On Friday last week, I had the privilege of attending the launch of bespoke sculptures by John Smedley’s artist in residence Guy Haddon Grant. This was a collaborative work celebrating their partnered passion for form and construction.
These sculptures were inspired by the machine beds, and movement of both needles and yarn at John Smedley’s factory in Derbyshire. As can be seen on one of the images below, the sculpture has both industrial and delicate characteristics providing a perfect synergy between the machines and the gentle knitwear produced.
Speaking of knitwear, there has always been one brand that comes to mind every times someone mention the term “knitwear” and that is John Smedely. If you are a lover of good quality knitwear you would have recognised John Smedley as the undisputed leader in this humble yet prestigious garment. Whether it is the roll neck or the polo knitwear, there is no denying the fact that the knitwear exudes elegance and style.
One thing I really like about the brand is its unassuming nature. If you notice, the garments do not have visible logos on them. Now that takes a lot of character and assurance to be able to create such beautiful pieces and not want your name or logo all over it. Its kind of like saying, let the form of my garment do the talking.
You may begin to understand why the brand chose to be understated when it comes to logos and branding when you delve into its rich history and heritage. Did you know that John Smedley has the oldest manufacturing factory in the world? Oh wait, did you know the original “Long John” was created by them? Who needs logos when you have heritage on your side eh. There you go, thats a bit of fashion history for you. Don’t say I didn’t teach you anything.
Through out its 232 years lifespan, the brand continue to grow from it early years when it produces simple muslin fabric to becoming the brand of choice for many famous faces in the 1950’s and 60’s, worn by Marylyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and the Beatles. I mean I could go on forever about the history and heritage of the brand but I will leave some for some other time.
As part of their AW17 collection, John Smedley has created many beautiful pieces to include their Kilbreck collection which caught my eye the minute I walked into the store. The Kilbreck was beautifully crafted in a 3 gauge from a luxurious blend of Alpaca, Wool and Cotton. This luxurious funnel neck provides the perfect staple piece for your winter wardrobe.
At the event, I had the opportunity to chat with John Smedley’s president John Maclean whom from the get go gave me candid history lesson on the brand. With such a rich heritage, I asked Mr Maclean about the future or as I put it, the strategy for the next 10 years for the brand. He looked at me straight in the eye and said “to stay independent”. Independence means have full control of the brand creatively and strategically and just continue to do the great job they have being doing all these years.
I don’t know about you but that answer right there made me respect the brand even more.