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The history of the pocket square

Versatile and incredibly rich in history, the timeless pocket square is one of the most popular suit accessories on the market.

Synonymous with the dapper gentleman, pocket squares are a staple in men’s formalwear. Worn solely for aesthetic purposes, this stylish accessory is the key to making a statement, creating an impact and expressing individual style.

The simplest and most effective way to add interest to men’s formalwear, typically monotonous by design, the elegantly folded pocket square has been used to complement and add style to the two piece suit for centuries.

It’s fair to say that pocket squares have quite the life story – one that dates back thousands of years.

The origins of the pocket square

Strictly speaking, the pocket square as we know it today didn’t come to fruition until the 19th century. However, the concept can be dated as far back as Ancient Egypt and Greece, in the form of the handkerchief.

The wealthiest Egyptians and Greeks were known to carry small white linen handkerchiefs, commonly thought to be used for the sole purpose of keeping their personal hygiene and cleanliness in check. By 2,000 BCE, handkerchiefs were being coloured with red oxide powder in Ancient Egypt and worn as a status symbol.

Turning the handkerchief into something more than a functional item continued in Ancient Greece, where the highest nobles used perfumed cotton squares to cover the nose and mouth, in a bid to ward off bad odours. This trend was adopted throughout Western Europe in the 18th century, and it wasn’t long before the richest began to invest in silk handkerchiefs.

Soon transitioning into a fashion statement, the most affluent of society would be seen wearing decorative, embellished silk handkerchiefs – whilst the less privileged could afford nothing more than a simple cotton cloth to wipe away their sweat after a hard day’s labour.

It’s worth noting that during these times, the handkerchief continued to be carried in the trouser pocket – hence, it wasn’t a pocket square, just yet.

bespoke printed pocket squares
Adamley screen printed pocket squares for @turnbull_asser

Pocket squares in the 19th century

The surge in popularity of the gentleman’s two piece suit in the 19th century led to the evolution of the pocket square.

Two piece suits were at the height of men’s fashion, and it was widely decided that the handkerchief deserved a more prominent place in the ensemble. Making its way out of the trouser pocket and into the breast pocket of the suit jacket – the handkerchief became the pocket square.

It wasn’t until the early 1900’s when the accessory began to generate strong mainstream attention as they made their way into the scenes of popular Hollywood movies and TV shows, sported by major actors.

It became common around this time for gentlemen to reserve the breast pocket for their finest square, whilst the trouser pocket remained home to their practical handkerchief. Fast forward a few years, and the introduction of disposable tissues made the handkerchief almost obsolete.

 

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Pocket square vs handkerchief: What’s the difference?

Whilst the pocket square is essentially the handkerchiefs’ more coveted successor, the latter still has its place in the modern day world.

Where the pocket square is a purely decorative accessory, the handkerchief offers practicality and functionality for those who want it.

To provide this functionality to full success, handkerchiefs are usually made from cotton, whereas pocket squares can be made from many different fabrics such as linen, cotton, wool or silk.

Pocket squares are generally smaller, in order to be neatly folded and placed into the breast pocket without adding too much bulk. Handkerchiefs are usually larger and made from a thick, strong cotton so that they can easily absorb fluids to make them fit for purpose.

The main differentiator between the two is in the design. A key distinguishing factor is that the pocket square has a rolled hem, in order to create a fray resistant border and allow for precise, mitered corners.

Pocket squares in fashion

Whilst pocket squares found their place in fashion in the 19th century, it wasn’t until the 20th century when they became the must-have accessory for any style conscious gentleman.

The suit became naked without the pocket square, and everyone from high-profile celebrities to the man in the street, recognised its importance in enhancing the appearance of a smart outfit.

More recently, in the 21st century, the pocket square saw a true resurgence in popularity and they’re now more sought after than ever. Whilst we’ve entered a time where more informal, casual suits have become the norm, the pocket square is acknowledged as a way to accessorise with elegance, style and individuality.

Although the pocket square is no longer a suit essential, they remain one of the most popular accessories for men’s formalwear – offering a simple yet effective way to make a fashion statement and stand out from the crowd.

 

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Choosing a pocket square

Accessorising with a pocket square all comes down to the type of look you’re hoping to achieve, and the suit you want to pair it with.

Start with the suit first, then pick out a pocket square based on colours and designs which best complement it. It was once the golden rule to choose the same material for the tie and pocket square. Wool ties for example were to be paired only with wool pocket squares, and silk ties only with silk pocket squares.

