The Very Best of British...
A British company through and through, Country Attire is proud to stock, sell and celebrate British brands, and our country's clothes making heritage. After all, some of the world's most renowned, revered and respected designers including Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Alice Temperley and Stella McCartney hail from these shores.
Although only 88,745 square miles in area, Britain has a rich and illustrious history of textile production, clothes-making and design. And, while many clothing brands now out source manufacture to the Far East, there remains a handful of brands who, recognising the quality of materials and craftsmanship the country has to offer, continue to produce their goods in Britain.
Today, we take a look at the cream of the crop of British brands, and bring you our pick of their outstanding products.
Best of British: Coats and Jackets
Few outerwear brands have a British heritage as strong as Country Attire. Now based in Stockport, Greater Manchester, Country Attire began life in the Derbyshire countryside, with a co-founder inspired by the success of her great, great grandfather's hat emporium (coincidentally based in nearby Hyde). With the launch of their own brand of wax and tweed jackets, Country Attire have captured the very essence of traditional British style and values, with a range of outerwear which offers superior protection from wind, rain and cold, an elegant and attractive look, and outstanding quality and durability.
Our pick: The Men's Batley Wax Jacket is the quintessential British wax jacket available in a rich forest green or classic navy, which offers protection from the elements and a classic look.
Best of British: Mid-layers
Established in rural Derbyshire in 1784, in a building synonymous with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, John Smedley produce some of the finest cotton and knitted separates in Britain today. The brand is known for its unique Sea Island Cotton; a luxuriously soft and lightweight yarn with a long fibre length which creates garments with a sumptuous texture. Encapsulating distinctly British values, John Smedley clothes are luxurious without being ostentatious.
Our pick: The Men's Luke Sea Island Cotton Sweater is our pick because of its luxurious texture and simple yet stylish design which can be worn with anything.
Best of British: Knitwear
If one British region is synonymous with producing quality knitwear, it's Scotland. Prolific producers to this day of fine knitted goods, the Scottish knitwear industry dates back to the 18th Century when, surrounded by an abundance of sheep, locals began to produce woollen goods for sale and cottage industries sprung up around the country. Over time, farming techniques improved and in a fortuitous twist Cheviot sheep began to replace the coarser Blackface sheep as the dominant breed in the area, leading to improved quality of goods. Thus, the Scottish woollen industry flourished and it's estimated there were more than 250 woollen mills in Scotland by 1871.
Today, the Scottish wool industry continues to thrive, and no brand better exemplifies the quality of Scottish woollen goods than Johnstons of Elgin. Established in 1797 on the banks of the river Lossie, Johnstons continues to produce luxurious woollen goods from its base in Hawick, Roxburghshire. The quality of their products has earned them the Royal Warrant. and their timeless knitwear and accessories continue to prove popular with people of all ages.
Our pick: With winter approaching, we just love Johnstons Cashmere Gauze Cable Beanie Hat and Gauze Cable Gloves for keeping cosy.
Best of British: Footwear
Forget Milan or Paris; for those in the know, Northampton, England is the shoe making capital of the world. Situated in an advantageous position in the middle of the country, Northampton has an astonishing and enduring reputation for shoe making dating back nearly 900 years. The town has a ready supply of oak bark and water which is needed for the tanning process of leather shoes, as well as an abundance of leather from local cattle. Add in it's strategic location and the result is a booming shoe industry which has lasted for generations.
Three of our favourite footwear brands, Loake, Cheaney and Dr Martens Made in England, continue to be made in Northamptonshire, and countless other British footwear brands have their head offices located in the historic town.
Our pick: It has to be the Loake Men's Otterburn Brogue; the epitome of British style and elegance in a high quality and versatile shoe.
Best of British: Accessories
While Italy is renowned for the quality of its leather goods, London has in fact been producing fine quality leather since medieval times, with production traditionally centred around Bermondsey. The Bermondsey tanning pits benefitted from a steady flow of water from the Thames and a hefty supply of oak bark for tanning, with countless London butchers close by for hides. There was also an abundance of cheap labour to be found, resulting thriving leather trade.
Today, the London leather industry torch is carried by a number of high-end, luxury brands, including the world famous Aspinal of London. Although production has moved from London to the heart of the West Sussex Downs, Aspinal of London offers its customers "the most beautiful, elegant and refined designs of superior quality", through their range of luxury leather handbags, purses, wallets and gifts.
Our pick: With so many stunning products, we're spoilt for choice by Aspinal of London. That said, a classic leather clutch bag is always chic and on point. We love the Ladies' Manhattan Clutch Bag with Chain in Navy Lizard.