Horrockses brand name purchased by Bluewell ventures

So, after months of wondering who has purchased the Horrockses brand name yesterday it was announced that the brand had been purchased by a company called “Bluewell ventures”, a Manchester based company. Back in April I wrote about my fears/ thoughts about the sale of the brand name which you can read here, and now the sale has actually happened I am not sure how I feel about it.

First off a note of annoyance on the telegraph article (yes I am being pedantic, but that is me all over). WHY newspapers feel the need to attribute EVERY vintage trend popularity to Mad men is completely beyond me, funnily enough there are more things than just mad men that has influenced the way people dress in the last 5 years or so… And secondly, Horrockses are famed for their “50s style dresses”, NO Horrockses were famed for their dresses in the 50s. Tsk, the Telegraph, tsk.

At the time numerous articles were suggesting that major high street retailers such as John Lewis were interested in the brand, but rather than a well known purchaser “Bluewell ventures” (a company formed only in May this year)  has stepped in. I am feeling pretty glad that it is a Manchester brand that has purchased the Horrockses name though as this sticks with the Heritage of Horrockses as a Lancashire company and I hope this is remembered as a factor. I hope this also means the potential for garments to be produced in the UK too, as I think the “Made In England” aspect of Horrockses pieces is part of what makes them so special.

So what will happen now? We shall wait and see what the company do with the brand, but the telegraph report seems to suggest a revival of Horrockses as a fashion brand. I hope they remember that Horrockses were renowned for their QUALITY. If they are going to produce clothing again these need to be produced in beautiful cotton that respects the original designs. I would be perfectly happy seing more home items using Horrockses prints, but fashion garments? I’m not so sure that bluewell ventures will be able to do the Horrockses brand name justice, but we shall wait and see…

Read the telegraph article here.

Pat Albeck: Life after Horrockses

Continuing on the theme of Pat Albeck from my previous post…

After Pat Albeck left Horrockses she went onto work for a number of prestigious companies.

The design Pat is probably best recognised for is her Daisychain pattern which was created for John Lewis. The design was created in what she calls her “Physcadelic period” it was a John Lewis best seller for 15 years coming in a variety of colour ways. One colourway (in varying shades of brown) was known as the Rank Hollis McDougal! ( I hope I have spelt this correctly)This design takes some inspiration from William Morris with its mirrored floral repeat. Whilst talking about the design Pat amused me saying that she dislikes the word florals feeling that flower designs better describes her work! She also said she preferred to say that things sell well rather than that they are commercial!

Pat went on to do a lot of work for the National Trust (whom she still works for now!). She designed prints for a wide variety of mediums including textiles and pottery. She said that whilst working for the national trust she learnt to be a lot more careful with her designs whereas when at Horrockses she felt she could be a lot more flamboyant. Many of the designs were much more muted in terms of colours and had to follow strict guidelines that the National Trust set out.

Whilst working for the National Trust she has designed over 300 tea towels. These have included calendar tea towels every year and those which represent specific national trust buildings. A tea towel takes her around 3 weeks to design in total. One week for the rough and two weeks to draw up the final design. She works first on a design a 3rd of the finished size, which would normal take around a day and a half to execute. Working on a small size is important because time would be wasted if a full scale design is completed and it is not liked.

Pat designed a series of tea towels last year for Emma Bridgewater (Emma is her daughter-in-law). These show she still has a fresh creative energy. I particularly love the pigeon design one (who knew a pigeon could look so beautiful).

What amazed me most about Pat is that at 81 she is still working and not only that, she is still creating designs that are as innovative and modern as designers sixty years younger than herself are creating.