While the matching of materials remains the most common and safest practice, we are starting to see more audacious approaches amongst fashion houses and trend setters with the combination of wool ties with silk pocket squares or vice versa. Carefully done, this mixture of textures can work beautifully together.

A pocket square should work with your outfit, not against it. It should be used to enhance and introduce new colours, designs and textures. It does not need to be the sole protagonist, rather work in tandem and harmony with the rest of your look to create a sense of balance and sophistication.

No matter the suit you choose to wear, you won’t be hard pressed to find the perfect square. With such an extensive range of prints, colours and fabrics on the market – there’s a pocket square for every stylish gentleman.

Whether you choose to go for a coherent look or make a bold, show-stopping statement, it’s an accessory that will only upgrade your look (providing you don’t match your tie and pocket square). As a general rule of thumb, try to ensure the pocket square design contains a section or element, however small, that incorporates the primary color of the tie being used.

 

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Looking to buy high-quality pocket squares? Adamley are the UK’s leading silk printer, and manufacturer of gentleman’s luxury accessories. We supply to established fashion houses as well as new fashion startups.

Crafted from finely woven silk and complete with Adalmey’s signature hand rolled edges, our silk pocket squares are a truly unique, premium product and can be printed with any design.

To make an enquiry for custom pocket squares, please get in touch with us.

We also have an exclusive range of printed silk pocket squares available to buy online.

What do you need for silk screen printing?

When it comes to printing on silk, we know what we’re talking about. Adamley has been silk screen printing for over 50 years, and continues to use the traditional technique in the production of bespoke, luxury fabrics.

Screen printing is an ancient art form, and one that requires great precision and skill. For professional results, this artisanal method of printing is usually better left to the experts – factories and workshops that are well equipped with specialised equipment and knowledge.

However, that’s not to say that with the right tools, you can’t try screen printing at home.

As one of very few silk manufacturers in the UK continuing to practice silk screen printing, we feel it is our duty to keep the technique alive. The results generated from silk screen printing simply can’t be replicated through digital printing or alternatives – and we don’t want that to get lost in a world of modern technology.

In this blog, we’ll talk through how screen printing works, and what’s involved in the process so you can try your hand at it at home.

adamley screen printed silk

What is silk screen printing?

Silk screen printing is a stencilling method; a process in which a design is transferred onto fabric using ink and a mesh screen. The technique is sometimes referred to as ‘silk screening’ or other similar variations, but the general process and outcome remains similar.

Traditionally, the screens used were crafted from silk threads – hence, silk in the name. This is not as common nowadays, but alternative materials still yield the same results.

The basic technique of screen printing is most commonly used on fabrics and paper, but with the suitable equipment, it can also work on hard surfaces such as metal, wood, plastic and even glass. Here at Adamley, screen printing on silk, wool, linen, and other fabric blends is our speciality.

For each design, stencils are made from scratch; engraved with the design to be printed. The stencils are used to push the ink through – thus, transferring the colour on to the fabric.

Once a stencil has been made, it can be used to replicate the design on a number of different garments or fabrics. This makes screen printing a much more cost-effective and efficient printing process for multiple replica prints.

Screen printing is typically the preferred choice for bold and vivid designs, due to the vibrant colour output that the inks provide, especially on dark coloured fabrics. The nature of screen printing means that the layers of ink sit on top of the fabric, which can be used to create raised, texturised designs – something that can’t be replicated with digital printing.

adamley silk screen printing

What do you need for silk screen printing?

Screen printing at home can be a fun and exciting way of expanding your artistic abilities, and experimenting with different designs and colours.

It’s a labour-intensive and skillful process which requires a lot of materials and patience. We recommend starting small whilst you grasp the technique, before moving on to bigger and better things.

To screen print at home, here’s what you’ll need:

  1. A table – Large enough to lay your fabric and with plenty of room to print.
  2. Inks – Plastisols and water-based inks are the best choice for at-home screen printing. We’d recommend purchasing basic neutral colours and an ink mixing pack so that you can create multiple colours.
  3. Squeegee – This is the device that will help you to push the ink through the screen. If you’re printing on fabric, opt for a rubber squeegee. For paper, choose a harder and more robust squeegee.
  4. Screen – Many arts & crafts shops sell pre-made screens, but you can also make a silk screen at home with just a few materials.
  5. Fabric – Of your choice, to be printed on.
  6. Steam – To cure and seal the ink.
  7. Washing machine – To be used on a cold wash / low temperature setting.

