Sep 6, 2012

The People You Meet: Charles Finch, Entrepreneur, Media Maverick & Founder of CHUCS Dive and Mountain Shop

You could be forgiven for thinking that the words 'glamour' and 'adventure' don’t often make it into the same sentence – let alone the same mountain wardrobe. But, thanks to Charles Finch, entrepreneur, media mavrick and founder of CHUCS Dive and Mountain Shop we can all now look as stylish on the beach – or hiking through the mountains – as we do in the boardroom. After all, as Chucs says, A man’s finest hour is often not in the office or the boardroom, but on he sports field, the hill and at sea!’

Over the past 1.5 years I have had the pleasure of working with Charles Finch, the founder of CHUCS Dive and Mountain Shop and his fantastic team on Dover Street. Charles takes inspiration for his collection of 'mountainwear' and 'beachwear' at CHUCS from his unique and colourful family heritage which spans generations of explorers, scoundrels, actors and inventors..... 

CHUCS’ ‘Dive collection' is infused with unparalleled style based on memories of family holidays in Jamaica where his father, legendary Academy Award winning actor Peter Finch, and pals Errol Flynn, Ian Fleming, Noel Coward and Ian Pringle together formed the nexis of Caribbean elegance. 

CHUCS’ ‘Mountain collection', on the other hand, reflects Charles’ direct personal history with Mount Everest. I have Charles Finch’s grandfather, George Ingle-Finch to thank for my warm down filled jacket (and hence the title of this blog!).

Whilst he was no ‘Diva in Down’, Australian-born George Ingle Finch, referred to by George Mallory as 'Finchie’ was known as much for his sartorial style as for his climbing flair. He invented the ‘puffa’ or down filled jacket before ascending Mount Everest via the NE Ridge with George Mallory in 1922. Whilst they did not reach the allusive summit on the expedition, this historic climb is cemented in the record books as it was the first mountaineering expedition to breach the 8000m barrier and proved to be excellent ‘reconnaissance’ for the 1924 expedition with George Mallory and Andrew Irvine. Finch also wrote a brilliant book, "The Making of a Mountaineer' of his adventures - a book which features prominently on my bookshelf..!

More importantly (and yet another thing that I will be thanking George Finch for in just over a few weeks time) was that George Ingle Finch was the first person to use oxygen whilst at high altitude. Critics thought this was cheating and believed smoking cigarettes would provide greater benefits than supplemental oxygen. This would certainly have changed the nature of Everest Summit photos and the ‘warning labels’ on a pack of Camels. Whilst George never made it to the summit of Everest, he remained an inventor and explorer and his ideas were often realised and accepted years after his own experiments.

“After this, my first mountain ascent, I had made up my mind to see the world, to see it from above, from the tops of mountains”. - George Ingle Finch, 1922

In 2005, Charles founded Finch & Partners creating a London and Paris based media company representing and advising global luxury brands, entertainment companies, celebrated individuals, nation states, and philanthropic organisations on all aspects of image from public relations, brand development, product endorsement and placement, to events and marketing. In 2011, Charles Finch took inspiration from his grandfather and opened CHUCS Dive and Mountain Shop. Ultimately CHUCS Dive and Mountain shop provides the discerning traveller with everything required for a trip to the beach, mountain or hunting lodge…

If you were to go on an expedition for 2 months and hand-pick a team of individuals to be on your team, who would you pick and why?

Charles: If I was about to go on a two month expedition I would take George Ingle-Finch - for obvious reasons..! I'd also add Graham Greene, one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century, to the team because his ambition was to make love behind every alter in every cathedral in Europe. Errol Flynn would also be on the expedition team because he'd be fun. I'd have Michael Sandberg onboard as my personal physician and Daniele, the chef from the Delfino restaurant in Positano would certainly be cooking all of our meals!!

What is the biggest mountain that you've ever climbed - either figuratively or literally?

Charles: Mont Blanc!

A huge thank you to CHUCS for sharing with me their rich history and for keeping me comfortable (and stylish!) while on the mountain..! The only caveat is, next time I decide to ‘explore often’, please remind me to focus on the ‘dive’ rather than the 'mountain' - a beach holiday, a bikini, espadrilles (and a mojito) are pretty appealing at the moment!!

Live Well. Stand Tall. Give Freely. Explore Often.  CHUCS DIVE AND MOUNTAIN SHOP

CHUCS Dive and Mountain Shop
31 Dover Street, London


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