15 July 2015
Private White V.C. - if you've not heard of it, then you've been missing out. Much like Ruffians, the designers and heritage behind the brand are all about using traditional crafts and techniques and incorporating them into our contemporary world, retaining the useful, elegant and authentic skills of old.
We were lucky enough to speak to the team and find out a bit more about them...
What is Private White V.C.'s story? Private Jack White VC was a soldier in WW1 and subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross. After the war, he moved back to Manchester, embarking on an apprenticeship as a trainee pattern cutter at a garments factory - he rose through the ranks to become General Manager and eventually, owner. In an incredible turn of events, the factory is now in the hands of Private Jack White’s great-grandchildren who all share his undying love, passion and dedication to both the British and local textiles industry. The brand was created in homage to this great man and pioneering spirit in British manufacturing.
What is the aim or ethos of Private White V.C.? We continue to produce our clothing in very much the same way that Private Jack White did during his time at the factory, aiming to source the best quality, local materials to create our garments. Our Creative Director, Nick Ashley (son of famous interior designer, Laura), strives to make garments which are classically stylish, as well as highly functional. Our waterproof, taped seam SB4 raincoats are a great example of what we do best.
Tell us about the factory in Manchester and where you get the materials from. The Manchester factory has been making clothing for over 100 years. This old and quirky red brick building is hidden away down a small street, Cottenham Lane, just outside of the bustling city centre. The factory now houses a store, which was officially opened by HRH Princess Anne in September last year. Visitors to our shop are encouraged to take a guided tour of the factory, seeing our skilled craftspeople make our garments by hand. The materials we work with generally come from the neighbouring counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire. We have longstanding, strong relationships with local suppliers going back many years and we often work with local mills to weave our own cloth. All of our materials are sourced in the UK and quality is the resounding priority for us.
What does Private White V.C. do differently to other competitor brands? We are unique in that are a heritage English brand that truly is made in the UK. Our history is real and we invite customers to see that by opening up our factory – the heart and soul and starting point of all our garments. Making everything under one roof, ‘from sheep to shop’ as our Creative Director Nick says, allows us to control every aspect of production and we believe this makes the quality of our clothing the absolute best.
Who is a Private White V.C. 'man'? Our clothing is very classic and based on familiar patterns and styles from old military and workwear garments and we therefore find that it can be styled very simply in a more formal environment, but also looks great on our younger customers, mixed with more casual clothing and streetwear. Generally our customer is one who appreciates the craft and provenance behind our clothing so they enjoy these traits in other areas of their lifestyle – they might be someone with a well-designed car, beautifully-made watch and enjoy craft beers and fine dining - and probably a very decent cut throat razor shave too....
What's a popular/favourite piece from the SS15 collection? We have recently launched a collaborative line of spring footwear with Grenson Shoes which has been incredibly popular. We often work with likeminded British brands and find that these limited edition ranges are really sought after. We have a new piece soon to launch this season – the Ventile Combat Blazer. This piece is made from our signature waterproof Ventile fabric with sealed seams, though is a well-structured smart jacket. We’re expecting it to be a bestseller.
Private White V.C. can be found just around the corner from our Marylebone shop at 73 Duke Street. It's an elegantly designed store with friendly and knowledgeable staff. Follow their social with the handle @PrivateWhiteVC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.