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Focus: Manufacturing in London

In the first of a short series focused on British manufacturing, Drapers speaks to micro-mill London Cloth Company to talk about the interest in British made goods.

The mill: London Cloth Company

Opened in Hackney in November 2010 by a then 29-year old Daniel Harris, the East London micro-mill has been taking advantage of the surge in interest in made-in-Britain product, with customers including London-based designer John Lancaster, denim brand Fallow Denim and menswear brand A Child of Jago all on the books.

What does the London Cloth Company produce for its customers?
The majority of our work is weaving fabrics to order, predominantly single and double width woollensand cottons. We also sell our own range of cloths and are in the process of developing our own vertical clothing collection, which is a mixture jackets and outerwear.

Are you noticing a surge in interest in made-in-Britain?
I think it is certainly something that people are interested in investigating at very least. Though I feel that some aspects of the industry are not ready for it in the UK.
So much of the infrastructure and supply chain has been lost or run down to bare minimum over the last 20 years that now it is not able to cope with demand. This can lead to massive problems, epic delays and huge loss of revenue. 
I would also say that the interest in ‘Made-in-Britain’ is not just domestic. There is a lot of attention coming from outside the UK, and in our case from Scandinavia and Japan.

How do you plan to grow the business? Will you start offering new fabrics, such as denim, this year?
The best thing is that now we have our own yarn. We are producing a 100% natural British wool cloth, which is unusual as In Britain; currently 97% of wool comes from Australia.

We work with Sheep sheerer Michael Churchouseto source fleece from the best small British breed flocks. We then have this processed in Halifax by Paul Crookes to create our own yarn.

This makes the final garment 100% traceable to source. We can tell you who owned the sheep and where they live, who sheered, spun, wove and finished the cloth, which deliver an unparalleled level of provenance, and certainly feeds into our ‘Make it British’ ethos.

In the past year we have moved premises, plus we will be opening a second site in late 2013 or early 2014.

I have mainly been working on refining what we were already doing so now have four 16 & 24 shaft 90” power looms, plus the original five single width looms. As well as developing new cloths we have also been offering different finishes and coatings, such as hydrophobic.

We have experienced high demand for our Denim union cloth and chambre. We are very conscious that though a small company, we are selling in a global market so it is important for us to continually improve prices through more efficient production. 

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