The present preoccupation with authentically provenanced, robust utilitarian, heritage apparel continues with the opening of Manchester-based label Private White VC’s new flagship store on London’s Duke Street.
Designed by ex-Dunhill designer Nick Ashley – son of Laura Ashley, of the eponymous fashion and home furnishings behemoth – Private White VC is the workshop brand of a clothing and textiles manufacturer run and managed by the great grandchildren of World War One Victoria Cross recipient Private Jack White.
For decades the factory was a largely anonymous, freelance operation making garments for the likes of Burberry, Aquascutum, Nigel Cabourn and Baracuta, but three years back, inspired by the energy of new owner James Eden and the vision of Nick Ashley, the Private White label was born.
Now several seasons in, Private White VC has found a credible niche in the modern day sartorial vernacular. This is proper, virile British gear – duffels, bombers, car coats, pea jackets – retro inspired but contemporarily styled, lovingly made by dedicated Lancastrian seamstresses manning heavy-duty overlockers. Fabrics are wax cotton, military spec cotton drill and Harris Tweed. Collars are, inevitably, raw state sheepskin. In short, it is clothing for the type of people who think that Belstaff may have gotten a bit too 'fashion'.
'We’re doing something that’s not really been done before because we’re an uber-luxury British factory,' says Ashley. 'There’s only one place higher than us in terms of make, quality and price, and that’s Savile Row. So, Mayfair suits us.'