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Smash Hits – British Fashion Classics

Some things just never go out of style, that classic trench, or well-tailored white shirt for example, or that stylish cashmere knit that’s served you for decades and still kept its shape.

And we Brits have something we can be proud of style speaking, as British fashion designers can definitely claim the credit for some major style sensations that have endured throughout the years. From Pringle sweaters to the Punk look, our designers have created some of the most memorable fashion classics the style world has seen.

Among the vast pantheon of style classics out there that British designers have contributed to, there are some some design ideas are so legendary they undoubtedly deserve a special mention. Let’s take a look at what these extra special style sensations have been…

Pringle Cashmere Sweater

Scotland has given birth to some pretty impressive inventions, there’s the telephone, the television, and not forgetting of course, a wee dram or four of whiskey. Fashion wise too, Scotland has always had plenty to say, with its bold tartans and clansmen’s colours, oh and of course Pringle.

Pringle’s Scottish heritage can be traced back as far as 1815 when the iconic brand was first founded, and it swiftly became one of the first ever luxury knitwear brands, with its distinctive designs being sought after by eager buyers globally.

The brand’s signature cashmere knit was first produced in the 1870’s, around the time the company created the unique “intarsia” Argyll design, with which Pringle is synonymous today around the world.

From Hollywood celebs, to pro golfers, a cashmere Pringle sweater is a hallmark of style and quiet luxury, and will go with absolutely anything, whether it’s accessorized with a pair of jodhpurs, or thrown casually around your shoulders as you waltz down the red carpet in that premiere worthy dress.

Burberry Trenchcoat

One of Britain’s oldest labels, Burberry started out by supplying soldier’s uniforms, and manufactured the ground-breaking fabric called Gabardine, a fabric so durable it was utilized in military clothing throughout the nation.

The label’s most iconic creation though, is unarguably the iconic Burberry Trench, which first debuted in the 19th century when Thomas Burberry added metal straps and rings to his officer’s trench, and an instant design classic was born.

The Burberry Trench has been acclaimed globally, and its worldwide popularity shows no signs of abating, with the classic style being sported proudly by celebs from model Cara Delevigne to HRH Kate Middleton.

Turnbull & Asser Shirt

Established in 1885 Turnbull & Asser are well known for their hallmark tailoring and attention to detail, and have dressed celebrities and royals alike, from Prince Charles to screen hero James Bond.

The flagship shop, located on London’s prestigious Jermyn Street, holds a Royal Warrant, but the company’s most celebrated design has undoubtedly been its classic tailored shirt design, which has been the preferred choice of stylish politicos and celebs who like to dress smartly for decades.

From Charlie Chaplin to artist Pablo Picasso, and more recently actress Gwyneth Paltrow, Turnbull & Asser’s iconic shirt has seemingly never been out of the style spotlight, and the label has also made its mark overseas, with its designs sold in illustrious stores such as Barneys, and the launch of the New York flagship store in 1997.

Mini Skirt

The miniskirt’s short and cheeky style literally revolutionised the fashion world when it first debuted in 1966. British designer Mary Quant began dressing her models in the thigh skimming design, which sent shockwaves throughout the fashion world and became an instant British style smash practically overnight.

The mini achieved global coverage, appearing on the front of acclaimed style mags from Vogue to Nova, and was sported by uber models Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy, becoming an essential part of their waifish, gamine look.

Today the mini skirt is a go to classic look that’s never been out of style since its introduction in the 60’s, and the short length is worn by everyone brave enough to get their pins out all over the globe, from WAGS on a night out to Hollywood actresses on the red carpet.

Punk

Punk style was made popular in Britain by Vivenne Westwood and Malcom McLaren, who opened the shop SEX, in Chelsea, selling the pair’s avant garde designs as well as vinyl showcasing bands like the Sex Pistols, which McLaren helped put together.

The clothes McLaren and Westwood sold were in direct contrast to the glossy glam rock look popular in the seventies, the new style featured slogan t-shirts designed to shock, bondage elements, such as straps and leather, tough bovver boots, tattoos, and gritty styling.

Punk soon exploded on the scene as a major trend, making a unique global phenomenon and McLaren and Westwood famous, with everyone from teacher’s daughters to rock stars soon adopting the look.

Even today, elements of the punk look are heavily borrowed by mainstream artists like Pink and Jessie J, and the style is still a major street trend, with variations of punk becoming popular every now and then, such as the heavily pierced and tattooed alt rock look, with its haphazard styling elements and colour clashes.

So do you agree with these British style sensations, maybe we’ve missed something out?

Tis the season to be stylish (and warm)!

