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The men who dressed Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread

GQ’s Alfred Tong discusses how ‘Unlike the movie stars, moguls, heads of state and literary giants that they dress, these men would have otherwise remained unknown.’

If there was an Oscar for Most Elegantly Tailored Suits, then the men who dressed Daniel Day-Lewis’s character in Phantom Thread would surely win. So take a bow front of house sales Martin Crawford, trouser cutter Oliver Spencer, and senior coat cutter Leon Powell of Anderson & Sheppard. The Savile Row house with a long and storied history of dressing Hollywood’s most elegant leading men, including Fred Astaire and Cary Grant, can now add three time Oscar winner, Daniel Day-Lewis to the list. For alongside costumer Mark Bridges and Day-Lewis himself, these are the geniuses responsible for the languid, softly tailored suits, coats and jackets which drape gently over the frame of the Phantom Thread couturier, Reynolds Woodcock.

Unlike the movie stars, moguls, heads of state and literary giants that they dress, these men would have otherwise remained unknown, as is the Savile Row way, which is discreet often to the point of total anonymity.

“The main concern for Mr Lewis (everyone is “Mr” on Savile Row), was that the suits were made from authentic period cloth,” says front of house sales, Martin Crawford, who acts as a kind of textile sommelier, advising costumer Mark Bridges and Daniel Day-Lewis on the kinds of cloth that would have been used during the 50s. “The main difference is that today cloths are a lot lighter for comfort, now that we have central heating and so on. For the blue herringbone coat, we used a 34 ounce cloth, which is almost double the weight of what we would normally use, and one of the heaviest that I have ever come across.” That coat is fast becoming one of the key looks in the film, with American customers already asking after it. The coat also acts as something of a tribute to Day-Lewis’s father Cecil, who was a client of the firm and had a similar one made for him.

The company created a total of 7 looks including 2 city suits, a dinner suit, a tweed jacket, and a tweed suit, all using materials sourced from British mills, as would have been the custom during the 50s, including Somerset’s Fox Flannel, which still supplies many of Savile Row’s top firms.

The other thing to get right, of course, was the cut and detailing of the clothes. “Today everything is very fitted, very stylised,” says trouser cutter Oliver Spencer.“ The garments back then would have been worn a lot looser and relaxed, more louche. So the trousers on the grey city suit would finish high on the waist (up to the belly button) with pleats and also much wider compared to today.”

“It was a group effort,” says Martin Crawford. “They would come in together and it was a case of giving options, narrowing it down, just as you would a normal client. In fact, lots of customers come in with their partners or stylists, and so it wasn’t so different with Mr Bridges and Mr Lewis. We treated them exactly the same as we would any other customer. Mr Lewis was very involved in the details suggesting different types of lapels and so on. And while the clothes are correct for the period it isn’t so different to what we do now.” Indeed, almost all of the looks in the film are available to order, right now.

Perhaps one of the reasons why Hollywood has always been so enamoured of Anderson and Sheppard is not only for the way the suits look but also the way they move on screen: “There’s a signature softness to what we do,” says senior coat cutter Leon Powell. ”Instead of looking wooden on the screen, there’s a natural flow and movement to our suits. We want you to look elegant and stylish, but also feel comfortable too.”

For the famously method actor, the visits to Anderson and Sheppard were a kind of method shopping, “Towards the end of the process he came in wearing the clothes we made for him. He even had the character’s name on the inside of the lapel on one side and his own name on the other,” says Leon Powell. “They asked for the clothes to be ready several weeks before shooting so that he could wear them in a bit, so that they didn’t look new. They talked about beating them up a bit. ”

“My favourite suits are ones that are a couple of years old and have softened into the body. They take on a life of their own when they softly drape to individual’s physique. It’s a lovely process to see. A suit always looks better when you’re relaxed and so you can see the persona of the person wearing it.”

Phantom Thread has picked up 6 Oscar nominations, including one for Best Costume, so perhaps the boys will be putting on their dinner suits in readiness for the red carpet? “Perhaps we’ll put them on when we go to the pub to celebrate,” says Martin Crawford. Well, they deserve it.


To read the article in full on the GQ website and see the beautiful images please click here

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Premiere Vision, Paris 13th to 15th February 2018

The team at Fox Brothers are delighted to be showing the Spring 19 collection at Premiere Vision, Paris this February.

Fox Brothers will be attending Premiere Vision Fabrics, Hall 6 Stand R9 at Parc des Expositions, Paris Nord Villepinte on the 13th, 14th and 15th February 2018.

If you would like to secure an appointment to see the new Spring 19 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 February 2018

The team at Fox Brothers are delighted to be showing at the 79th edition of Idea Biella. The Spring 19 show is on the 6th to 8th February.

