We work with a number of wool mills to produce our exclusive designs in the highest quality tweeds. One of these Mills is Marton Mills, based in West Yorkshire.This is the first year we have worked with Marton Mills, so we spoke to Sales Director Francis and Managing Director Laura to get an insight into the company and its history.
Different wools give a different finish. You can change the colour and effect on designs like marl fabrics by using a different wool.
Marton Mills was founded in 1931 producing knitted fabrics. However, following the recession which put a halt to the knitwear industry, the mill and its naming rights were sold off, and this sale gave Duncan Watts the opportunity to purchase the name. Originally, Duncan set out to supply small amounts of fabric to a variety of different locations, though in time he began to manufacture woven fabrics and create them in different patterns and styles. The company has remained in the family, with Laura taking over from her father to become Managing Director.
British-sourced wool is highly sought after, and Marton Mills makes an effort to find British sources for their material. "Different wools give a different finish," explains Francis. "You can change the colour and effect on designs like marl fabrics by using a different wool, with UK wools being quite coarse and Australian wool being generally softer." A coarser wool is better for items, such as tweed jackets, that are designed to protect against the elements - especially in country fieldsports.
Following a change in premises in 1996, the mill doubled in size, allowing the company to increase production scale. Larger premises also allow all of the mill's processes to be carried out in-house, apart from dyeing the finished material, which is carried out by William Denby. Being able to keep production close to home allows the mill to offer a no minimum order requirement for materials, this gives clients the flexibility which ensures they can give customers what they need, and top of the range machines allow the mill to create a fabric in a short space of time, so the mill and its clients can provide a faster service than many. This flexibility works well for our design team at The House of Bruar, allowing us to tailor our garments to suit our customer's needs.
The company has a small in-house design team with three full-time members of staff who are always creating new designs for the core range of materials. There are also a number of commissioned works - "many clients are now seeking bespoke items that cannot be found elsewhere," states Laura. The team recently designed a fabric specifically for use on a speaker that had a stylish design while still allowing for the sound to travel clearly through, showing that there are few projects that cannot be accomplished by the skilled team.
Currently, the team are working to produce a range of tweeds that appeal to a younger audience, offering tweeds that update the textile from its traditional muted, natural tones and inject a little colour for a more contemporary feel. This change in colour mirrors a change in the country fashion market and those who are adopting the look.
Despite the young age of the company, the mills produce a high-quality material by ensuring it is checked at numerous stages of the production process.
In contrast to other fabric manufacturers in the UK, Marton Mills has only been weaving for 40 years - a short time in the industry. Despite the young age of the company, the mills produce a high-quality product by ensuring it is checked at numerous stages throguhout the production process. With a handful of team members who have been with the company for over 20 years, the quality remains consistent and those with the expertise are able to resolve any issues during production. Marton Mills team hold a bank of knowledge behind the craftsmanship of woven materials. Their tweeds are of the highest quality, checked by a line of staff at different stages of the manufacturing process. The company is continually looking to grow their team and pass on the knowledge and skills that are essential to keep the company - and the industry as a whole - thriving.
Currently, the company supplies the fabric for a number of Ministry of Defence dress uniforms, that are required in checked and plain tweeds dependant on the region. On top of this, the mill worked with a uniform manufacturer to supply fabric used for the TSB. The fabric for this project had to meet a number of criteria including reflecting the brand, being lightweight for all day wear and have a timeless but contemporary feel. The criteria saw the mill succeed in producing a fabric that will be a signature of the company for years to come. The mill is also a weaver for the schoolwear market, providing the materials for many school uniform producers which, similarly to the bank, will have to meet strict uniform requirements for their function.
Looking to the future, Marton Mills hopes to bring the heritage market to a wider audience as country fashion becomes an increasingly desired look. By reaching out to high street stores, the country clothing market will be far more easily accessible to those wishing to adapt elements into their wardrobes. Which is exactly what we wish to supply to our customers as the Home of Country Clothing.
Our Bramble & Foxglove tweed has been woven exclusively for us by Marton Mills. The natural tones of pink, lavender and green are reflective of the Scottish Highlands and their range of distinctive wildflowers. This design is available in the above Hereford Tie Cap, Cheltenham Coat, Invert Pleat Skirt and Riding Jacket.