Date Added: 10th Jan 2012
From southwest England to northern Scotland, British mills still produce the world's finest cloths. Esquire photographer Chris Floyd celebrates the fabrics of the nation.
'Made in Italy' is a label that speaks of handsome clothing crafted in spotless factories. But what of 'Made in Britain'? It's a badge that, given our illustrious textile manufacturing past, doesn't receive the recognition it deserves. Since the industrial revolution, skilled British workers have been making superior fabrics for buyers all over the world. Production peaked before the Second World War, but in the decades that followed the demand for British textiles took a downward turn. Why?
The key lies in our thirst for all things throwaway, as Peter Ackroyd of The Campaign for Wool explains: "The once famed suppliers to the British high street left the country in the Eighties and started cutting and sewing their suits in China, which is far cheaper. The British textile trade once employed 50,000, and now it employs a tenth of that."
"Things, however, are looking up. British cloths have a unique handle and appearance", says Patrick Grant, head tailor at E Tautz and Norton & Sons. "Increasingly, the high-end houses in Italy and beyond are returning to England for fabric because those they get at home are just too ordinary."
To celebrate this hardiest of homegrown industries, Esquire photographer Chris Floyd set off on a round-the-country tour that took him from the Hebridean Isle of Harris to the Fox Brothers' mill in Somerset. 'Made in Britain' has never sounded, or looked, better.
Author Teo van den Broeke, Associate Editor, Esquire.