At the beginning of June Ashley, Emily and I went on a day visit to the Bower Roebuck mill together with other members of the bespoke tailoring trade in Savile Row. The whole day allowed me to meet some very interesting people as well as gain a greater extent of insight on how cloth is designed and woven. It is an ingenious and extremely intricate process that I can hopefully explain to some extent.
The tour started with a warm welcome from the CEO of Bower Roebuck. He told us a little bit about the heritage of the area in relation to cloth making. Established during the industrial revolution, Yorkshire’s textiles industry has set a benchmark for the highest quality Made in England cloths. Yorkshire mills produce the majority of England’s worsted and woollen cloth. The reason why a lot of mills in England are located in the county of Yorkshire is due to the terrain of the Pennines and the very damp and wet climate (just to confirm it was raining all day when we were there). In the 18th century,the hills allowed the water to run down easily to the mills which were then powered by water. I said a quick prayer before the tour began asking for us not to get flooded, after all, the mills aren’t run by water anymore.
I was in a group led by Wayne Fitton, a designer at Bower Roebuck. His passion and depth of knowledge was noticeable from the start and I would like to thank him as it made the tour a tremendous pleasure. The Bower Roebuck mill is very specialised and they provide somewhat of a bespoke service to their customers. Some examples of cloths they produce are the Diamond Chip and Dali collections, all for Scabal. But before you can enjoy the luxury of the finished outcome, over ten production steps are required to produce the cloth we all enjoy wearing. It begins with the sourcing of the highest quality yarns and and ends with the “finishing” of the cloth. Quality control is carried out all along the process with countless numbers of checks for faults and consistency so every meter is on par with the next.
Overall, it was an extremely valuable experience which really put the cloth we work on everyday into perspective. It made me appreciate the number of hours and the immense pride that’s invested inside the mills around England which is than translated into each individual garment we produce for our customers.