Revealed: Talented Young Tweed Designer

Edward Ebbern, of Wyvern Tailoring, mentioned in the Pin-Up series that he had used the services of 'an extremely talented young tweed designer' for the production of his alpaca tweed suits. We can now reveal the name of this talented tweed designer: the delightful Araminta Campbell.

Araminta, who was born in Aberdeenshire and is based in Edinburgh — i.e., Scottish through and through — is skilled in embroidery and weaving by hand.

Araminta Campbell offers a bespoke tweed and tartan design service. Clients include bespoke tailors, private individuals, hotels and estates. Handwoven accessories and interiors made from British alpaca — including Edward's, I'm sure — are available through the Araminta Campbell website.
The Campbells are Coming
Naturally (and encouragingly), Araminta is a staunch advocate of tweed, its legacy and preservation:

'Tweed is also such a classic fabric that endures throughout the centuries – many designs still being used now have been around for hundreds of years. By creating new tweeds we are adding to this history, and it is wonderful to think that I’m helping clients create a legacy that can be passed on to future generations.'

Following the design of a tweed, the right yarns are sought for weight and feel. Carefully selected Scottish mills are used for the weaving.

Araminta — such a lovely name — also restores heritage tweeds. For example, Araminta was commissioned by the Glen Tanar Estate to redesign and manufacture the Glen Tanar Estate Tweed (below). This is interesting: Years of contemporary reproductions meant the pattern had drifted away from the look of the original tweed. I don't think I considered that this could happen.

Claire Bruce of Glen Tanar was impressed with the results:

'Araminta listened attentively to us, taking inspiration from the landscape around us and referring to samples of existing tweed. Even so, she couldn’t have known how close her final design would be to the estate’s original 1940s tweed, which was unearthed some months after she was commissioned to design the new one. The resemblance was uncanny. Our ghillies and gamekeepers of today bear a surprising likeness to those of yesteryear – the Glen Tanar tweed endures.'

For the Ditchingham Estate in Norfolk, the 14th Earl Ferrers was mightily impressed with Araminta's new estate tweed design (below).

They seem pretty pleased with their tweed at Luton Hoo too:

Old tweed jacket from the 1930s
Araminta has to be a bit of a detective sometimes. The tweed she has created for the Nicol family of the Balogie Estate is based on an old tweed sporting jacket that had once belonged to a family member. They wanted a version of a tweed that was introduced in the 1930s and hadn't been happy with contemporary reproductions of the tweed.
Sturdy Cheviot wool
Araminta unpicked the jacket lining to locate unfaded threads from the woven cloth to have an idea of the original colours. She concluded that the yarn was key: the sturdy Cheviot wool the tweed was originally woven is not available in the same colours. After teasing the cloth apart, the tweed seems was found to be woven in a collection of different yarns in a variety of weights and fibres. This explained something of the nature of manufacture at that time; supplies were harder to come by and the manufacturing processes less regimented.
Dashed difficult
In the end, to get as close to the original tweed as possible, bespoke yarn was created — base colours custom twisted and the over-check colours custom dyed. The contemporary yarn colours were too saturated to match with the softer tones of the old yarns, which was disrupting the whole balance of the tweed. Fascinating, and a jolly good reason to seek out old tweed suits and jackets - dashed difficult to reproduce, but damned worth preserving.


Popular Posts