No high quality factories in the UK? We disagree...

Speaking about her clothing brand, Mrs Samantha Cameron wife of the former Prime Minister David, was quoted in the Guardian this week as having said that she was “unable to find ‘high quality’ factories in Britain”.

We think she should look harder. 

Amelia and Ed went to visit the vertical woollen mill Mallalieus in Delph near Oldham, which is in the West Riding of Yorkshire (but was stolen to make Greater Manchester look good – another story of oppression, we’ll leave that one for now).

Mallalieus weave some of the best woollen cloth in the world and have been doing so since 1863.

Fantastic tweeds, duffel, worsteds and more are created using British wool as well as Merino, pure lambswool, cashmere and even yak wool coming from all over the world. Everything from the raw bale of wool through spinning, weaving, dyeing and finishing happens here. All in a village in the north of England.

After looking at samples of fabric to buy, we had a tour of the mill and marvelled at the scale of the place and the skill of the people working there. There are also some outstanding machines, some modern, but also old that were made so well that they’re still in use, simply because they were designed to last. Favourites included a chain stitch sewing machine that’s over 100 years old (made in Salford) and a finishing machine still bearing its maker’s name, James Bailey (now sadly gone like so much) and Huddersfield, the town where it was made.

We’ve been steadily using natural materials and getting rid of plastic from our range.

We’re not there yet but we’re trying bloody hard and you will see our progress in the details we list on our product pages. Wool is such a magnificent performance material and we’ve had success with our use of it in knitwear and as insulation in quilting. What we’ve not had much of for some time is woven wool.

On the drawing board now are several designs for wool overshirts, jackets, trousers and a Godzilla scale big coat! The one thing we’ve not lost in Britain is high quality mills that produce woollen cloth and sewing workshops that can make it into brilliant garments. And we’re going to be using them even if you’re not Mrs Cameron.