September 14, 2016
Based in West Yorkshire, a truly localised production of high quality, ethical clothing is sourced, constructed and managed by McNair shirts.
Prized for their exquisite wool, McNair mountain shirts are made from a specific breed of sheep breed called Merino. Indigenous to Spain and increasingly Australia, Merino sheep are economically renowned for the properties found in their superior coats. Their wool is made of very fine strands providing incredible natural softness and is superbly breathable. It’s these natural properties that make it a worthy and indeed an ethical material for performance outerwear. Merino wool presents itself as a premium textile material, featuring amongst high end garments for sporting applications such as skiing, hiking, and climbing.
It was from merino wool and it’s numerous beneficial properties, that founders Natalie, Richard and Neil were inspired to developed their collection of mountain shirts. This format of shirt is intended as a hardy, adaptive base layer that can handle a wider, more extreme spectrum of weather conditions than that of synthetic alternatives. The use for these shirts enables heightened protection, delaying the point to when a heavyweight waterproof jacket may be called upon. This has been achieved through the implementation of a naturally excellent material with superior construction. The result is an efficient, weatherproof garment that naturally regulates body temperature, fully maximising on the properties of the merino super-wool. During the developmental stages of their initial shirt design, Richard referenced his experience of traditional Dachstein gloves.
Further to their use of materials, McNair have successfully endeavoured to create their own in-house manufacture and interestingly, a localised supply chain that could only be considered as rare in these times of globalisation. No wider than a ten mile radius from the mill in which they produce the handmade shirts, all of their outsourced wool processes occur in the surrounding area of Slaithwaite, Huddersfield. After each process has been carried out by nearby specialists, the wool is then carefully cut, and sewn into the shirt form. This construction is expertly carried out inside the traditional mill of which McNair occupy. Fittingly, the Huddersfield region boasts more than a thousand years of recognised wool and textile production, the epicentre of this UK industry. On inspection, McNair articulate this ongoing UK based textile industry via their collection of contemporary shirts. It is demonstrated that culture itself isn’t an example of the ‘old’ or ‘its always been like that’. In this example, culture is shown to be the best elements that a region can offer embodied in a well made product.
A big thanks to Natalie and Ian from McNair.
NATIVE is a blog series intended to showcase select brands who implement product manufacture here in the UK. Admittedly, not all aspects of every product can be made here, however we are most interested in those that can.
UK production has changed dramatically over the decades. Like every industry, embracing change is vital, not just to survive but to thrive in conjunction with social, economic and technological advancement.
Recognition of businesses, old and new, that implement outright or even partial local production is something we are genuinely passionate about. As designers, it is our belief that people should know more about how, why and where great products are made in the UK.
NATIVE is our way of sharing this information.
"Every contrivance of man, every tool, every instrument, every utensil, every article designed for use, of each and every kind, evolved from very simple beginnings."
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