Made In England | A Continuous Lean.

Talking Manchester and Menswear | Private White V.C.

Feb 13th, 2014 | Categories: Jake Gallagher, Made in England, Menswear | by Jake Gallagher

P.WHITE_15_02_13_1113

For a brand that was only officially introduced in 2011, Private White V.C. packs a heritage that’s far beyond their years. The brand operates out of a factory that their namesake, Private Jack White worked at back in the early twentieth century, and it was this legacy that led White’s great grandson, James Eden to take over the factory a handful of years ago. This appreciation of the past continues on through in the brand’s designs. Nick Ashley the lead designer of Private White leans heavily on classic English shapes such as harringtons and moto-jackets. Not only does Ashley’s resume include the likes of Dunhill, Kenzo, and Tod’s, but his parents founded Laura Ashley, a company whose impact on the English textile industry cannot be overstated. We had a chance to speak with both James Eden and Nick Ashley about their brand’s history, the future of Private White V.C. and what it means to be a British brand in 2014.

ACL: Unlike many brands, with names that are pure fabrications, Private White was a real person that has a real impact on the shape of your brand. Could you give some background on Private Jack White the man?

James Eden: Private White was a local hero both on the battlefield and in business. He was quite a character who certainly made the most of his celebrity after the War. He loved his life, he loved his ladies and most of all he loved his family and factory.

ACL: White was one of the founding fathers of the Manchester Factory that you produce out of today, so at what point did you all step into the picture and found Private White V.C.?

JE: Even though my great grandfather, Private White, passed away in the late 1940s, my family has always had an emotional attachment to the factory. As a kid growing up, instead of having a paper route or working in a local shop for pocket money like many of my pals did, I would work on the shop floor or in the cutting room – cutting fabric, counting buttons, heaving rolls of cloth, basically doing exactly what I was told! Six years ago the factory was on the brink of going under and so I decided to take a leap of faith and left my job in Finance in the City of London to try and revitalize the Factory.

PWVC2





Made To Last | North Sea Clothing

Oct 30th, 2013 | Categories: Jake Gallagher, Made in England, Menswear | by Jake Gallagher

Victory-shawl-1 (1)

It’s a fine line between being “authentic” and simply playing dress up. Yet, if there’s ever been a label that’s hit that golden sweet spot between these two concepts it’s England’s North Sea Clothing. While we’ve followed and worn North Sea for some time, we got another chance to marvel at the brand’s bullet proof collection first hand in London a few weeks back at the Pop Up Flea and it was a reminder as to just how good this stuff is.





Wants & Desires | Purdey Boots.

Oct 27th, 2013 | Categories: Footwear, Made in England, Wants & Desires | by Michael Williams

Purdey_3

London’s James Purdey & Sons, the “King of Gunmakers” is a company best known for beautifully hand-engraved shotguns and gentlemanly hunting attire. This autumn though, the brand turned out an astonishingly handsome collection of footwear that rivals anything see anywhere, hunting-centric or otherwise. The entirety of the footwear collection is made in Northampton, England by an endeared and respected maker (we’ll let you take a guess who that is, should be obvious from the shapes seen here). This collection of upland-focused shoes and boots is especially great because Purdey put its touch on these otherwise classic styles. If you figured out who the manufacturer is, then you know how conservative they can be with the materials and shapes. That was the first thing we though of upon our initial encounter with these boots in London. We knew the make and appreciate the style. Not to mention the fact that both Purdey and said shoemaker weren’t going out of their way to herald this as the new new collaboration du jour — it was a discovery made the old fashioned way, with a visit to Audley House.





Made in England | J. Barbour and Sons

May 23rd, 2013 | Categories: Factory Tour, Made in England | by Michael Williams

Barbour_Factory_South_Shields_08

It’s not exactly Barbour season for me, but while my Bedales & Beauforts sleep in my closet waiting for their triumphant return this fall, the factory where they were made hums right along at a fever pitch making great-looking and long-lasting outerwear.

