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Beyond the Bale : March 2019
Long before Manchester had football, it had cotton. The city and surrounding region was built on the success of spinning and sewing during the industrial revolution of the 19th century, giving rise to its nickname: Cottonopolis. In Australia, the term ‘manchester’ is still used for household linen. Manchester has been home to Private White V.C. (under a previous name) since the company opened its doors in 1853. When the factory was founded, it was one of more than 300 in the Manchester area. However, as the region’s production slowed during the 20th century and moved offshore, the beautiful red brick mills in the North West of England fell silent. But this resilient company on the banks of the River Irwell persevered. As the last remaining clothing factory from the world’s first industrial city, Private White V.C. has a remarkable story to tell. Over the years, the company has made for kings and queens, for presidents and prime ministers, for rock stars, musicians, sporting fabrics from local mills and employing traditional manual production techniques. Its highly skilled workforce takes total ownership of the entire manufacturing process. With meticulous attention to detail, emphasis on high quality materials and a classic aesthetic, Private White V.C. is a brand for the modern gentleman who demands integrity, style and durability from his clothing. The collection is designed by former head of Dunhill menswear, Nick Ashley (son of fashion designer Laura Ashley) and is directly inspired by Private Jack White’s wardrobe. Towards the end of last year, the brand was proud to unveil a new collection of quintessentially British menswear pieces made, not from cotton, but wool. This release followed a collaboration with AWI’s marketing arm The Woolmark Company. It is an elegant and casual Australian Merino wool collection consisting of five garments. All the 100% Merino wool fabrics were woven locally in the some of the UK’s most venerable mills. Private White V.C. CEO James Eden said he was proud to release a collection that highlights the natural properties of Merino wool, one of the most eco-friendly and luxurious fibres in the world. “Beautifully soft, versatile and resilient, Australian Merino wool naturally breathes providing year-round comfort anywhere, any time,” he explained. “Natural, renewable and biodegradable, Merino wool is the responsible choice for today’s conscious consumer.” Manchester was legendary for its cotton industry, but iconic Manchester menswear brand Private White V.C. has now partnered with The Woolmark Company to unveil a classic five-piece collection made from Australian Merino wool. WOOL FROM COTTONOPOLIS greats and Hollywood icons. In 1916, it supplied the Allied Forces with trench coats, and in the 1940s was commissioned to supply the RAF with waterproof parkas. In more recent times it has been outfitters to the most established tailoring houses on Savile Row and has manufactured for pretty much every British luxury outerwear brand. Of course there have been bleak periods, but the company has weathered those storms thanks to a wealth of skill, determination and the hard work for which the city of Manchester is renowned. It still does everything from the same red-bricked building on its original site, a few minutes stroll from where the Commonwealth’s Cotton Exchange used to stand. For Private White V.C., not much has changed. Nothing is outsourced, everything is handmade, checked and controlled by its own staff. TO THE PRESENT DAY – AND ITS NEW WOOL COLLECTION The brand Private White V.C. pays homage to its namesake WWI hero, Private Jack White (see opposite page). On returning from war, Private Jack White began working as a pattern cutter at the factory in Manchester, working his way up through the ranks to become its owner. The business, now owned and driven by Jack’s great-grandson James Eden, proudly utilises the finest British craftsmanship, sourcing 20 OFF FARM
In the Shops - March 2019