Carl Thompson founder of Hawkins & Shepherd #MyLondonMorgan

Carl Thompson could give James Bond a run for his money, especially when he is whizzing around London at the weekend in the Morgan Plus 4. Carl is an entrepreneur, which means that, by day, he runs his successful menswear brand Hawkins & Shepherd, and by night is a blogger and influencer, giving out advice on the latest fashion trends, plus trying out new bars, restaurants and hotels – so we don’t have to (thanks, Carl!). Here we asked Carl about driving a Morgan Car, about his favourite Morgan x Taylor Morris sunglasses, and his wardrobe essentials.


A photo of Carl Thompson walking in London with a London Morgan in the background
Rebecca Spencer Photography

The London Morgan: Where are you from, where did you grow up and where do you live now?
Carl Thompson: Sure, let me give you the highlights reel as I’ve moved about a bit. I was born in the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. I spent good chunks of my earlier years in Gravesend in Kent and for the last six years I’ve been residing in the industrious Clapham South. People ask me all the time what’s it like in Clapham South. It’s a lovely family community. Lots of nurseries and Youth Clubs. I prefer the parks south of the river. There’s always something going on in Battersea. Brockwell and Wandsworth Common aren’t nearly as touristic as say Regents and Hyde Park. There is Clapham Common which is great for dog owners like myself, but you also get a lot of activities there like fitness bootcamps etc.


The London Morgan: We spotted you out in London in the Morgan, what was it that attracted you to the car?
Carl Thompson: It’s a classic. Just knowing how much time, craft and emotion has gone into creating one of these, contextualises the experience for me. The smell of the leather in the cockpit styled from at least 4 hides, the man hours it takes to trim, it’s just a very humbling experience for someone like me to be behind the wheel of a car like this.


The London Morgan: What was it like to drive?
Carl Thompson: My last car was a Lotus Exige, so I’m used to driving 2 seater cars however this car demands nothing more than your divine diligence. The levels of assiduity that were required on every corner, every camber, well lets just say when you get out the cockpit – you know you’ve earned that drive.


A photo of Carl Thompson driving a London Morgan Plus 4
Rebecca Spencer Photography

The London Morgan: Where did you spend your weekend in the car?
Carl Thompson: I wouldn’t be on Instagram if I didn’t use it in a shoot, which I did with the Morgan 4 Plus and Taylor Morris sunglasses, the two of which have been designed in collaboration. Sunday was spend cruising the countryside of Kent and Essex before pulling up for a Sunday Roast. To me the Morgan evokes romance, long stretched in-out gravel driveways, country roads, open air good old fashioned good times.


A photo of a London Morgan driving down a country road
Rebecca Spencer Photography

The London Morgan: How did you get started in the fashion world?
Carl Thompson: In 2013 I launched ‘Hawkins & Shepherd‘ and began selling luxury, handmade, formal business shirts championing my signature shirt ‘The Pin Collar’. It’s been tough being a one-man band getting it to where it is today. Conceptualising was easy, executing the entire project was a huge investment of my time and thankfully now I’m starting to see the rewards. This season I’m very excited to be launching the Country Shirt range and my made-in-Britain range, you’ll be hearing me sing about nothing else for the next couple of months.


The London Morgan: What inspired you to start your business and blog?
Carl Thompson: I wanted to do something outside of IT (my previous job) and when initially I wanted to drive more traffic towards the Hawkins and Shepherd site. I was starting to find that lifestyle and menswear cross-pollinated in so many areas. People say clothes-maketh the man, well so does his bed sheets. So does the car he drives. Everything from his monogrammed neck tie to the type of cocktail he orders, will tell you something about that man and the choices he makes on a daily basis. Back then I don’t even remember it being called a blog, but I guess it was. That blog soon splintered into sub genres outside of fashion; travel, cars etc. Hence now we have Carl Thompson the blog.


A photo of Carl Thompson in London with a London Morgan car
Rebecca Spencer Photography

The London Morgan: What are your tips for taking a great photo?
Carl Thompson: Great question. Get Rebecca Spencer to take it. HAHA. It’s so much trial and error and patience. Not just patience with the technology, but with yourself. You won’t get everything right 1st time round, or maybe even 100th time round. For me it took awhile to sink in, you’ll always learn new things. If you can get your camera off Auto at an early stage of your development and learn how to setup your camera for your surroundings, things might start to click (pardon the pun) a lot sooner than you think.


