A recent Q&A with one of the most prestige fabric makers in the world, Holland & Sherry. Enjoy!
1.)Tell me about the origins of Holland & Sherry?
Stephen George Holland and Frederick Sherry began the business as woollen merchants at 10 Old Bond Street, London, specialising in both woollen and silk cloths. In 1886 Holland & Sherry moved premises to Golden Square, the epitome of the woollen merchanting trade.
By 1900 Holland & Sherry was exporting to many countries worldwide. At this time a sales office was established in New York. In the early part of the twentieth century, the United Kingdom, Europe, North and South America were the dominant markets for the company. Amongst other distribution arrangements, there was a Holland & Sherry warehouse in St. Petersburg, Russia; a successful market prior to the revolution as it is today.
In 1968 Holland & Sherry bought Scottish cloth merchant, Lowe Donald, based in Peebles in the Scottish Borders and located their distribution to the purpose-built warehouse there.
Of all the cloth merchants of Golden Square which were established in the late 1800’s, only Holland & Sherry remains. Over the decades the company has purchased nearly twenty other wool companies.
In 1982 Holland & Sherry moved their flagship showroom and registered office to the centre of sartorial style – Savile Row, London where it remains today.
Today, our international headquarters in Peebles concentrates on customer service, ordering, shipping, cutting, bunchmaking and design operations where we are constantly engaged in research for ever finer and more luxurious fibres and fabric qualities; sourcing the finest natural fibres, ranging from Super 240’s, cashmere to pure worsted Vicuña.
Our cloths are woven in the time honoured way assuring excellence in quality, style and design.
A bespoke tailored garment in luxury Holland & Sherry cloth is truly an investment and always a pleasure to wear.
2.) How many metres/kms of fabric would Holland & Sherry produce for each bunch? How many each year?
On average there are 50 patterns in each collection. For each pattern we purchase around 210mts of cloth. Therefore, for each collection we purchase on average around 10,500mts of cloth; of which 1/5thwould be used for sampling – around 2000mts.
3.) What is the difference between wool cloth and worsted wool cloth?
A worsted cloth has been woven from yarns that have been spun on the worsted spinning system. Unlike woollen cloths, worsted cloths are less hairy, more durable and often lighter in weight making them more globally accepted.
A worsted yarn is achieved by combing wool tops with long, metal toothed rollers, during this process any short fibres are removed and the long staple fibres left behind. These fibres are then re-combed so that they become perfectly aligned and parallel to one another.
A typical woollen yarn that is used for woollen cloths is produced from shorter wool fibres of varying lengths. The mass of short fibres are mixed and generally unaligned.
Before spinning the fibres undergo a process called carding. This process aligns the short fibres and produces a soft open web that is then spun to produce a lofty, open yarn.
4.) The Black Tie collection from Holland & Sherry is one of my favourite collections. Can you explain the process involved in the making of Velvet?
The luxurious softness of velvet makes it the perfect choice for any formal event that requires a degree of elegance and sophistication.
Velvet was a very difficult and expensive cloth to make before the advent of industrial power looms, and was therefore only ever worn by the rich. Today the cloth is still difficult to produce but with the benefit of modern looms the process is much faster and more efficient.
A Velvet cloth is woven on a special loom that weaves two layers of velvet at the same time. The two layers are joined together, face to face by an interlacing weft yarn. After the weft yarn has been inserted a cutting knife passes through the middle of both layers, cleanly separating them to create two cloths with an evenly distributed tufted pile.
The Holland & Sherry velvet collection offers a range of sumptuous colours includes opulent purples, reds and blues, alongside the more muted maroon, mauve and Persian blue. The wide choice of colours ensures you will find just the right colour for you.
5.) What is the largest country Holland & Sherry supply to?
The US is our main market closely followed by Italy and the UK.