Professional screen printing, of course, uses much more advanced tools and materials. However, for the novice printer, getting your hands on this simple list of set-up equipment will have you well on your way to printing your own original designs in no time.

screen printing process

Step by step silk screen printing

Before going ahead and getting started with screen printing, you’ll need to know a little more about the process and how it works. Here’s a general overview of how we screen print on silk at Adamley…

The method begins with creating the stencil, by first engraving the design onto high precision mesh. Each different colour layer needs to be separated on the digital design, in order to create individual stencils for each layer. This means that depending on the number of colours needed, there can be anywhere upwards of 10 mesh screens produced for any one design.

With the length of fabric lay flat on a screen printing table, the first screen is carefully positioned on top. Stencil firmly in place, the first layer of colour is then pushed through the fine mesh screen, pressing the ink onto the fabric and imprinting the design. For multicoloured prints, this process is repeated for each layer using different stencils.

Once all printing is complete, the fabric is then cured by passing it through a steamer to seal the colours in place and ensure a colourfast finish. The print is then checked and the fabric is washed & finished to soften the fibres and ensure a flawless finished product.

screen printing on silk

Screen printing on silk at Adamley

Looking for a professional silk screen printer? Adamley is one of the UK’s leading silk printers, specialising in creating bespoke printed fabrics & luxury accessories, supplying to the high-end fashion market and manufacturers nationwide.

Here at Adamley, we produce all of our colours and dyes in house to ensure the most bold and vibrant output. This also enables us to match any bespoke colour palettes to guarantee that the final print reflects the submitted design perfectly.

Equipped with six screen printing tables and an experienced team of printers, we have the facilities to reproduce any design, on any fabric, in any quantity.

Find out more about our silk screen printing services, or make an enquiry.

Everything you need to know about the Paisley pattern

The Paisley pattern: One of the fashion industry’s oldest and most iconic patterns to date.

The revival of the much-loved paisley pattern just over 10 years ago was one of the most welcomed comebacks to the fashion & textile industry.

A timeless classic, the print has played a defining role in fashion for over 2,000 years. Still to this day, we’re seeing paisley designs incorporated into high-end collections from brands such as Saint Laurent, Burberry, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana.

From the early days of paisley shawls, to today’s suit jacket linings and neckties in men’s luxury accessories, there are many reasons why the print continues to line the catwalks and will do for some time to come.

It’s a fun, retro and vintage-inspired pattern that we would all benefit from injecting into our wardrobe. The paisley pattern isn’t going anywhere, so let’s take a look into what it’s all about, and why it may never go out of fashion.

paisley print tie

What is a paisley pattern?

The Oxford Dictionary defines the paisley pattern as “A distinctive intricate pattern of curved feather-shaped figures based on an Indian pine-cone design.”

The iconic print is characterised by its bright and colourful, curved abstract figures. The design has been used in contemporary fashion and modern textiles for decades, thanks to its versatility and flexibility – every colourway and variation of the pattern is entirely unique.

The distinctive shape of paisley is often likened to that of a kidney, a comma, a mango, or a teardrop. This specific type of shape is known as ‘boteh’ or ‘buto’ – the Persian word for ‘flower’.

Various intricate details are often incorporated into the droplet shape itself to create the iconic design – such as floral prints, abstract swirls and smaller tear drop shapes to create the traditional paisley print used in fashion and textiles.

The paisley symbol is typically repeatedly printed throughout a length of fabric, usually interspersed with other design elements and patterns to create a beautiful, all-over floral paisley print.

Where does the paisley pattern come from?

The history of the paisley pattern is truly fascinating. It’s a print steeped in rich culture and symbolism, and dates back to the Indo-European cultures of over 2,000 years ago.

The design originated in India back in the 11th century, near Kashmir. Whilst there’s no concrete evidence, it’s believed that the pattern was derived from the Zoroastrian symbol of a cypress tree combined with a floral spray, to represent life and fertility.

The popularity of the paisley print became prevalent in the 16th century, famously associated with luxurious Kashmir shawls. An incredibly expensive, sought-after item, the Kashmir shawls were hand woven from fine goat hair, embellished with the paisley print.

This signalled the pattern’s first break into the fashion industry – with the Kashmir shawls becoming incredibly coveted garments, often worn with pride by Persian royalty and perceived as a “robe of honour”.

So, how did the paisley pattern make its way across the globe?