Fox Brothers will be attending Idea Biella, by invitation only, at the fairgrounds of Rho Fiera Milano this February.
We can be found in Hall 20 Stand E15.
Opening times are 9.00 am until 6.30 pm.

If you would like to secure an appointment to see the new Spring 19 collection, please contact our Sales and Design Team prior to arriving at the show.
To contact the team click here.

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The eyes have it

Hackett’s new brand ambassador, English professional Rugby Union player, Owen Farrell is the new face of their Autumn Winter ‘17 collection with our Fox cloth.

Bringing together three established names from varying backgrounds, this winning trio showcases artistry, professionalism and the very best of British craftsmanship. Hackett kindly note us as, legends of the mill and Owen Farrell as a Legend of the pitch, who are at the heart of Hackett’s history and paves their vision for this winter’s tailoring experience.

To read more about this this and view their video click here.

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Ladage and Oelke

Ladage and Oelke came to our mill to film the making of their exclusive fabric.

To view their video click here.

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Creating the adidas Bluebird cloth with Henry Poole

adidas Originals & Savile Row tailors, Henry Poole, came together to collaborate on a unique project.

Exploring the heritage of the two companies and their approach to design in bespoke tailoring and sportswear. Incorporating fabrics synonymous with Henry Poole & Co. two limited edition adidas shoes were created. And to celebrate the collaboration, Henry Poole created an exclusive fabric incorporating the adidas Original blue. The design based on a fabric worn by Sir Winston Churchill. The Bluebird Blue fabric was produced in our Somerset mill, where the original Churchill pinstripe fabric was woven.

To read more about this exciting collaboration and view their video click here.

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Kent and Curwen: The Great Coat

Kent & Curwen took as inspiration an officer’s greatcoat dating from the early part of last century, and re-worked the design for a contemporary wardrobe retaining original vintage detailing such as brass crest buttons, military shoulder epaulettes and double breasted lapels.

The coat’s fabric is made at our mill, one of England’s oldest fabric mills, and a supplier to the British Military for centuries. Using as a reference the original fabric swatches developed for the British Army just prior to WW1, held in the our archive, Creative Director Daniel Kearns chose to recreate the exact fabric for the modern re-incarnation of The Greatcoat, woven in Somerset using the original looms, the same yarn colours and the same weave. The fabric was then sent to London where it was cut and sewn into the finished article ready for sale in the autumn.

To read more on the history of Kent and Curwen Great Coat and to view their video filmed partly in our Somerset mill click here.

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The First Annual Fox Brothers Cloth Competition

If you have a suit/jacket in a Fox Brothers cloth, why don’t you share it with the mill that made it.

Ladies and Gentleman

The First Annual Fox Brothers Cloth Competition

Send, via e-mail, a photo/s of yourself wearing the cloth and the winner of the best look will receive a length of the new Heritage Flannel, enough for a three-piece suit, plus one of our new super fine merino and cashmere scarves. #foxclothcomp17

The photograph can include accessories which can be name checked in the final credits. Headshots are not necessary and if you want to remain anonymous then that’s fine too. Credit can also be given to the maker of the final garment.

The winner will be selected by Managing Director; Douglas Cordeaux and posted on The Merchant Fox on the 11th December 2017

Prizes also for second and third place entries

Closing date for entries is the 9th December 2017

Please include the name and weight of the cloth or the Fox Brothers cloth code.

Open to all, Spread the word.

Please send entries to enquiries@themerchantfox.co.uk

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Michael Jondral Trunk Show November 17

Michael Jondral is exclusively hosting Orazio Luciano, Drakes and Fox Brothers this weekend at his store in Hannover.
You are welcome to meet with the team and discuss all your sartorial needs.
Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th November 2107

Find your new jacket, suit and tie and be inspired by our cloth.

Theaterstraße 13, 30159 Hannover, Germany
10 am to 7 pm

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Exclusive Made to Measure event with Trunk

We are delighted to be joining Trunk Clothiers at their exclusive event showcasing their made to measure tailoring.
From Thursday 28th September to Friday 13th October 2017
8 Chiltern St, Marylebone, London W1U 7PU

Just in time for winter, we will be there with a choice range of fabrics, including vintage bolts, classic flannels and limited edition cloths.

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The Rake's review of Milano Unica AW 18

The Rake visits Milano Unica, the annual trade fair that showcases some of the most prestigious fabric mills in menswear from Vitale Barberis Canonico to Fox Brothers.

Sixteen years ago, I attended the IdeaBiella cloth fair in Cernobbio on Lake Como. Showcasing the best mills of the Biella region, it was an incredibly elegant affair that attracted the world’s top designers and buyers. Of course, back then there was no social media to capture the occasion (photography was banned anyway) but I recall the show stopping for lunch and everyone strolling to the nearby Villa Erba for an excellent leisurely meal with the attendees dressed in beautifully tailored suits that would knock spots off the Pitti peacocks.

