I have just completed two weeks working along side the design team at Fox Brothers & Co in my home town of Wellington, Somerset. If you do not know about Fox Brothers & Co. here are a few facts:
- They were founded in 1772 and still make luxurious, woollen and worsted cloth, 100% made in Britain
- They invented Khaki
- Fox had their own bank - Lloyds in Wellington is still known as the Fox Branch
- They make the best flannel
- They drink alot of tea!
- If you would like to know more about the company you can read about them here.
However if you watch any of the televised Parliament sessions, watch movies, shop at Jack Wills or Hackett or recall Winston Churchill's pin-striped suits then you have likely seen fabulous clothing in Fox cloth.
I recently won a competition to design a cloth for Fox Brothers & Co in celebration of the first Somerset Day on May 11th and was able to work on the design during my second week, which was very exciting. I was keen to keep the design and colours as close to my original as possible and I think we have achieved that using yarns that are both suitable for the types of cloth that they want to produce and that are available colourwise. I was pleased to hear that the plan is to weave the design into at least three types of cloth which will be suitable qualities for coating, jackets and trousers. It'll be a brave man that wears it as trousers!!
The last two weeks have been taken up with making "hanks" of yarn to use on swatches; researching Fox clients and how they use the cloth in their collections; investigating the different roles within the company and making tea. The weaving floor is fantastic, if a bit noisy. Huge spools of warp threads are made up waiting to go to the loom and once the weaving starts the cloth magically appears. I could watch it all day. I fear I may get impatient at the speed, or lack of it, in my own weaving project now!
To see images of the weaving floor and some of the 250 year old Fox archives, please click below.
I hope you have enjoyed exploring Fox Brothers & Co as much as I enjoyed spending time with them.