“If we stand by and do nothing, how can we look our children and our grandchildren in the face?”
— His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
As the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, Great Britain has always been known as a nation of makers. At the time, its thriving textile industry was an early adopter of modern production methods, which ushered in a new era of growth in Europe. Nowadays, much of the world’s manufacturing has moved to the East, leaving many of Britain’s mills and other industries in shambles. Nevertheless, “Made in Britain” has seen a resurgence in the last few years, not for nostalgia’s sake, but as a genuine movement to reignite the British economy, pass down the knowledge and skills deeply rooted in craftsmanship and to preserve an integral part of British identity, history, and culture. Once such label that is doing its part is Ross Barr.
Founded in Leeds in September 2015 with the full support of The Prince’s Trust, Ross Barr is on a mission to “celebrate and demonstrate the true beauty and quality of the British manufacturing industry” through fashion. The label’s town-to-country collection of knitwear is tough and hard-wearing by make, yet luxurious and dignified by design. Inspired by snippets of Britain’s history and culture, each piece is made from 100% British wool, dyed in Yorkshire and manufactured in Leicester.
“I go out and source every aspect of the product, from the wool, the dye to even the buttons, labelling, and packaging, so that I can ensure and guarantee that I live up to the brand ethos that is ‘every stitch and every thread, authentically British’,” says founder and designer Ross Barr-Hoyland. “I want people who wear my designs to fall in love with how they look in them, no matter how many times they are worn […] What is equally important is that they care about why it is sourced and made in Britain.”
Ross Barr and producing fashion that is reviving British manufacturing is my way of giving hope and to bring about change that is sorely needed [for] those around me.”
THE EMBODIMENT OF BRITISH CRAFTSMANSHIP
The Spencer design is dating from the 1790s, was originally a woolen outer tail-coat with the tails cut-off. It was worn as a short waist-length, double-breasted, man’s jacket. Knitted and hand-finished in Leicester, with Yorkshire-spun Scottish wool and finished with English pine buttons, The Spencer is unapologetically British.
The “Spencer” double breasted wool cardigan is available in Denim, Bark, Charcoal, Claret and Anthracite.
A Harbinger of Hope
Experiencing firsthand the severe decline of Britain’s industries over recent decades, Barr-Hoyland’s patriotism stems from his desire to bring about positive change and long-term benefits to members of his community. By helping resurrect the industries of old such as textiles, wool and metalwork, the label strives to provide dignity and opportunity to the areas and people in need.
“Ross Barr was born with the dream and goal to produce sustainable, slow fashion to reverse the degeneration that has occurred in Yorkshire —my home— and revive industry to provide employment,”
Barr-Hoyland explains. “I remember the time when people had no hope in me, and I work for and am inspired by those who people have lost hope in. Ross Barr and producing fashion that is reviving British manufacturing is my way of giving hope and to bring about change that is sorely needed [for] those around me.”
Driven by the desire to be a fashion brand with a higher purpose, Ross Barr remains true to its philanthropic roots, partnering with charitable organizations such as Style for Soldiers, Children with Cancer UK, and Tribe of Lambs. The label continues to work ardently with The Prince’s Trust and The Campaign for Wool on several projects, all the while preparing for the launch of its 2017 Spring-Summer Collection. Not one to rest on his laurels, Barr-Hoyland is determined to build a brighter future for Britain’s makers for years to come. “I have lots of ideas, designs, and avenues I wish to explore,” the founder says. “There are no limitations, but everything will be discovered in time. The world is filled with limitless possibilities.”
A TRUE STAPLE FOR THE GENTLEMAN’S CASUAL WARDROBE
‘The Hoyland’ is influenced by the designer’s paternal family background in farming. Tough and hard wearing, the Hoyland is made from thick 100% British wool with British cowhide elbow patches.