Monday, 6 October 2014
Last of England - Sweaters
Basket Weave Cashmere Sweater
This lovely cashmere sweater is in a basket weave. It is made in Hawick, Scotland, for Last of England.
The sweater will have timeless appeal, and this is exactly the point. When Last of England add a garment it will never disappear from their line up — they aim to ignore arbitrary trends.
Last of England are slowly extending their range of timeless classics. Spanish-made wool Teba jackets are a recent inclusion (below). The last of Spain? We have covered the teba before — a must-wear when in Madrid. These jackets are made in Zaragoza.
About The Last of England
The name of the company comes from Ford Maddox Brown's painting of the same name (detail below). Aware of the renaissance in British heritage brands, Tom Heber-Percy set up Last of England fully intending to create a brand with equal longevity. He is in it for the long run.
I spoke with dear new friend Tom over a pot of genmaicha ('popcorn') tea, from old friends Harney & Sons, and a plate of rich tea finger biscuits.
Whilst eating most of the biscuits, he explained:
"I set up Last Of England for a host of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to sell products that I myself wished to purchase but struggled to locate in existing retailers. This stemmed from unearthing one of my Dad's cashmere jumpers which was still, after 30 plus years, in an immaculate condition. The stitch of the jumper was interesting without being overly decorative and it really was the ideal winter jumper which could be cherished by any wearer. The trouble was after extensive searching I could not find a modern equivalent."
We've all encountered similar frustrations. Tom continued, holding his 'muffin plate' under his chin so he could continue loading and munching:
"The financial crisis has, to an extent, moved consumers away from the huge multi-national fashion companies to brands which promote values of timelessness and manufacturing quality. These values resonated with me, along with perhaps the belief that consumers could be further moved into 'buying less but buying better'. I wanted to establish a brand that utilised the highly regarded (but in some areas declining) British textile industry to manufacture higher quality products in contrast to inferior imports dominating markets on the merit of price alone. Using British industry also helps safeguard skilled jobs, it would be a travesty for this country if the remaining textile jobs went overseas. I always thought that British-made clothing can survive by adding higher value, in terms of quality and design, and I hope to achieve that with Last Of England. The alternative is a race to the bottom on price that Britain will not be able to compete in."
Other products are being developed for the brand but, with its considered approach and emphasis on quality, Last of England have no desire to rush things to market. This is the opposite of fast fashion.
Who Knows Where the Time Goes?
What music would you use to accompany a shot of a sweater billowing in the wind like a flag? I think Fairport Convention's Who Knows Where the Time Goes? [Amazon] is a grand choice, Tom.