Friday, February 19, 2010
HAWORTH / ALBAM / PENDLETON
I love hearing stories from my now 91 year old grandma about her time working in the mills in Yorkshire near Haworth 'Bronte Country' (were my mum was born) This is one of the only times she has a clear image in her mind of the past. She cant remember what she ate for breakfast however the stories she tells me of walking for miles across the heather moor and how she use to duck in and of out the machines at the mill house. (Along with tales of how her friend fell in love with one of the boys there, but his leg got cut off in one of the machines) Working conditions in factories is a whole other blog entry!
It make me think of several things:
UK state of Affairs - The wool mills/factories/companies existing in the UK including John Smedley, who were kind enough to send me lovely lambswool for my graduate collection in 2001. We have come to accept that products made in china are the norm but we need to support our heritage, workers and help sustain dying crafts. Which means not shopping in Primark. Our custom should go to companies who actively support UK craft such as www.albamclothing.com
Albam's owner James Shaw is the partner of my friend Tori. Tori is extremely talented in her own right and has recently returned from a stint at one of the top textile houses in Italy. Working on briefs for clients including Dior and Fendi www.torimurphy.com
Jame's vision and dedication to Albam and their philosophy is outstanding. I hope that more companies like Albam and myself who manufacture in the UK (yes a swimwear factory in the UK!!) can keep the blood running through our factories vains.
Fashion is often disposable but style and skills should be passed on through generations. My grandma Esther Dunlop (nee Tweedy) clearly passed a passion onto my mother for knitting (she later owned a wool and haberdashery shop) and my mum has passed on her talent, skill, keen eye for detail and colour to me. Im not just the product of a London Fashion course but years past nurture and craft passed down to generations. Nothing makes me prouder to wear my aran cable knit cardi I asked my mum to knit for me! Thanks MUM!
Our American counter parts - Americans seem to be alot prouder, or shout louder than we do about our brands and keep them going by supporting them. www.pendleton-usa.com founded in 1863 by Thomas Kay an English weaver. Pendleton continue to sell wool plaid shirts and Native American blankets, robes and saddle blankets. Cult store www.openingceremony.us have picked up on the desire for such items.
I truely hope as a nation we can sustain our creative skilled craft workers whilst maintaining our multicultural demographic and desires with all the rich diversity it brings.