Lavenham

Nestled just outside of the quaint Suffolk village of Lavenham is a factory.

A fully working, British clothes making factory. Firstly how refreshing to visit such a finely tuned fashion operation, one as an industry - and as a nation no less - we should be very proud of.

Lavenham is renowned for making quilted coats and jackets and the brand's roots are in equestrian gear - horse blankets and the like, but today close to 100% of sales come from outerwear.

I was lucky enough to be given a guided tour of the factory. I was shown the 12 plus steps that go into making a coat - I met Elaine who does the overlocking, Polly who sews on the pockets (true story) and Sue who binds the hems.

It was such a treat to see British manfacturing at it's best and a full piece on my experience featuring interviews from the factory floor will feature in Drapers March 25 issue.










An old sewing machine - the ones they work on today are slightly more modern - but not super high tech, they just get the job done, and get it done well.






The best selling colours are navys and blacks but that doesn't stop the brand from producing bright colourways and using amazing linings including Liberty prints. You may have seen a colour clashing pink and blue quilted jacket on Cassette Playa's autumn 11 catwalk? That was a Lavenham.









Spools on the factory floor







After the tour we went to Lavenham town. Lavenham's massive wool industry made it one of Britain's richest towns back in the day.



















Lavenham managing director Nicky took Steve and I for lunch at a lovely five star restaurant where we talked British manufacturing, menswear and emerging trends - until we missed our train home.

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