When a brand invites you to visit their factory, it’s a sign they’re proud of their craft and story. And one of the biggest perks of being a fashion writer and blogger, is having that access. Not just getting down to the nitty gritty of how things are made, but understanding the real history of the brand and the provenance of its products. Hence my delight at getting the chance to head up to the Johnstons Of Elgin factory and design studios near Aberdeen one September morning, where the 218-year-old Scottish brand produces woven fabrics and scarves for its own line as well as an impressive roster of luxury brands.
A 7am Heathrow call time was followed by a swift BA flight to Aberdeen, where we were met by the sprightly George, who ferried us along scenic roads of lush Scottish landscape. Despite being braced for freezing gales and gloomy skies, we arrived at the picturesque Johnstons of Elgin HQ in a blaze of autumn sunshine and brilliant cobalt sky.
While Johnstons of Elgin’s coveted cashmere knitwear is made in Hawick in the Scottish borders, the Elgin factory is reserved for wovens. From here it supplies Savile Row tailors with their suiting cloth and the world’s best luxury brands with shawls and scarves, including one famous for its monogrammed check ponchos and another for its equestrian motif blankets. (more…)
Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…
1. NUDIE JEANS REPAIR SHOP COMES TO NOLITA
I love my American denim, but when I was into skinny jeans, I wore nothing but Nudies. It has the best super-dark denim and a thoughtful approach to manufacturing and sustainability. Nudie has just opened its latest Nudie Jeans Repair Shop in New York (more…)
“Our Featherweight paper is the same paper that’s used for bank notes. It’s extremely thin but durable enough to be written on without the ink showing through.”
I’m being taken on a personal tour of Smythson’s Hertfordshire bookbinding workshops, where its famous diaries are produced, from printed page to hand-finished leather covers. My guide is pointing out each artisanal technique while I take in the familiar sky blue paper hue that serves as a permanent presence throughout the premises. (more…)
Introducing a new way of producing fashion collections. In ‘editions’ rather than ‘collections’. With all editions available all the time. This is the thinking behind CristaSeya, a new-ish name I discovered on Instagram that I’m still getting my head around.
The shapes are generous and utilitarian – wide-legged martial arts pants, giant tee and tunic shapes with huge sleeves you can roll up. Plus drawstring fastenings with fat rope-like draw-cords and extremely expensive-looking but relaxed (and very oversized) felted tailoring. (more…)