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Celebrating Wool, Florence, Italy

Fox Brothers were delighted to be showing at the Palazzo Pitti, Sala Bianca at The Campaign for Wool’s CELEBRATING WOOL on Monday 3rd April 2017.

An event organised by The Campaign for Wool, promoting innovative wool yarn, fabric and garments. Fox Brothers are proud to be showing alongside the finest Italian and British mills. This is a celebration of all things wool and will be visited by their patron His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

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Michael Jondral Trunk Show Hannover, Germany 28th & 29th April 2017

Fox Brothers will be joining Orazio Luciano and Drake’s London at Michael Jondral’s Trunk Show this April. Fox Brothers will be showing limited edition cloth alongside a variety of worsted cloth, ideal for your next spring suit or blazer.

Micheal Jondral
Theaterstr. 13
30159
Hanover
E: mail@michaeljondral.com
T: 0049 (0)511 169 7700

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Permanent Style Presents a Savile Row Pop Up

Fox Brothers and The Merchant Fox are delighted to be showing at Permanent Style Presents a Savile Row Pop Up Shop from Friday 24th February to 11th March 2017.

Some of the world’s hidden gems in menswear will be coming to Savile Row at the end of February, when a pop-up shop opens on the street.

Curated by author Simon Crompton, the shop will feature luxury, sartorial menswear brands that are either normally only available online, or only have shops abroad.

They include handmade accessories, luxury knitwear and fine tailoring. A series of bespoke European artisans will also visit the shop for trunk shows during its tenure.

The shop will be open from Friday, February 24th until Saturday, March 11th. Entitled ‘Permanent Style presents’ after Crompton’s long-running blog, it will also feature a series of his books and collaborations.

The brands on permanent show will be:
- Baudoin & Lange (footwear)
- The Armoury (clothing and leather goods)
- Begg & Co (scarves)
- Codis Maya (enamel cufflinks)
- Drake’s (clothing and accessories)
- Ourselves Fox Brothers (cloth)
- General Eyewear (bespoke and vintage glasses)
- J.Girdwood (clothing and accessories)
- The Hanger Project (hangers and shoecare)
- Luca Faloni (knitwear and shirts)
- Permanent Style (books, shirts and knitwear)

On the opening weekend, Italian bespoke shoemaker Stefano Bemer will be holding its trunk show, to be followed by other artisans during the fortnight.

The shop will be open 10am-6pm, Tuesday to Saturday, with the addition of late opening times during trunk shows – and by appointment.

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Premiere Vision, Paris 7th to 9th February 2017

The team at Fox Brothers are delighted to be showing at Premiere Vision, Paris in February.

Fox Brothers will be attending Premiere Vision Fabrics, Hall 5 & 6 at Parc des Expositions, Paris Nord Villepinte on the 7th, 8th and 9th February 2017.
If you would like to secure an appointment to see the new Spring 18 collection, please contact our Sales and Design Team prior to arriving at the show.
To contact the team please click here.

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Idea Biella, Milan 1st to 3rd February 2017

The team at Fox Brothers are delighted to be showing at the 77th edition of Idea Biella.

Fox Brothers will be attending Idea Biella by invitation only at the fairgrounds of Rho Fiera Milano on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd February 2017.
We can be found in hall 20.
Opening times are 9.00 am until 6.30 pm.

If you would like to secure an appointment to see the new Spring 18 collection, please contact our Sales and Design Team prior to arriving at the show.
To contact the team click here.

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Robin Pett Trunk Show with Olof Nithenius, Sweden, Novmeber 2016

Gothenburg Trunk Show – 24th November 2016

Stockholm Trunk Show – 25th November 2016

To book an appointment please contact robin@rp-tailor.com

Douglas Cordeaux will be visiting bespoke tailor Robin Pett, alongside the charming Olof Nithenius, in Gothenburg on the 24th November and again in Stockholm on the 25th November. They will be delighted to meet with customers to discuss suits, flannel and pocket squares, to mention but a few points of interest. This is a unique opportunity to meet and discuss your requirements in every detail.