Kashmir shawls originally made their way to Europe in the 16th century, when they were offered as gifts from Kashmiri princes to European officers. It wasn’t long before they landed in the wardrobe of fashion icon and royalty, Empress Josephine.

From there, paisley shawls became the height of European fashion, but they weren’t affordable. Naturally, European textile manufacturers sought ways to replicate the designs to sell on local markets.

It wasn’t until the 19th century when the print gained its modern name, paisley. The Scottish town of Paisley became the leading producer of the Kashmir-inspired shawls, and therefore the buto print became known as paisley. Contrary to common belief, the design didn’t originate in Scotland – though, if you were to visit the town you won’t be surprised to see that the shops and cafes are heavily draped in paisley.

To think that still to this day, the paisley pattern has such a prominent place in fashion and design across the world is astounding. We believe (and hope) it will be around for a long time to come.

 

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Paisley pattern in fashion

Famously worn by everyone from The Beatles, Queen and David Bowie to Victoria Beckham, the paisley print is a fashion staple.

The design hit its peak during the 60s and 70s, when psychedelic art and fashion was all the rage. It was a time where vivid colours, swirling patterns and Eastern-influenced fashion was thriving – and the paisley pattern reflected just that.

Mad about paisley, it was hard to ignore The Beatles’ love for the print. The band members frequently donned bright and bold paisley shirts and scarves, securing it as their unique style. Not one to do things by halves, John Lennon even painted a paisley print on his Rolls-Royce, too.

The popularity of paisley in fashion slowly declined following the 70s, until a short-lived comeback in the 1990s thanks to the music of Oasis and Kula Shaker. Elevating the design more recently, Oasis’ Liam Gallagher even founded his thriving clothing brand, Pretty Green, solely dedicated to keeping the print alive.

A firm favourite in rock ‘n’ roll, the paisley print has been revived many times since. Whilst the print has always been popular for men’s ties, paisley embellishments have been incorporated into many ladies fashion pieces by high-end designers including Dolce & Gabbana, Raf Simons and Jil Sander in recent years.

paisley pattern printed scarves

How to wear paisley

So, now you know all about the paisley pattern, how do you wear it?

For any style conscious gentleman or lady, a paisley patterned item of clothing is a wardrobe must-have. From bold and flamboyant paisley shirts or suit jackets, to simply accessorising with a paisley printed scarf or tie, the options are endless.

Wearing paisley with pride is all about knowing the do’s and don’ts when it comes to planning your outfit. Here are our top tips on how to style paisley:

  1. Choose your colour palette wisely – paisley prints can comprise of multiple different colours or one single colourway in varying shades. Pick the colour palette that you’ll easily be able to incorporate into your wardrobe and matches your style. You can avoid looking too loud by sticking to a subtle all-blue print, for example.
  2. Stick to muted colours – wearing paisley can be seen as bold and daring, but it doesn’t always have to be. Picking out a pattern that consists of more muted, neutral tones can be the perfect way to spruce up an outfit for those of us who are a little more reserved with fashion.
  3. Pair paisley with solid colours – the print is a beautiful but busy design, so pairing it with solid colours is a safe option. When pairing too many patterns together, you’ll risk the paisley element of your outfit getting lost. Wear contrasting colours or pick out matching colours from your paisley fabric and you’ll be good to go.
  4. Team it with striped or checked patterns – don’t want to play it safe? Paisley can be paired beautifully with other items of clothing that are patterned with checks or stripes. Try to match small checks or thin stripes with larger paisley prints, and vica versa.
  5. Accessorise – If you’re not quite ready to go all in with a full-print paisley shirt, why not try accessorising instead? A paisley necktie or pocket square can offer the same stylish chic look to compliment your outfit.

Luxury paisley printed accessories

Looking for unique and stylish paisley printed garments? Adamley Textiles are a UK silk printer, specialising in the design and creation of luxury men’s accessories.

We offer traditional screen printing and state-of-the-art digital printing of bespoke designs, on the finest quality silk. We also manufacture custom-made silk pocket squares and printed silk scarves in any design of your choice.

Our team of designers are experts in creating unique paisley designs, and can work with any colour scheme or design requirements submitted. Clients can browse our historical print archive for design inspiration – which comprises hundreds of vintage paisley designs.

To enquire more about our silk printing or bespoke accessories services, please get in touch with us.

Irish linen, printed by hand in Macclesfield

An insight into the development of Adamley’s new range of screen printed Irish linen pocket squares.

