cameroon and came back with our idea for the Bush Shorts and some good stories.
How has the brand evolved over time?
That is a really good question and one Declan and I have been discussing a lot recently. When we first came up with Fera we definitely saw it as a much more reverential and serious brand but in the last nine months, it has quickly evolved into more of an extension of who we are. Which basically means there is still the reverence for the wild but now infused with more playfulness and humour.
You want to bring rugged style back to the UK – what outdoor pursuits do you enjoy?
We’re both fly fishing mad so that tends to dominate, so much so we have to resist all urge from going full trout bum with Fera. I’m currently living in London which makes it harder but last year I discovered the River Wandle, a beautifully restored river that runs through Croydon. You can find bits of wild anywhere if you look hard enough. Beyond fishing, it’s just about living that outdoor lifestyle. There’s nothing better than gathering a bunch of mates, finding a spot with a good view and cooking some food on a grill.
Moving away from the brand for a bit, what else do you enjoy?
This is not going to help my street cred, but I’m in a wildflower rabbit hole this year. My family has a farm in Wiltshire and we have been managing it to be more friendly to nature. I get a little too giddy when I find a wild orchid there. Proper old man stuff. There’s that and food. Surely one of life’s great pleasures is a perfectly cooked chicken schnitzel?
What inspiration do you take from things like music or football?
We are both big lovers of live music and our festival scene. We’ve been Glasto heads since we were teenagers because really it’s one of the best outdoor pursuits in the UK. You’re camping with your mates, hiking all day and night around the land and the pot at the end of the rainbow is a smorgasbord of music. That’s an ideal recipe right there. We’d rate ourselves as festival companions, even just for our cooler boxes and bacon sandwiches.
Gigs are also a great place for inspiration, music fans dress the best and we’ve lost all shame in going up to total strangers asking where their gear is from. It’s also where the majority of the covert photos friends send of strangers wearing Fera come from.
Our good friend Neil Summers has told me to ask you about a trip you had to Malawi?
Ha yes, thanks Neil. When Declan and I were 18, we hitchhiked up the east of Africa with our mate Henry for five months. We went from South Africa all the way up to Rwanda and have some wild stories from the trip. Before we reached Malawi, we were shot at by poachers in South Africa, got stoned with a drug smuggler in Mozambique and were pulled over by Mugabe’s motorcade while on motorbikes in Zimbabwe. Malawi was a lot more relaxed! We ended up staying in a cabin on the banks of Lake Malawi for three weeks living the good life, spearfishing each day with locals and eating well.
What brands do you like to wear?
Filson, Adsum, Patagucci, Blundstone, Hikerdelic, Universal Works, Howler Bros. Currently in love with my Gramicci trout t-shirt, very jealous we didn’t come up with it.
Neither of us play golf but Manors, the streetwear golf brand, deserves a shoutout. One of their founders Jojo has been incredibly helpful to us and the kit is top notch.
Proudest achievement to date?
Coming across my first Fera in the wild. Admittedly it was a stranger on the Tube in London wearing one of our caps, not someone in the great outdoors, but a big moment nonetheless.
Finally, can you summarise Fera in only 3 words…
Seek Your Wild