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Fox Brothers & The Merchant Fox Cloth and Gift Sale

28 – 29 October 10.00am – 4.00pm
at The Merchant Fox, The Counting House, Tonedale Mills, Wellington, Somerset TA21 0AW
Tel: 01823 662271 e-mail: info@foxflannel.com

Bargain Fox Brothers cloth for tailors, dress makers, students, crafters and textile artists.

Fantastic gifts and clothing from The Merchant Fox at discounted prices.

Get You Christmas shopping done early!

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Nigel Cabour: Fox Brothers – PART 1 – INTRODUCTION & HISTORY

Rachel and Ben from Nigel Cabourn recount their visit to the Fox Brother’s mill.

Fox Brothers – PART 1 – INTRODUCTION & HISTORY

For this month’s in depth feature two of the Cabourn team – Rachael and Ben – ventured deep into the heart of the Somerset countryside to visit one of the most renowned fabric mills in the world, Fox Brothers.

This historic mill, which dates back to 1772, has contributed to some of Nigel Cabourn’s most iconic pieces. From 800-gram double-faced wool on our Donkey Jacket, Raw Flannel on our pinstripe suits to checked tweeds on fishing satchels; Fox Brothers has been a huge part of the Nigel Cabourn journey from the early days.

The pair were lucky enough to spend some invaluable time with head of design, Rosemarie Boon, and woven and textile designer, Jo Neades who have extensive knowledge and passion for the cloth and the history behind this iconic British brand.

When chatting with Rosemarie it became clear that, although Fox’s official founding date was 1772, it really began much earlier than that.

“…Fox started much, much earlier than the official date, it was more around the mid 1600’s. Wherever you had green fields, you had sheep, and where you had sheep you had wool. That’s what happened everywhere in England, not just here. A lot of the wealth of Great Britain was based on that; hence the woolsack seat that the politicians sit on in the houses of Parliament – wool has always been very important.”

“Wool made Britain very wealthy very early on. In some of our Fox ledgers you can see we were shipping over to Amsterdam, America then to the Far East, in the late 1700’s, which is quite incredible really. “

Nowadays, however, it’s a different story as Rosemarie explained that the finer cloths (the flannels and worsted yarn) mostly come from the Southern Hemisphere, places like New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, while a much smaller amount is now spun here in the UK.

“Part of the reason we don’t use UK wool on the finer cloth is that from the late 18th century into the 19th century sheep were bred in the UK for meat. Wool became less important, so they kept breeding it for meat and that jeopardized the wool element. I think there are people interested in reversing it, but that would obviously take time and generations of different sheep- so at present we just don’t have the quantities here, whereas places like New Zealand have 1000 sheep in one flock.”

There are British wool companies rising up again though and Fox Brothers work with them when they can.

“…There’s a UK wool spun by a company called Laxtons, who are based in Yorkshire. He started spinning not so long ago, so it is nice that an old established mill such as Fox Brothers can combine with a more recent factory like Laxtons and create something special together.”

This sense of heritage meets contemporary was a prominent theme during our visit to Fox Brothers. The company manages to uphold its core values of traditional manufacturing, and a long standing skilled workforce, while still adapting to the modern world with their vast range of design technology and willingness to collaborate with companies with much less of a heritage background than their own.

With a history spanning so many hundreds of years, there were lots to talk about and when we asked Rosemarie about the Fox Brothers workforce and the changes over the years, there was a clear time period that stood out,

“Between the two wars was when we had the biggest work force, around 5000 people were employed. We are now down to 25. During the wars years we did huge bulk orders of cloth for the army and navy.”

It was hard to imagine that the workforce had once been so big. Yet when Rosemarie told us about some of the production quantities coming out of the factory, it was understandable why such a vast army of workers was required,

“We made around 850 miles of puttees in Fox Brothers during both wars, that was around 70,000 puttees a week” Rosemarie explained,

(Puttees were the long strips of cloth that soldiers used to wrap around their legs for support; the name comes from the Hindi word for bandage.)

‘Tonedale House’ built in 1807 by Thomas Fox, only a stones throw from the current one in Wellington Somerset.