Last summer I was thinking about embarking on a trip around the U.K. visiting the British factories that turn out the classic menswear items that captivate me (like my “Made in Italy” trip). As it turned out, I didn’t end up having the chance to organize the trip —I still might do it, eventually— but I did manage to tour the Sunspel factory last fall, which was my first exposure to “made in England.” Recently I was invited as a guest of Barbour to see their factory and home office in South Shields, near Newcastle, England. No brainer.

Barbour_Factory_South_Shields_15

Barbour_Factory_South_Shields_14





Fix Don’t Replace | The Barbour Repair Shop

Apr 24th, 2013 | Categories: Made in England, Menswear | by Michael Williams

fixdontreplace

Barbour_Repair_Bedale_02

The Barbour repair shop is tucked away in a comparatively small room at the back of the main factory in South Shields, England. It’s a relatively calm space when you consider the frenetic energy that fills the factory floor not too far away. Upon entry, you immediately notice the racks and racks of well-worn old Barbour jackets that have been sent in for repair. In some cases it’s just a minor fix or re-waxing, in other cases are life or death and major surgery is required. The casual observer would say: “Why go to all the trouble just to save some old ratty coat?’ While those of us who know better would instruct the men and women of the Barbour repair shop to “please do all you can to save her”.

While a guest of Barbour at the factory, the ladies in the repair shop noticed the two torn pockets on my 10-year-old Bedale (don’t walk your dog on a leash with your hands in your pockets) and offered to fix my jacket on the spot. Before you know it, my jacket was on a table getting the snaps cut off with pliers and open heart surgery was underway. They promised me everything would be back in action in a few hours.

Barbour_Repair_Bedale_08





In the Making | Crockett & Jones.

Oct 24th, 2012 | Categories: England, Footwear, Made in England | by Michael Williams

The history, the shape of the lasts, the legacy and most of all the quality. Those are the reasons which keep me buying and wearing shoes from Crockett & Jones. Every time I am in London I stop by at least one of the Northampton shoemaker’s shops (there are two storefronts on Jermyn Street for some odd reason) in Mayfair to browse and to occasionally take home a new pair of shoes that I plan on owning forever. The New York store is also nice to visit, but not nearly as much fun as seeing these shoes on their home soil.

Crockett & Jones is one of those companies that I have long sought to know on a more intimate basis, partially because I admire the history of the company, but also because I like to wear the shoes so much. Only thing is, Crockett & Jones is a pretty conservative company, one that is much more focused on making great shoes than making much of a fuss on the internet. It rightfully figured it has a loyal following and a strong business, the product is the marketing.

All of this reminds me of Alden. (Incidentally I have basically never had any contact with Alden, but that’s fine because all I need from them is to continue making shoes I love.) The beloved New England shoemaker is another company that doesn’t need to have a heavy hand when it comes to marketing, the shoes and the quality tell everyone all they need to know. Production is limited and it doesn’t want to go crazy increasing it and risk ruining everything. It’s admirable because it works, and also because both Alden and Crockett make such great things.





Pachyderm Proof | Greg Chapman for Globe-Trotter

Apr 2nd, 2012 | Categories: England, Made in England, Travel | by Michael Williams

Americana loving Brit designer Greg Chapman spent a year and a half traveling around the world with the Globe-Trotter Safari Air, a case that he purchased at the revered company’s shop in London’s Burlington Arcade after a meeting with brand Creative Director Gary Bott. A little while later, Chapman approached Globe-Trotter and Bott about collaborating on a modified case that incorporates some modern day considerations — though nothing too crazy like wheels — and then set out to create a small run of special edition Globe-Trotters based on the company’s functional 1912 Stabilist series.

More history on the inspiration for the Greg Chapman x Globe-Trotter collaboration:

In 1912, the Stabilist series were bespoke manufactured Globe-Trotter luggage that featured special functionality for the Victorian traveler; such as wardrobe trunks, hat and shoe cases for travel by horse drawn carriage, rail and cruise liner.