Unlike other tweeds, thornproof wool is designed entirely for strength. With our thornproof designs, we endeavored to make an elegant, understated collection that could maintain a dapper appearance even under the worst conditions. Two heritage materials with highly utilitarian backgrounds may seem unlikely candidates for an elegant collection, but when together, they reflect the beauty in what some may consider rugged.
Abraham Moon & Sons, Thornproof Wool
Abraham Moon & Sons Factory in Leeds, England. Built in 1868
Our thornproof wool was woven by Abraham Moon & Sons, a mill founded in 1837 in northern Leeds. With their nearly 180-year history of weaving woolen fabrics, Moon is considered one of the finest mills in the U.K.. Their impressive repertoire includes “British Redcoat Wool” and “Royal Airforce Blue,” materials iconic of Britain’s military. With frequent visits from the Royal Family, Moon continues to be a symbol of British quality in textiles.
Left: Thornproof two-fold twisted yarns on spools Right: Thornproof yarn feeding into loom
Founded in the heyday of tweeds, Moon makes a thornproof unrivaled by other mills. The term “thornproof” has historically been defined two ways and made as such. One was a coarsely woven wool that, when punctured by thorns, could easily be smoothed out. This would prevent permanent holes from forming in the fabric. The other was a wool woven with two yarns tightly twisted together (making a yarn that’s much stronger and less likely to fray). The tight weave and exceptionally strong yarn prevented thorns from piecing the fabric and kept it safe from sharp scratches and abrasion. The thornproof we chose for this collection is the latter. It’s extremely high-quality yarn and weave make it not only able to withstand far more than the average tweed, it also allows it to maintain an exceptionally new appearance.
Left: Mill operator inspecting weave quality Right: Rapier loom weaving a tartan
Horween Leather Company, Waxed Flesh Leather
Horween Tannery in Bucktown, Chicago, 1940
The accent leather of this collection is a favorite of ours: waxed flesh. Made in Chicago by Horween Leather Company, waxed flesh can be traced back to WWII. At the time, Horween was the official supplier of leather for the U.S. Marine Corps., using an iconic leather they invented in 1913: Chromexcel. This historic leather, with its fibrous flesh side facing outward (referred to as "roughout" by the U.S. military), was made into boots (“Service Shoe w/ Reverse Upper,” “Combat Service Boot,” and “N1 Field Shoes”). A naturally water-resistant leather, marines and soldiers who received the boots would then coat the exterior in Dubbin (a mixture of natural waxes and oils) to further the boots’ water resistance. By saturating the fibers in wax and slicking them down, the leather was able to withstand the drying effects that water can have on vegetable-tanned leathers (for more info on vegetable tanning, see here) for much longer.
Left: U.S. military wearing M1943 Roughout Infantry Boots Right: Original M1943 Infantry Boots
So enticed by the beauty of this utilitarian leather, Horween began making the material themselves. Waxed flesh is the same Chromexcel leather with Dubbin professionally applied by the tannery. Coating the hide while still flat, Horween is able to apply a perfect slick to the fibers. Black pigment in the waxing of the leather gives the flesh side a unique appearance, as only the top-most layer is colored while the rest of the leather remains undyed.
These two materials were originally created to withstand the harshness of nature, their elegance was a side effect. We say it often, but only because we truly believe it: form follows function. We set out to make a travel collection that would withstand years of use. In doing so, something elegant began to emerge.
With a limit on the availability of these two highly unique materials, we are offering a pre-order sale until Oct. 4. Following that, we cannot confirm the availability of any of these pieces. Click here to see our pre-order deals.