“…In the archives we have books of these putties, which were confiscated from prisoner of war camps in Austria, which is even sadder really…”

“Fox’s were making puttees for a long time. Since 1898 in fact. They were developing them specially, and even shaping the putties to the calf of the leg. They became a huge part of both world wars and images of soldiers taken during that time all show them wearing their puttees.”

It was not just puttees of course. In the years before the first and second world wars, Fox lay claim to developing a new serge drape mixture known today as ‘khaki’ which was used during the Boer War of 1899 –1902.

This new colour replaced the traditional redcoats, whose bright colour often proved dangerous when faced with the enemy. The word Khaki is based on the Indian word for dust, which is quite fitting really when you think of the colour!

For the spelling Fox were able to make it whatever they wanted, as they took ownership of it.

Moving forward, and past the wars, we wanted to find out if the factory still remained busy and what caused the massive decline in the workforce.

“We suffered like many other mills producing woolens when people started to grow fond of man-made fibres. You could just chuck garments in the washing machines and wash everything very easily, wool really suffered because of this. However, slowly from the late 80s-90s it has grown up again, and back to being valued. People appreciate more where it is from and where it was made. So we produce a lot more cloth now than what we did 10 years ago”.

It was wonderful to learn from Rosemarie that today the company was still thriving, despite the drop in the size of the workforce over the years. For a company with such an extensive history and method of working, we wondered how easy it was to find people to match the skill set and passion of those workers who have been with Fox over the past few decades,

“Succession is a real worry. Often the skill our work force has takes a lot of time to learn, and they involve concentration. They aren’t reliant on computers or gadgets, which many of the younger generation use nowadays, which is a worry about the generations coming through who may not want to learn about weaving. “

In a world of social media and at a time when computers and the internet are so prominent we had to agree with Rosemarie in hoping education would make a U turn, allowing people to appreciate the process of manufacturing and design.

“ I think it is important that people know it isn’t always about being the most academic, for us it is about making things and craftsmanship, and that is a wonderful thing to be part of. “

Thank you so much to Rosemarie and Jo for allowing us to visit the factory and learn so much about their extensive history, which is such a huge part of the Nigel Cabourn Authentic collection story.

PART 2 COMING VERY SOON….

To read the full feature with beautiful images on the Nigel Cabourn journal please click here.

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Fantastic Mr Fox

James Michelsberg discusses Fox Brothers and how he is making a double-breasted chalk stripe suit for himself.

Fantastic Mr Fox

AUGUST 25, 2016
I will always adore the swagger and sleek lines of a jacket with full chest, roped shoulders and nipped in waist.
That said, I can appreciate my Melbourne based brother Edward’s penchant for the softer, more informal approach to tailoring, that is very much in vogue at the moment.
I’ve just delivered this ‘de-constructed’ jacket to my customer Simon, for Ebor day at York races.

Unlined, with no shoulder pads, no canvas, no interlining, it’s basically a tailored cardigan, made up in a cloth from one of my favourite mills in the country – Fox Flannel of Somerset.
Ever since, I picked up a tape-measure, I’ve been seduced by their fabrics.
Like Ralph Lauren, I am a big fan of more natural looking cloths with a more ‘milled’ finish, rather than their “clean cut” shinier counterparts.
Many of my customers like fabrics with sheen, and whilst there will always be a place in my heart for the lustre and opulence of a fitted mohair suit, a flannel to me, is the epitome of an English suit.
Understated, elegant, dependable, who better than to showcase this product, than “M” in the Bond film “Skyfall,” wearing a navy worsted chalk stripe from Fox, made-up by a tailor whom I have the utmost respect for, Timothy Everest.

They have just sent me their latest bunches and the worsted flannel collection is something to behold.
I’m particularly taken by this wonderful chalk stripe below, which I’m going to have made up in a double-breasted number, with roped shoulders so monumental, they will need spikes on top to keep the pigeons at bay.