It’s that time of year again. The time when the nights start to draw in and the days grow colder, not cold enough to warrant a full on Artic style cover up but cold enough to make you shiver if you’re not wrapped up properly.

Transitional time, when autumn meets winter around early November and the two shake hands for a brief moment, is the time our minds begin to turn to the often stressful task of Christmas shopping and the looming festive season, but we should also give half a mind to our sartorial choices as it can be tricky to dress right during the crossover period.

It’s definitely far too cold for that lightweight linen summer jacket, but it’s not quite warranting bringing out that faux fur-lined Parka yet. Le sigh. Mr Guy Fawkes didn’t have to worry about such fashion difficulties, well at least not after he had a nice toasty bonfire underneath him.

Speaking of which, Fireworks Night marks the ushering in of that time when a cup of steaming hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkles starts to sound like the best idea ever, but it’s also the time we crack open our sweater drawers and examine whether or not those moth eaten sloppy joes will be viable again this year.

But there’s no excuse for trotting out the same old tired fashion choices, we Brits have a lot of experience with dressing for bad weather, and as a result Brit designers are renowned for offering up some of the most stylish and iconic transitional season fashion to be found globally. Think comfy Pringle sweaters, Burberry Trenchcoats, Barbour jackets, and Hunter wellies, then toss in a wacky Zandra Rhodes print overlong Dr Who style scarf for good measure.

November can be an unpredictable month, with weather ranging from the fairly mild to full on downpours and freezing winds from one day to the next. If you’re going to be attending a Fireworks Night event outdoors this year, why not wrap up warm in a chunky knit arran sweater, the Arran knit sweater being yet another Brit design classic of course.

When Guido Fawkes was discovered under the Houses Of Parliament with enough gun powder to blow up an army, the people celebrated saving the political establishment with wild parties in the street and much rejoicing, burning effigies of Mr Fawkes on bonfires.

And while we might not quite have so much enthusiasm for today’s political elite, the tradition still lingers, with the 5th of November seeing more people turn out to watch rockets, Roman Candles, and Catherine Wheels than most other outdoor events see on these shores all year round.

A chilly spell doesn’t have to mean sloppy dressing though, especially with the myriad of design choices currently available for snappy dressing during the cold snap. Now, no matter what your style. turn the cold weather to your advantage by investing in some quality knitwear that will keep you both snug and stylish.

Whether your style epitomizes laidback cool, you adore the vintage look, or you prefer to dress up rather than down with more tailored knits, our massive pool of home-grown design talent ensures there’s something for everyone.

For something truly innovative this season, try out some of the exciting new recycled or ethically sourced knits that are slowly beginning to be seen on the shelves of British stores both offline and online.

Take it from us, eco fashion is set to be one of the big trends of 2015, so get a sartorial jump-start by warming up to ethical style during the transitional period, before the trend becomes huge fashion news next year. And while you’re about it, why not take the hassle out of some of that Christmas shopping and avoid the crush by snapping up some on trend eco fashion online, both as a stylish treat for yourself, and for the perfect gift for someone special?

Alternative 21st Century Outfit for all Men.

Riley & Silver Winter Outfit

Gentlemen, if you are looking for an outfit that offers the best of 21st century fashion, which combines both Made in Britain clothing with Eco Material clothing, then read on and you’ll be surprised…

It can get a little chilly in January in the UK, and you’ll need to wrap up warm, which means it’s all about layering, and the simpler you can make an outfit, the better.

Nothing gets more simpler than a White Organic Cotton and Bamboo T-Shirt underneath a Rhapsody Blue 100% Lambswool Made in Britain Jumper, which were both born to go together, and do so perfectly, in fact the only combinations on this planet that even get close are marmite and cheese, and batter on any chocolate bar.

You haven’t tried either? Egads, you haven’t lived!

So we move onto the bottom half, and as you can’t simply go strutting around with nothing on (well you could, but you might get a few strange looks!) then it’s best you can add in some Made in Britain Boxershorts, on top of which fit perfectly a pair of Stonewash Blue Made in Britain Jeans.

And then to finish off the look, add a pair of Red and Navy Luxury Bamboo Socks for that little flash of colour and you’ve got the perfect combination of made in britain and eco material clothing.

Oh and did you know you can get all of those items over on our website? No? Well, why not follow the links above or click on our web address and have a look for yourself … www.rileyandsilver.co.uk

And in case you’re getting picky about things, and are actually thinking about going outside in this outfit, you might need some shoes, and I’d highly recommend trying these Made in Britain 6 Eye Brogue Derby Boots

6 Eye Brogue Derby Boot Solovair

Something that we unfortunately don’t stock right now, but will be later this year.

