Long Live Linton

By Horsley Couture

Kenley Jacket in Linton Tweed
Caption: Our Kenley jacket in Linton Tweed

In the early nineteenth century, the history of Carlisle made a shift - from a garrison town to a manufacturing one. The industrial revolution brought mills to the city, which thrived in the Denton Holme area where some of them still survive. One in particular, the illustrious Linton Tweeds, began its story in 1912, when canny Scotsman William Linton thought to base his business in the historic city.

Linton started with just two salesmen who travelled the Lake District buying and selling, but his main advantage came in the form of his friend Captain Molyneux, a Parisian Couturier. Molyneux introduced the Linton wares to a creative and determined young lady named Gabrielle Chanel. She was thrilled with the fabric, and not only did Chanel become the most prestigious ambassador for Linton Tweed, but Linton Tweed became synonymous with Chanel designs.

The association with the Parisian catwalks helped to propel Linton Tweeds into America, as every smart young lady wanted to be dressed in the latest modes from the fashion capital. In the late 1930s, William’s daughter Agnes Linton made the move to the United States , where business was so popular that only an extremely select group of ten or so clients were shown the new collection each season.

The sixties were a difficult decade for the business, as competition was high from larger mills in Scotland and Yorkshire, who were able to produce more cheaply due to their size. And success in America came with a risk. As the largest part of the business by far, when economic difficulties hit Linton’s customers hard, the effects were to ripple through the Cumbrian mill too.
But in the late sixties, Linton turned the corner back to success. They invested in machinery to make their own fancy yarns, which together with extending the colour ranges and introducing some man-made fibres gave more scope for design and allowed it to become the unique, dynamic product we know today. New markets were found in Canada and Japan, just as Parisian couturiers began to introduce ready-to-wear collections - great news for hard-working mills.

2012 marked a century of quality fabric manufacture for Linton tweeds, and they’re still going strong. Availability to the world’s top fashion houses remains a priority, as well as creating a great customer experience at their Bobbin Coffee Shop and fabric showroom. 100 years is a monumental milestone for this fabulous brand. Their unique style is always recognisable, and signifies a mark of quality for both the garment and the wearer. We at Horsley are delighted to be able to work with this beautiful material from this historic mill, especially as we produce our own garments just sixty miles away.

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