Whilst my suit will be formal as hell, it is the soft handle of their flannel that will make it the perfect choice for my customers who are embracing a more laid back approach to dress.
Perhaps for a jacket to be worn with Japanese selvedge denim jeans and a pair of sneakers, or, teamed with chinos, Tods loafers and an open neck shirt.
As a brand, Fox has been around since 1772, but to be honest, it is only the last 5 years, they have come into their own.
When I started ten years ago, they had one dusty bunch that often had issues with stock.
Now they’ve nearly a dozen, have just been featured in the Rake Magazine and their retail arm ” The Merchant Fox” is going from strength to strength.
Partnering with the best in breed of British Manufacturers, they are making (with their top end fabrics) throws, cushions, clothing, luggage and accessories.
So, I picked up the phone, smiled sweetly and asked to speak with their Managing Director, Douglas Cordeaux (pictured below), to find out more about what’s going on with the Somerset massive.

To be blunt, I can’t stand dull people. I’m probably a bit ADHD (suffering form inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness) and would much rather be shocked, outraged and infuriated by a passionate pitch from a gibbon, than put up with the rambling, droning tones of a dullard.
Luckily for me, Douglas was a complete legend, and for nearly an hour he kept me spellbound at the end of the line.
A design consultant working for Pepe Jeans, his role 8 years ago was to seek out and evaluate the feasibility of working with UK manufactures at a time when Made in England was back in vogue. His opinion then was it was “difficult, but not impossible.”
During this period of his career, he started nattering with Jeremy Hackett, co-founder of “Hackett”, (and now owned by the Pepe Jeans Group) and the name Fox Flannel came up.
Then, run by Jack Hudson for sixteen years, the company was in bad shape. Financially it was making a loss and had little in the way of strategic direction.
On the other hand, with its rich history, heritage and provenance, might this be a company / brand that could be turned into something special?
After all, these were precisely the values that would tick all the boxes for a more discerning international customer happy to pay more for quality.
Born only fourteen miles from Fox, he also studied textiles at Taunton college, and so when he visited the mill for the first time, it was rather a special moment.
Seeing a group of talented and passionate people, actually making something in a way that had been done so for hundreds of years, was highly seductive.
So, he turned to his childhood friend, and “Dragons Den” star, Deborah Meaden, who was also a local lass to Fox, and whom like Douglas, saw the value inherent in the fledgling business.
They quickly became business partners with a plan to make the business relevant and profitable.
Inspired by Italian companies, like Loro Piana and Vitale Barberis Canonico, they wanted to turn Fox into a brand, not just a cloth manufacturer.
Through clever initiatives with brands like Jack Wills, product placement in “Skyfall” and “Kingsman”, re-vamped marketing material, a new website, and (as I can testify) wonderful product development , these guys are now motoring.
Their footprint is global, with 45% of their wholesale business (selling larger quantities of cloth to big brands) from Japan, and are making big strides in France and Italy.
Their “merchanting” business (flogging cloth to the finest tailors in the world) is also on the up and up!
They are now making a profit with a plan to build on their “Merchant Fox” line, seeking out and working with the best artisans in the world to produce luxury products for the connoisseur.
At the moment, as a business, they are still relatively small beer. Just twenty eight people in the South West of England, weaving cloth like they’ve done for generations.
But things are now very different. There is passion and pride in their product, the marketing is spot on and the business is being driven by a man who is clearly on a mission.
He’s eloquent, quick witted, sharp and clearly highly ambitious.
As I head down to Croyde Bay in Devon tomorrow, for a week away in the sun and surf with my family, I’ll raise my panama hat to these guys off the M5 and wish them the best of British for their future together.
To read this wonderfully kind blog, please click here.

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Michael Jondral Trunk Show Hannover, Germany 20th & 21st October 2016

Fox Brothers will be joining Orazio Luciano and Drakes at Michael Jondral’s Trunk Show later this month. Douglas Cordeaux will be showing limited edition cloths alongside classic Fox flannels.

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Liverano and Liverano Trunk Show Florence, Italy 14th & 15th June 2016.

Douglas Cordeaux will be a guest at Liverano & Liverano, showing vintage and limited edition bolts.

