MADE IN BRITAIN
a passion for wool
I really love visiting London. In general, the UK is a joy for me to visit (but you know I love you the most Scotland!). I love the landscape, the weather (a constant state of Barbour season is a good thing!) the sport, the food (St. John and fish + chips always a must), the drinking, and most of all, its woolen goods. After a dry spell of not being in London Town for a year, it was great to be there twice in the last month, meeting up with Guy Hills of Dashing Tweeds, and taking a field trip up to the Sunspel HQ in Long Eaton to see their latest designs.
Guy Hills and I met in Florence over the summer during my party for Wm Brown, and he invited me to his shop Dashing Tweeds on Dorset St. in the Marylebone neighborhood. It was there, over a cup of tea, that I first saw and immediately admired the tweed jacket he was wearing. It was a heavy tweed (26oz) of an interlocking Donegal wool herringbone cloth in a beautiful green, styled in the fashion of a Teba. (The Teba is a Spanish style shooting jacket first designed and used by the Count of Teba) After trying on Guy’s I had to have one. Guy makes the jackets bespoke, in house, from a cloth that they design on hand looms in their studio—then it’s woven and finished in a small mill and a finishing house in the Scottish Borders. After I chose my cloth (a brown tweed similar to Guy’s), I was measured, and the process of cutting, sewing and finishing the jacket began. The fitting and production is a process that usually takes a few weeks and I was lucky enough to be in town a second time to arrange the collection of my Teba, which I love. The jacket is all sewn and finished by hand, including the button holes, and it is warm, toasty and elegant from city to country. The fit is great and works perfectly for a bulky piece of knitwear or a lighter tweed blazer to be worn underneath. So, if you ever find yourself under kitted for the weather and in need of some luxurious tweed garments, head into Dashing Tweeds for one of your own. I am sure Guy will will make you a cup of tea and if you are lucky, bust out his ukulele for a tune.
My other stop was a visit to the Sunspel design HQ and factory an hour and half train ride out of London to Long Eaton to meet the design team, check out the archives and visit the factory. I have been a long time fan of their t-shirt (all basically hand constructed in Long Eaton right down to the hand ironing before being tagged and hand-loaded into its packaging) and quite possibly the best modern polo shirt ever made—The Riviera (an original design made for and fitted to Daniel Craig for Casino Royale). Sunspel had its start in 1860 making mostly underwear, and they still do make some fine (try the Sea Island cotton ones) skivvies! After a tour around (and a lunch of a very fine BLT), I was shown some of their latest products. A real stand-out was their latest crew neck sweater made entirely in Britain of British wool—a farm-to-finish product that has been farmed, scoured, spun and knit entirely in Britain within 150 miles of the factory in Long Eaton. The wool comes from a rare sheep breed called a Bluefaced Leicester, which produce an exceptionally soft wool which is the most sought after in Britain. The wool is left natural, and the sweater colors come in ecru, oatmeal and cedar. I couldn’t resist the one I tried on on in their Chiltern St. shop—it is one of the softest and warmest wool sweaters I now own, and now that I find myself writing this dispatch from Scotland, I have not taken it off.
The Wm Brown Weekly is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
That's an incredible jacket
Matt, Hotel recommendations in London?