British Textiles and Tailoring
The idea of the suit, an outfit of matching jacket and trousers, is widely credited as British. For more than 200 years British menswear has produced original and authentic fabric and garments, including tartan, tweed and fine woollen and worsted cloths. In the late 18th century, the fashionable tailors who developed British menswear and utilised British textiles, formed a tight circle of workshops in London’s West End, which is known globally today as Savile Row.
Britain has traditionally been at the forefront of the textiles and tailoring market for more than 200 years. Holland & Sherry is proud of its British heritage and continues to source cloth from textile manufacturers in Yorkshire and Scotland.
Focusing on the manufacture of wool fabric’s for men’s suiting, the West Yorkshire textile industry benefits from a damp climate and Pennine water which are particularly suited to the spinning and finishing of cotton and wool. Yorkshire mills are proud companies of tradition, whose history and expertise often stretch back over generations. Yorkshire textiles enjoy a reputation for high quality, based on tradition and history but also on the quality of raw materials and a high standard of finish.
Tartan and Tweed are synonymous with Scotland and have helped build an international identity and reputation for Scottish textiles. Tweed, woven from carded short wool, using rough fibres and warm rustic colours, has come to evoke the countryside and outdoor pursuits associated with Britishness.
The word ‘tweed’ itself is an English variant on the Scottish word tweel which referred to the wool cloth woven by hand by Scottish highlanders and island dwellers. The term has come to be associated with the tweed river, which runs through Peebles, where Holland & Sherry’s distribution warehouse is based, later becoming a description for all carded home spun wool.
The term ‘district check’ embraces a total of more than two hundred estate tweeds. In 1848 Prince Albert acquired the vast Balmoral estate in the North of Scotland, to where the Royal’s were followed by a number of other aristocratic families, attracted by the abundance of outdoor space with opportunity for hunting and fishing. The district check originates from the distinctive and exclusive patterns designed for wear by the staff of each estate, as a means of identification, similar to that of the Scottish clan tartans. These checks would also have been worn by the proprietors of each estate for the purpose of camouflage when hunting and shooting in the remote Scottish hills.
The cloth Harris Tweed itself originates from the beautiful remote islands of the Outer Hebrides – off the west coast of Scotland and has become one of the most famous wool textiles in the world, used predominantly in the menswear market. The unique selling point of Harris Tweed is its use of local materials and hand crafted techniques. The finished cloth is inspected and stamped on the reverse side with its trademark Orb, as certification and to promote and protect the name of Harris Tweed.