Fox Brothers will be joining esteemed tailors Liverano & Liverano during Pitti Uomo on the 14th and 15th June 2016.
Starting at 14:00 until 19:00. To avoid disappointment please arrange an appointment by calling 0039 (0) 55 239 6439 or emailing info@liverano.com

Liverano & Liverano is located in Via dei Fossi 43/r, 50123, Florence, Italy.
Between Piazza Santa Maria Novella and Piazza Goldoni.

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Premiere Vision, Paris 13th to 15th September 2016

The team at Fox Brothers are delighted to be showing at Premier Vision Paris.

Fox Brothers will be attending Premiere Vision Fabrics, Hall 5 & 6 at Parc des Expositions Paris Nord Villepinte from 13th to 15th September 2016.
If you would like to secure an appointment to see the new Autumn Winter 17/18 collection, please contact our Sales and Design Team prior to arriving at the show.
Please get in touch click here to contact the team

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Idea Biella, Milan 6th to 8th September 2016

The team at Fox Brothers are delighted to be showing at the 76th edition of Idea Biella.

Fox Brothers will be attending Idea Biella by invitation only at the fairgrounds of Rho Fiera Milano from 6th to 8th September 2016.
If you would like to secure an appointment to see the new Autumn Winter 17/18 collection, please contact our Sales and Design Team prior to arriving at the show.
Please get in touch click here to contact the team

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Michael Jondral Trunk Show Hannover, Germany 29th & 30th April 2016

Fox Brothers will be joining Luciano and Finamore 1925 at Michael Jondral’s Trunk Show.

Prestigious sartorial tailor Orazio Luciano along with son Pino will be at the wonderful Michael Jondral’s Hannover Store on 29th & 30th April 2016. You are invited to meet with fellow guests Fox Brother’s managing director Douglas Cordeaux and fourth generation shirtmakers Andrea and Simone of Finamore 1925 to discuss your tailoring needs.
Michael Jondral, Theaterstr. 13, 30159 Hanover
T: 0049 (0) 511 1697700

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Davies and Sons: Somerset to Savile Row

Each month Davies and Son are showcasing the mills who supply the cloth for their superb suits with a window display in their Savile Row store. For the month of February, Fox Brothers will proudly be on display. Showing a stunning greyed off tartan check flannel and a bold, gingham glen check flannel.

Davies and Son, Savile Row tailor since 1803. For over two centuries, Davies and Son have had the pleasure to make bespoke tailoring for royals, presidents and esteemed gentlemen.
Thank you Davies and Sons for your continued support.
Click here to contact Davies and Sons

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Fox showing at Idea Biella Feb 16

Fox Brothers are delighted to be showing at the 75th edition of Idea Biella.

Fox Brothers will be attending Idea Biella at Fiera Milano City from 9th to 11th February 2016.
If you would like to secure an appointment to see the new Spring 17 collection, please contact our Sales and Design Team prior to arriving at the show.
Please get in touch click here to contact the team

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The Rake Russia: Vintage Fabrics

The Rake Russia features a piece on Vintage Fabrics, discussing this global trend and it’s similarity to fine wines.

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Swellboy on Randolph sunglasses

Nick Foulkes solves a 30-year mystery behind the brand’s aviators

The other day I saw my old friend Jeremy Hackett. I have known Jeremy for longer than either of us care to remember. I used to buy old clothes from him when you could still easily pick up some superb vintage stuff. I am very envious of a pair of riding boots he found at Portobello; they are from Maxwell’s, if memory serves, and belonged to Edward VIII, marked on the inside HM The King and complete with trees.

I should really see more of Jeremy, as not only is he great company, but he is a professor when it comes to arcane sartorial details. He once took me to see Fox Brothers’ flannels in the West Country. This was about 25 years ago when it was still pretty sleepy and undiscovered and there were still marks on the windows from where tape had been applied to minimise flying glass during air raids in the second world war – although in the event it did not appear that this excellent cloth mill presented a strategic target for the Luftwaffe.

Inevitably the talk turned to clothing, accessories and sunglasses. Apparently Randolph Engineering is very au courant right now. I remember Randolph from the 1980s and had a pair of its sunglasses, but alas I cannot find them. Anyway, I always rather liked its squared-off lens shape as an alternative to the teardrop, but was perplexed by the way that the arms ended not with hooks to loop around the ears, but rather plastic pads that grip the side of the head.

