Those of you who followed my writings here on Manolo has probably imagined that I have a particular fondness for the British, solid craftsmanship, an interesting history and a beautiful product. If all of these things combined, it becomes all too often very good. Today is such a case. I recently got wind of the new-old British outerwear specialist Grenfell and went running on all cylinders.
The company, as you are to get a really interesting story. They have in recent times made a revival and posed for the first time at Pitti Uomo in January and it was also in this way, I heard about them.
The company was founded in 1923 in England. The name comes from Grenfell Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell who came to lend his name. He was a doctor, explorer and missionary in the late 1800s and well into the 1900s. He traveled to diverse at that time very inaccessible places, such as for example the coast of Labrador in Newfoundland in Canada and worked there.
Another part of the story concerns Thomas Haythornthwaite (I know, his name is like something out of a Dickens Novel). He traveled back to England from the United States where he lived for some time and in 1908 he opened a factory and weaving under the name T.Haythornthwaite & Sons Ltd in Brierfield together with his son Walter. 10 years later the movement had grown and had 750 looms and moved to Burnley. 1922 Mr. Haythornthwaite came in contact with Sir Grenfell and was struck by the doctor lacked a functional fabric that managed the pressures he faced. Grenfell said that he lacked a fabric that was both windproof and could not breathe. Haythornthwaite took on the task that was not quite easy at this time. He had to test their way with a tight weave of the best Egyptian cotton. He built on looms and tried their way. In the end, he was happy with the result and had to send the fabric to Labrador and Sir Grenfell. This had then no commercially, but he just wanted to help the doctor whose work he admired. Only when Grenfell tested fabric and was so pleased that he suggested that Haythornthwaite started made it and sell it, this was done. He also lent his name to the fabric and history of the famous Grenfell fabric began.
Since then it has had a significant role in British history and a number of people have made various feats wearing just Grenfelltyg.
Captain George Eyston wore it when he was in 1938 in a car reached the then unrivaled speed of 367 mph and became the fastest man on land.
Other speed buffs such as Sir Malcolm Campbell and his son Donald Campbell MBE bar both in car and boat Grenfelltyg when they competed in the prestigious context 1931-1935 and broke a number of records.
1933 was a tent made up of the Grenfelltyg on Mount Everest. FS Smythe slept in the tent on the world’s highest altitude in 13 hours despite the fact that scientists and experts said he would never wake up again if it was so, but he did. The fabric had to be with the tent on another Mount Everest expeditions in 1936, 1938 and 1952. The list is long and the fabric has been used in a number of known British expeditions around the world during the 30-50 century.
During the 1940s the company began to manufacture their own garments of cloth that they sold. It chugged on and not much happened. As many prestigious fine British firms went worse and worse in the modern era and the 90s sold the entire company to a Japanese cashmere companies. 2002 bought the British family Azam back the company and moved it to London. The family Azam had a long background in textiles and has in its plant previously produced garments for famous companies such as including Burberry and Aquascutum. With their knowledge of manufacturing and similar garments, they saw an interesting opportunity to Grenfell and wanted to breathe life into it again.
They made a big bet and hired designers and new staff and placed the operation of the factory in east London where they tried to have a production similar to the one that existed at the time Haythornthwaites. Chief designer was Joselyn Clarke with a background including Hardy Amies and Aquascutum and a very good understanding of both tailoring, construction and outerwear. They had already experienced personnel in the plant that could handle production of similar high quality garments. They are careful epithet Made in Britain and taking all the material from other respected British firms.
When it comes to design, it is classic British, timeless and simple. Which may be an advantage when the clothes cost quite a lot and you may want to be comfortable wearing them for long without taking into account the prevailing trends. It is from vintage scented sportswear to traditional trench coats and paletåer in crombieutförande. One of our favorites is their so-called shooting jacket is made for the most British shop; Cordings of Piccadilly.
It will be really exciting to see how it goes for now. We believe that the concept can work and that this type of garment can appeal to an audience who are picky in terms of production, materials and classic look, and that look good outer garment as a long term investment.