Focus on London Craft Week: John Smedley

The John Smedley store on Jermyn Street

Focus on London Craft Week: John Smedley

Photographs Thom Atkinson

Words Mark Hooper

Knitwear specialists John Smedley artfully combine centuries-old tradition with modern fashion’s demand for the new…

Their factory in Lea Mills, Derbyshire is the oldest manufacturing factory in the world, having operated since 1784, when the industrial revolution was in its infancy.

They still operate out of the same mill, although the materials and techniques have evolved over the intervening 230 years: from producing simple muslin and spinning cotton to more complex garments. Their iconic style has attracted equally iconic clients over the years, including Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and The Beatles. They have produced knitwear Sir Paul Smith and Dame Vivienne Westwood and earned a Royal Warrant as ‘Manufacturer of Fine Knitwear’ from Queen Elizabeth II. And they continue to innovate today – their unisex capsule collection ‘Singular’ is the first ever unisex knitwear collection launched in the UK.

The John Smedley store on Jermyn Street

For London Craft Week 2018, John Smedley’s team of British craftsmen and women will be demonstrating their knitwear skills during a live demonstration at their store (55 Jermyn Street, St James’s, 12pm-5pm on 10 May – no booking necessary).

In addition, owners of any John Smedley garments will be able to customise them (or anything that they buy in-store on the day) via a free bespoke embroidery service on 10 May only (same times as above).

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