Granted it was not one of the great mysteries of the universe. Nevertheless, I have spent most of the past 30 years mildly curious. Of course, Jeremy was able to enlighten me in a moment. Randolph makes sunglasses for military aviators, and military aviators wear helmets. Having to disentangle a pair of hooked sunglasses from behind the ears, pull them out of your helmet to give the lenses a quick wipe and then thread the arms back down between the skull and the inside of the helmet and over the ears might just slow one down while in the middle of a dogfight. Whereas the straight arms with the inward curve mean that they can be pulled in and out of the helmet with ease. Given that I am thinking of embarking on a career as a scooter rider and will be wearing a helmet, this is extremely useful information.

http://howtospendit.ft.com/style/93731-swellboy-on-randolph-sunglasses

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WHY BRITAIN CAN STILL CALL ITSELF GREAT

Douglas Cordeaux of Fox Brother’s quoted in Raconteur’s special report Made in the UK, published in The Times.

Just a few seasons ago, a piece of clothing would have had the manufacturers’ label most prominently displayed in the collar or waistband. Now it has been joined by another, proudly stating its country of origin: “Made in Britain”. Indeed, this label has become desirable in its own right.

“It’s another reason to buy,” argues Douglas Cordeaux, owner of textile manufacturers Fox Brothers, established in Somerset in 1772. “In fact, if it wasn’t the case initially, now there’s a generation genuinely interested in buying clothes, and menswear especially, made using British cloths, too – it’s an investment in skills that otherwise risk being lost.”

That perhaps is the key word: skills. If Britain has suffered a steady slump in heavy manufacturing, specialist engineering aside perhaps, recent times have seen a parallel revival and reappreciation of its traditional handcrafts.

High-end manufacturers
Leather goods, textiles, iron work, pottery and ceramics, for example, have all benefitted from the idea of “mass luxury” that high-end, often fashion-oriented products, no longer sell to an ever-diminishing niche, but rather to an ever-expanding aspirational consumer base.

This has allowed the skills-base not only to survive but to flourish. For example, bespoke tailors, who have long complained of the difficulty of attracting school-leavers to a job that requires more years of training than a doctor, but lacks the glamour of fashion design, are now seeing apprenticeship schemes oversubscribed.

“Making things is part of the British identity, especially the making of things at the finer end of the spectrum, which is what has a real future,” says Mark Henderson, chairman of Savile Row tailors Gieves & Hawkes and founder of The New Craftsmen, a retailer established to sell craft products specifically made in the British Isles.

Buckitt-Bag
Accessories designer Rae Jones was determined that Buckitt, the bag company she launched in 2013, would be British made
“Arguably this is about picking up the pieces after the Industrial Revolution destroyed much craftsmanship, a process that is also going on in India, Turkey and China. To push for certain things to be made in one’s home market is about playing to one’s strengths.”

Rae Jones agrees. While she concedes that home-grown labour and materials are relatively expensive – such British-made goods are largely for the minority who can afford them – the accessories designer was determined that Buckitt, the bag company she launched in 2013, would be British made. “That was about playing a part in reviving our native talents, but also for sound business reasons,” Ms Jones says. “Generations of practice have meant British makers are very good, in this case, at leather crafting in a way I just couldn’t get abroad. And customers cherish British-made goods now – there is a reassurance and even romance to them.”

Find the original article here:
http://raconteur.net/culture/why-britain-can-still-call-itself-great

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Churchill wears Fox Flannel

Listen to John Humphrys chat about Henry Poole on The Today Programme.

Fashion Historian James Sherwood discusses Savile Row tailor Henry Poole on BBC Radio 4, The Today Programme.
Henry Poole dressed, amongst many distinguished others, Winston Churchill in Fox Flannel, the famous chalk stripe.
James wears the famous chalk stripe in the interview and looks rather dashing.
Click here to view the interview Churchill ‘never paid for his suits’…

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