Monday, 27 September 2010

Patterned Interiors

Wiener Werkstatte room in 'Osterrisches Haus' at Cologne Werkbund Exhibition, 1914.
Reference taken from the book: 'Wonderful Wiener Werkstatte - Design in Vienna 1903-1932' by Christian Brandstatter. Blurb taken from the introduction below...

'At the turn of the 20th Century, Vienna was the European epicentre of innovation of the arts. in 1903 the Vienna Workshops were created - an idealistic offspring of Art Nouveau that, in resistance to increasing mass production and industrialisation, called for integregation of the fine and applied arts, the union of form and function in design, and treatment of everyday objects with refined craftmanship and aesthetic care. The movement embraced all areas of arts and design.'

This approach and point of view is completely in-keeping with the Marwood ethos and fits in perfectly with our decision making process when designing and producing Marwood Ties.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Just a Madder of Time

What is a 'madder' tie?
The word 'madder' refers to a natural dye from a Eurasian herbaceous plant, Rubia Tinctoria, and it was the root from this plant that was used as a regal dyestuff since ancient times. Only since the 19th century has this special dye been used mostly on silk and it is known for producing soft, muted, deep colours in a tight palette of red, green, chocolate, medium blue and yellow. The distinguishable feature of silk printed with the madder dye, along with the colours, is the dusty-looking finish and soft, brushed hand-feel (commonly described as a 'chalk hand'); this is created by initially using a special type of 'gum' silk for this printing process, which is first treated separately by being boiled to remove its natural gum, then dyed and then bathed in a new gum solution.
Madder ties have become a very well recognised symbol of an English Gentleman's warbrobe , in paisley or a small geometric pattern and reliable merchants such as Drakes or labels along Savile Row take pride in still providing it in their offerings. It does however tend to look old and it often gets avoided as it could appear to be 'stuffy' or too traditional.
As for Marwood... we definitely want to embrace this craft, especially as it uses such a painstaking and unique process known to be English. Although this may not be present in the first collection, we are investigating contacts and think it would be even better to do as a collaboration. A limited run of a madder printed tie - but with the Marwood edge? We look forward to working on it.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Boys and their Toys

We picked up these postcards the other day and they have good Marwood spirit.
Photographer: Roman Signer

Monday, 13 September 2010

A bit about Drakes of London

Drakes of London are the makers of the finest English neckties. They have been around since 1977 and have their own tie-making facilities on their premises in Clerkenwell, London. Here at Marwood we admire Drakes for producing a quality product that truely provides for the traditional tie-wearing City worker yet recently they have also responded to the demand from stores such as Dover Street Market and Comme des Garçons for a more modern take on neckwear, and it is this part of their collection which Marwood is in a way competing with. There is a demand for modern, relevant neckwear for a fashion conscious consumer who still cares about tradition and quality assurance. Marwood's initial vehicle is neckwear and it allows us to explore and design with pattern in wool and silk. Every tie in the Marwood collection will be a pattern of some kind (no stripes or motifs though) and although it will be reminiscent of the past, it will have a strong image and modern context, making it an appealing new choice.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Tie Making from a Garden Shed

On the far right side of this photo ( you can see the front entrance to the garden shed that has been converted in to a tie-making studio on the border of Scotland...

A shed with a view of fields to the horizon.
Below, Frances sewing the lining in for a 'machine-made' tie using a special feeder on the machine to ensure it's stitched centrally. Marwood is developing the majority of its tie range as a hand-made product which will not involve this machine, however it is a good option for a more commercial price-friendly end of the range. Machine-made ties are not to be snubbed as long as the correct process is used, however the refined finish of a hand-finish is a definitely noticable and worth the extra pennies.Frances showing me her process on a sunny day in Berwickshire.
Discussing lining qualities for Marwood ties.
A couple of weeks ago Marwood made a journey on British Rail to Berwick-upon-Tweed to visit a tie-maker who will work on developing the perfect Marwood tie. We found out about Frances through a Welsh Mill (Cambrian) who pointed us in her direction and it was a pleasure to visit her unique set-up. Frances has made ties for the past 30 years and her company was a victim of the recession last year, so she downsized and decided to take a handful of clients and work on a more personal level from her back garden. It has proved a success and she has been busier than ever.

These photographs were taken by Callum Toy who shot everything on film (as he always does) and Marwood is happy to have his support and interest in recording the behind-the-scenes of Marwood Ties as they are being made and developed. Marwood met Callum through the silk mill Stephen Walters and has not looked back since. A fantastic collaboration that we hope to continue, particularly as this is a small part of a greater story that Toy will undertake concerning the documentation of the entire silk process.

To be continued...

Monday, 6 September 2010


Wearing a vintage tie picked out from Marwood's research box, Henry styles it out perfectly with an old tie clip and tweed jacket and blue shirt just to throw it off slightly. Looking sharp Mr Preston.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Travelling Ties

Auction site:
Looking on this auction site for research I came across this silk tie case from the 1880s. A modern version of this is the wooden tie box, this is one of Marwood's own collection photographed below. It would be interesting to develop a combination of these two to create a workable, modern storage method which is nostalgic but not sentimental and designed to look as impressive as the wooden version but perhaps more user friendly - particularly for travelling, which if we are honest is when ties get crushed and distorted and begin to look like rags.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Men Improve with the Years?

Finding lovely old books is always a pleasure.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Russell and Hodge Bespoke London Shirtmakers

The attention to detail and bespoke service that can be found in London is something to be proud of. Ideally Marwood will eventually create an off-the-peg shirt (as well as custom-made) that will be reliably considerate to detail but have a less formal finesse to it. Quality won't be compromised but the option of formal clothing with a subtle edge is where we are heading. Textures and patterns leave a less polished finish on high class cottons (in a good way) and as the shirt is the backdrop to the centre piece necktie, it has to complement and accentuate it in every way.