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.

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