Chrysalis Clothing has been manufacturing the finest quality Town and Country Outerwear in their Corby factory in the heart of England
Advanced technology is combined with the best of British tailoring to ensure that the discriminating wearer is both dry and comfortable, whilst the garment retains the cut, style and finish of a traditional tailored coat.
Each Chrysalis garment is individually hand cut and made from the very best natural fibres woven in the British Isles. Many of the styles are Teflon™ coated and incorporate a waterproof and breathable membrane interliner for additional warmth and protection.
The Chrysalis brand is supplied to the finest stores worldwide and the Company is recognised as a leader in this highly specialised field. How is traditional tweed clothing made?
Brought to you by
William and Son
18 SEPTEMBER 2018 • 11:45AM
By investing in a country wear company, William & Son is breathing new life into traditional British craftsmanship — and ensuring its luxury outerwear boasts outstanding quality
Chris Blackmore’s passion for tweed clothing started on the day he bought his first-ever suit – a Harris tweed three-piece, back in 1966. “I got the bug from that time onwards,” he says. “I still wear tweed suits today. I love the colours, I love the touch, I love the finish and the individuality.”
Then working for a tailor in London, he went on to start his own business creating classic garments in the fabric he loved so much. More than 30 years later, the company he founded, Chrysalis, is still producing the finest country and town wear for stores and labels both in the UK and around the world.
It was the passion Blackmore has for his craft, and his commitment to creating high-quality British products using traditional methods, that led luxury-goods company William & Son to employ him to create their own country wear. In 2013, he went on to buy the company’s factory in Corby, Northamptonshire as part of vertical integration into the WRA Group.
Chrysalis is one of several British manufacturers that the WRA Group has invested in as part of its commitment to supporting British craftsmanship. “We’ve always worked closely with British companies,” says William Asprey, chairman and founder of William & Son. “There’s a very good reason for that, which is that the quality is excellent, if not the best. We saw a real opportunity for these businesses and felt that we could grow them.”
For Asprey and William & Son’s chief executive Lou McLeod, buying Chrysalis made perfect sense. “They are the best,” says McLeod. “Chris trained in Savile Row, so his cut is excellent.”
As with other manufacturers they have invested in, Chrysalis not only supplies William & Son, but produces for other companies, too. “In an ideal world, we want the factories to be flat out all year round,” says Asprey. “Chris has produced for a lot of our competitors and they come back to him because he’s very good at what he does. Men in the shooting field want practicality; they want comfort – something that’s not restrictive.”
For Blackmore, it means he can be confident that Chrysalis can carry on creating the finest outdoor wear for many more years. “To have somebody who has a keen interest and passion for what we do was great,” says Blackmore. “It means I can look after the workforce and continue the traditions that we have here with all the multi-skills the workers possess.”
In the Corby factory, a team of 30 skilled artisans work to create the garments. “None of our goods is mass-produced,” says Blackmore. “They’re all individually hand-made and tailored from start to finish. That’s what makes us unique.”
The process starts with the raw material, tweed, which is all sourced in the UK. “We buy the finest tweeds for the purpose, sourced from mills in Scotland and Yorkshire,” says Blackmore. “Our garments are British-made from British cloth.”
Each piece is hand-cut with shears from a pattern before the fabric is stabilised to make it waterproof. Once it leaves the cutting room it then moves into the sewing room, where three multi-skilled teams each work on different types of garments. One team create waistcoats, gilets and breeks; another makes all the top coats, such as classic racing coats with velvet collars. A third team is dedicated to creating field coats – a timeless garment that the company has been making since it started.
“We offer it in 80 different tweeds and as many combinations as the customer decides to choose,” says Blackmore. “We also offer a choice of linings and all sorts of trims, so the customer can make the coat their own and know there’s nothing else on the high street like it.”
Each field coat has a breathable membrane inside to keep the wearer warm and dry. “It’s a mixture of old traditions and new technology,” says Blackmore. Chrysalis swaps in half a dozen new tweeds into its selection each year. “We’re always bringing in fresh ideas, styles and fabrics, and I’m always looking at new patterns, clothes and designs.”
William & Son’s country wear combines functionality with luxury. “It’s still about practicality, but we’ve added more style to it,” says McLeod. “We say ‘British with a twist’.”
Whether it’s updating a classic field jacket in a new colour or fabric, or investing in a UK company such as Chrysalis, it’s about breathing new life into British traditions – and ensuring that luxury products made in this country continue to be revered around the world.