And there we have it chaps. Your very own made in britain and eco material outfit, now go forth and be 21st century made in britain eco material chic! Now there’s a term that’ll make it into the English Dictionary by the end of the year.

Cheerio!

Mike

Creating Made in Britain clothing for Men? Make it affordable, oh and casual!

In the last few years I’ve taken more of an interest in Made in Britain mens clothing, but I often struggle to find anything that is either in my price range (e.g middle to lower) or that isn’t a f***ing suit!

I’m all for as many people/companies making mens clothing here in Britain, but why oh why, do so many of them have to be so bloody expensive, and what is it with all these bloody suits and trousers for men?

As far as I am aware we’re not stuck in the Victorian times, this is 2014 and the right pair of jeans and a properly fitting top can make any guy look good. I just don’t get this whole suit look, it’s just plain boring to me.

I know manufacturing here in Britain costs more, and I believe one of the reasons is partly because there are fewer factories capable of making the clothing, but even still, there are companies who are making clothing here in Britain, and doing it at an affordable level.

We even offer a few over on our website, and we’ll be adding more as and when we come across affordable ranges.

Hawick Knitwear Jumper at Riley & Silver

As an example Hawick Knitwear and Wizard Jeans are a couple of brands offering what I call affordable casual menswear.

Hawick offer great jumpers for around £60-£80 and Wizard Jeans offer great jeans for around £90.

Both price ranges are what I would call affordable. And both companies clothing is what I would call casual, although the Hawick jumpers wouldn’t look out-of-place with a nice shirt underneath somewhere more formal, but I digress…

What I’m getting at is that there seems to be a lot of new made in britain clothing lines that are popping up that offer just smart shirts and suits, and I don’t understand why.

Casual clothing is a massive market, and yes I know, just as suits are. But surely there are enough suit manufacturers in britain. I know it’s something we’re really good at, but we don’t need any more right now surely.

To me the whole point of wanting to manufacture in britain is to ensure skills and jobs are kept in this country, therefore benefiting the whole country because it will have a knock on effect not just felt directly by the people making the clothing.

So let’s make something here that isn’t already being made here, that being casual clothing.

Wizard Jeans at Riley & Silver

For me an example of great looking casual clothing is the stuff that Jacamo offer. They’ve got such a wide range of mens clothing, and pretty much all of it looks great too.

It’d be nice if some of it was made in britain or from alternative materials, but hey I’m sure it will be one day, right Jacamo?

One thing I haven’t been able to find made in britain as yet is a decent affordable top, shirt or t-shirt.

Something to wear underneath a jumper when it’s cold, or something to wear on its own when it gets warmer (it does happen occasionally here in Britain you know).

I haven’t yet been able to find a made in britain casual t-shirt or shirt at a decent price, which for me would be around £10-£20 for a t-shirt and £25-£50 for a shirt.

And yes it’s doable, it’s just a case of taking less profit when you make a sale. And don’t worry about the less profit bit, because you’ll sell more, if you make a great product.

That’s what I don’t get about high-priced clothing. It can cost exactly the same to make as a lower priced piece.

If a top costs say £20 to manufacture in britain (all costs included, shipping etc.), why does a company then sell it at £60+?

Why not sell it at £40? You’d still be covering all your costs, plus you’d be making anywhere between £10-£20 clear profit. And best of all you’d probably sell a lot more because more people would be able to afford it.

And that’s one of the worst things I have experienced so far having gained more of an interest in made in britain clothing. People do actually want to buy more of it, but I constantly hear ‘but it’s so expensive’.

I know we’ve all got used to buying cheaper imported clothing, but still, the British made clothing is on the whole very expensive.

Again, I know it can be due to the lack of manufacturing facilities here in britain, but it’s also to do with companies being too f***ing greedy in their profit margins.

It wouldn’t be so bad if these companies were open enough to show that the extra profit was being used to provide training for their workers, or even more factories being built etc, but a lot of companies prefer to give this extra profit to their shareholders, which are often foreign and they then invest it in their own country.

Yay, great. Yet more money taken out of Britain.

Meh, I’m going off on one here, perhaps I shouldn’t have started writing after drinking my third rum n coke this evening.

But my point has been made, I think.

So please, pretty pretty please, if you’re thinking of creating a Made in Britain mens clothing line, make it casual, and for f*** sake make it affordable too!

Cheers

Mike

Stop taking so much profit and create jobs instead!

I came across this article a few weeks back, but forgot to share it. Then I came across it again this weekend, so thought I’d share it with you now.