When the show moved to Milan over ten years ago it was greeted with dismay but combining the show with Shirt Avenue and Moda to create Milano Unica has ensured its survival. Now in its 25th season it is a commercial success with growth in both the number of exhibitors and visitors. It’s also a celebration of the world’s best textiles with top UK mills such as Dormeuil, Fox Brothers and Marling & Evans exhibiting alongside Loro Piana, Ermenegildo Zegna and Guabello.

The Vitale Barberis Canonico stand is always inspiring and this season they had an engaging range of displays inspired by the animal drawings of Albertus Seba. As “the designer behind the designer”, VBC understands the needs of the world’s best artisans and creates fabrics with integrity and authenticity. Their ‘21 micron’ wool champions more robust cloths and heavier weights. This season it’s realised in a new suiting quality combining both worsted and woollen yarns to create three dimensional textures. In both traditional and modern designs, it is a surefire hit.

Cerruti had a strong jacket game as Sales Director Umberto Paccotto believes, “The jacket is the new formal” with many soft knitted effects and a pure cashmere denim that perfectly captures the current mood in luxury menswear. Charles Clayton, the Yorkshire mill and weaver of rare fibres, was showcasing a 4-ply super 160s worsted that would make a fine luxury travel blazer. They have also been innovating with coarser count yarns but made with finer microns to create cloths with character and depth. I am a fan of this style of weaving but understand it can often be difficult to relay this message to the consumer. I describe it as making a cheeseburger with fillet steak and a vintage Parmigiano. They probably wouldn’t. Their sister mill, William Halstead, is justly famous for their kid mohairs but is also offering a substantial 580g ‘double hopsack’ that is just screaming to be tailored into a peacoat.

With the AW18 show earlier than before, canny retailers can bring new cloths to market sooner, particularly if they offer bespoke or made-to-measure. Cerruti’s new bunch of travel cloths called iTravel featured high-twist, water-resistant fabrics which were available in a range of colours and designs that would lift the dullest of airport departure lounges. No winter collection is complete with a viewing of Fox Brothers though. As well as their world-class flannels, this season updated with shades of chestnut, they have a new bunch of 360g 2-ply jacketing with an open, dry handle. When realised in a partly-lined softly structured garment it could provide ten-month wear in a temperate climate. The designs are refreshingly bold with a dogtooth pattern being the house favourite. It was great to see Dashing Tweeds in Milan, the London-based brand specialising in creating urban fabrics with unique colours and texture that combine traditional weaving with modern technical yarns. And whilst I miss the days of the show at Lake Como, particularly on a sweltering July day, the larger Milan show has allowed brands such as Dashing Tweeds to participate and give the event more character.

The Shirt Avenue section of Milano Unica is becoming a misnomer as the world’s top cotton mills are creating fabrics with uses beyond just shirts. Canclini, for example, makes cotton corduroys that are tailored into the softest and most comfortable of suits by Italy’s best makers. The feeling for shirts for AW18 was still for texture but with a little more colour coming through in shades of pink, wine and greens.

After a few days at the show, visitors will have seen literally thousands of fabrics in new and archive qualities and designs. Yet despite the seemingly endless choices available, some will still need to find that absolutely perfect fabric and go ‘off menu’. Jake Grantham, Co-Founder of Anglo Italian for example, is “looking at collections differently now” and is commissioning more exclusive pieces. Hopefully without “fuck you” woven into the stripe.

By Christopher Modoo

To read the full article including great images on The Rake please click here.

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Exclusive evening at Michael Possanner Thursday 22nd June 2017

Michael Possanner is delighted to be hosting an exclusive cocktail evening on June 22nd 2017 in Vienna.

Douglas Cordeaux, who will be presenting our famous Fox collection alongside elegant ties by Viola Milano and Bernhard Roetzel, author of Gentleman: A Timeless Guide To Fashion.
Location: Am Saarplatz 8 1190 Vienna
Time: 1900
For an invitation or to book an appointment please contact mass@possanner.com

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Premiere Vision, Paris 19th to 21st September 2017

The team at Fox Brothers are delighted to be showing the Autumn Winter 18 collection at Premiere Vision, Paris this September.

Fox Brothers will be attending Premiere Vision Fabrics, Hall 5 & 6 at Parc des Expositions, Paris Nord Villepinte on the 19th, 20th and 21st September 2017.
If you would like to secure an appointment to see the new Autumn Winter 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 July 2017 - NEW DATES

The Autumn Winter 18 show will be on the 11th to 13th July, the team at Fox Brothers are delighted to be showing at the 78th edition of Idea Biella.

Fox Brothers will be attending Idea Biella by invitation only at the fairgrounds of Rho Fiera Milano this July.
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 Autumn Winter 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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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
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.


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.


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.


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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.

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:

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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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