The London Morgan: Tell us about Fashion Week; what are your highlights, what are you looking forward to and what are your survival tips?
Carl Thompson: Fashion Week is a lot fun. Last September I enjoyed the St James show. They had brands like John Smedley doing a ready-to-wear collection for the first time in its history. I’ve learned over the last couple of seasons not to try and make every invite. There are so many great exhibitions going on in a relatively small window, I try and please as many people as I can by giving them exposure and social commentary, but it can be intoxicating. The world won’t stop spinning just because I’m not there to see a certain show.


The London Morgan: What are your wardrobe essentials?
Carl Thompson: I do have a signature look, my Camel Coat (available on my site thanks for asking) and black ripped jeans. The camel coat is cashmere so it’s light, breathable and interchangeable more or less with any jean or chino. Of course there’s always the pin-collar shirts, my wardrobe is a treasure trove of white pin collar shirts. I’m also leaning towards tweed and thicker outer garments this season. I think it’s that drive in the Morgan that’s planted that seed!


The London Morgan: Tell us about your Taylor Morris sunglasses, how did you style them?
Carl Thompson: They are a thing of beauty! I’d describe my style as smart/classic. I wanted to complement the classic qualities of the car, so opted for a some very non-gimmicky, clean tailored looks. Roll neck sweater, camel shearling coat, burgundy blazer also the aforementioned Cashmere Camel Coat. I’m happy with how it turned out, I think we got the tone right.


A close up of the dash of a London Morgan Motor, being driven by Carl Thompson sporting Taylor Morris Sunglasses
Rebecca Spencer Photography

The London Morgan: What’s your favourite restaurant?
Carl Thompson: Hakkassan in Mayfair. Hands down, no hesitation. It’s very spacious and full of natural light. If you’ve never been I’d recommend the duck with black truffles. There’s a very knowledgeable sommelier whose name escapes me, but he is extremely gifted, affable. The only better sommelier in town is Terry Threlfall down in Selfridges. That guy is a savant.


The London Morgan: Where’s your ultimate holiday destination?
Carl Thompson: One of the most incredible unknown places I love is Los Roques in Venezuela, an untouched paradise, it will hopefully remain that way as development and tourism are controlled. Only 1,500 permanent inhabitants; however it receives approximately 70,000 visitors a year. I’m currently planning a trip to Tanzania and the Serengeti, I can’t wait.


The London Morgan: Which influencers inspire you on Instagram?
Carl Thompson: Wow this is a tough one. In no particular order, (and if I haven’t mentioned your name it’s because I have a memory like a spaghetti colander) I’m always checking out what Toni Tran, Ali Gordan, Sam Gray, Edgewood Edition, Human Research, Qmike and Globalgarcon are up to on a daily basis.


The London Morgan: What advice would you give to a younger you?
Carl Thompson: Leicester to win 2015-16!! They were 5,000-1 at the start of the season. I’d rock up to my old school like Biff Tannen clutching a rolled copy of the Almanac telling my younger self ‘get in the car butt-head, today’s your lucky day’. Ha timely Back To The Future 2 reference for you there. Seriously I’d say travel more, be a citizen of the world, always do your research and don’t settle for second best.


Carl Thompson sat in a London Morgan Plus 4 driving
Rebecca Spencer Photography

The London Morgan: What’s next?
Carl Thompson: Holiday please!! No emails PLEASE! ha. Joking. I’m seriously excited about my new collection of shirts that will be launched through Hawkins & Shepherd plus a website rebrand. I’ve got some great collaborations in the pipeline for the blog that I can’t tell you about just yet. You know they once asked George Lazenby what he’ll do after he quit being a swimwear model. He said I’m going to be the next James Bond. I’m not going to be the next James Bond but there’s literally nothing wrong with having my name Carl Thompson (available for casting and open auditions), and James Bond’s name, in the same paragraph. It’s blatant wanton relativism, but there’s nothing illegal about that.