It’s about a businessman called John Elliott, and how he believes British businesses could reverse the decades of decline in manufacturing.

And from my point of view I agree with everything John says, and my favourite part of the article is this…

John Elliott is taking the very noble step of making lower profits in order to create jobs here rather than in cheaper locations, something most businesses probably wouldn’t be so patriotic about.

He’s not even interested in working out how much he could save by going abroad. I’m not going to do that. I don’t need to do it and it’s not right. Sometimes you’ve got to do things for the greater good. I don’t want to sound too high and mighty here, but sometimes … you’ve got to do what’s right rather than go for the last penny.

I couldn’t have said it better, the guy is a legend.

Click here to read the full article, trust me you’ll love it, if only more business men and woman thought like him!

Cheerio

Mike

Why we think it is hugely important to support British clothing manufacturing.

Well, here we go, our very first post is here on this blog of ours….

I’ve been procrastinating over what to put up for our first post, but I thought lets not over think it too much, and just get a post up to begin with!

The aim with this blog is to let you know from time to time what goes on in the background of running Riley & Silver, and sometimes our own personal lives too if we feel so bold. Mainly though, it will be about British clothing manufacturing, British companies and just generally anything British we feel needs putting out there.

I won’t make the first post about anything particular other than reiterating what message we are hoping to portray with this blog, almost like a mission statement I suppose.

We want to show how much we care about British clothing manufacturing, and in fact anything British as a whole. Because if ever there was, and is a time that our country needs our support, then that time is now.

If we want to continue to have our great British lifestyles, in our great country, we need to support each other more. We need to support each other’s British businesses more, and most importantly make sure more of our money stays on these Great British Isles.

By spending our money on British products from British companies the money will eventually find its way back to us, meaning we’ll once again have more money to spend on enjoying our great British lifestyles.

Please do not think for one minute that we’re anti global trade, because we are not, and it would be very narrow-minded of us to be otherwise.

We are all for trading with the global community, but what we are not for, is allowing all our money to leak out of our great country, and into foreign hands, which will eventually as it already is, lead to us having less money for ourselves.

We can’t on one hand spend money on foreign products and then complain about how all our British companies are closing down and that there are no jobs for us.

It is time we all opened our eyes and realised that if we want our high streets, our towns and villages, our communities, and most importantly our jobs to be around for future generations, we must support everything that is British before we support things that are foreign.

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Phew…. that came out like verbal diarrhea, just imagine if I’d had a cup of coffee instead of tea!

Anyway, I’ll continue on, I’m sure someone is still reading this…..

Hedghog Listening

Here at Riley & Silver we don’t pretend to have all the answers to the problems facing us here in the UK, in fact we don’t pretend to have any of the answers (although personally, I’m sure chocolate could be one of them!).

We are probably not alone in our thinking that the UK government isn’t doing a great job at resolving various issues for us, so we have to try to resolve them ourselves, head on and most importantly together, as friends, as families, and as communities.

We believe that we can do our little bit by supporting British manufacturing, and specifically in our case British clothing manufacturing. So we’ve pledged to try to offer as much of the great British clothing available as possible through our business Riley & Silver.

There is a need for a British clothing company, that supports only British clothing companies, not because we’re anti this or that, or in any way shape or form biased towards British products, but simply because we should as British people first and foremost support ourselves and our companies before any others.

I of course haven’t mentioned anything as yet of the British companies that are using alternative materials to make their clothing, the large majority of which are made abroad.

I won’t go into detail right now about why we believe the alternative materials like organic and fair trade cotton and bamboo or hemp have great benefits in comparison to standard materials, as these topics are widely available for those that care to read about them (although we will post about it later on).

The environmental benefits of ethically produced textiles can be widely researched on the interweb, so I feel no need to explain why we should, and are backing British companies that are using these materials in their clothing.

We personally feel passionately that the two can, should and will eventually combine to coexist together one day. There will be British brands that manufacture here in the UK and who use alternative materials to do so.

That is our ultimate dream, and we hope that there are some of you out there that agree with us, that are as passionate about this as we are, and are willing to help us bring British clothing manufacturing back up to the levels it was decades ago, using standard or alternative materials.

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OK I’ll stop there. That is most definitely as long as I should let this first post get.

Hopefully you’ll subscribe to the blog feed, or even follow us on your favourite social media, and support us in our journey to bring British clothing manufacturing back to the top of the world, where it belongs!

Thanks for reading this far, and I promise that most of the future posts will not be this length……… most! (^_^)

Toodle pip.

Mike