It’s been five decades in the making – Adamley’s efforts to handprint Irish linen through a traditional technique of dyeing and discharge processes – a journey that has proved to be quite a struggle, with various technical and environmental issues standing in the way.

The objective was simple: the face and reverse of the fabric had to be identical in shade and design detail, the environment not compromised and the handle to be exceptional. Through a great deal of passion, and painstaking research, the team have managed to bring their idea to life.

Printed Irish Linen

The challenges we faced

Operating through the Covid-19 pandemic brought great challenges for many businesses, and Adamley was no exception.

One of the key factors of navigating through these difficult months, has been the commitment and innovation of the individuals who form the core of the business. We’re a close-knit team and, in a number of cases, generations of the same family work and have worked to strengthen the company, still powering on, three centuries after Macclesfield became renowned for silk production.

In addition to stretching themselves to the limit, the group decided to focus their attention into developing new products. Following the success of our recent hand-printed Madder collection, the team went to considerable lengths to create something that is not already on the market and would offer a new form of inspiration. Locally produced, with strong commendations for its sustainability and unique handle and finish, screen printed linen struck us as the perfect candidate for a summer collection.

Hand printed Irish Linen

The idea behind the collection

Our hometown of Macclesfield sits not overly distant from the Irish Sea, so integrating the finest Irish linen into our production seemed a natural way to expand and diversify our already extensive range of premium fabrics.

With this collection, we wanted to reflect the great vibrancy of our ground dyes and enthuse them with rich hues. Our new linen offer ranges from plain fabrics for ties and scarves to perfectly hand rolled pocket squares featuring both classic and modern designs.

We are incredibly proud of the time, energy, and dedication that our team have poured into creating this new product. Iridescent and wonderful, Adamley’s latest range hopes to inject some much-needed colour and cheer back into the world.

Should you match your tie and pocket square?

A guide to pocket square etiquette in 2021.

An essential accessory in every smart gentleman’s wardrobe, the timeless pocket square has the power to add flair and finesse to any formal or casual ensemble.

The perfect finishing touch to a well-cut suit, the pocket square is a direct route to defining yourself as a man of style with minimal effort. However, the key to standing out as a true fashion connoisseur lies in knowing your pocket square etiquette.

In order to radiate as a smart and stylish modern day gentleman and avoid looking outdated, here are the do’s and don’ts of executing the pocket square like a pro.

Should you match your tie and pocket square?

No. Your pocket square should never exactly match your tie. That matching tie and pocket square you’ve got your eye on? Avoid it at all costs.

Whilst it may seem like the simplest way to coordinate your attire, matching your tie to your pocket square is breaking all style rules. The purpose of the pocket square is to complement the rest of your ensemble with a design that offers a contrast, in order to accentuate the look.

How do you coordinate a tie and pocket square?

A simple rule of thumb is to choose colours and patterns that look good together, but aren’t a complete match.

Any gentleman looking to truly up his stakes in the style game should start by knowing his colours. Refer to a colour wheel and study the complementary (blue and orange, red and green, etc) and analogous (pink and red, blue and purple, etc) colours, as these are the ones you’re looking to pair up.

The key to choosing your pocket square is to pick out a colour from another part of your outfit, and choose a colour which complements or contrasts it. This works best when working from the design of your tie in order to achieve a coherent look.

When opting for a bold look, the contrast should be enough to make a statement. Choose a complementary colour scheme and roll with it – i.e. an orange pocket square will create the greatest contrast to a tie with hints of blue.

 

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Depending on the occasion, you may require a more subdued, muted look. Choose an analogous colour scheme and match two warm colours or two cooler colours, i.e. blue and purple. Conversely, opt for a more neutral colour scheme that you can’t go wrong with.

Getting the patterns of your suit, tie and pocket square to work in harmony is undoubtedly the most difficult part. When accessorising with similar patterns, it’s important to choose different sized patterns to contrast. For example, pairing a large polka dot tie with a smaller polka dot pocket square. If you have a lot of pattern going on elsewhere in your look, sticking to a plain pocket square may be your safest bet.

Last but certainly not least – never accessorise with styles of the exact same fabric. Wearing a silk tie with a silk pocket square is overkill, and a rule that shouldn’t be broken. Bring contrast to your outfit and opt for a cotton or linen pocket square, and vica versa.

With that in mind, think of your pocket square as a way to express your style. It adds a sense of refinement to any outfit, with its main goal being to stand out and be clearly visible. So don’t be afraid to be bold, daring and above all, wear it with confidence.

When should you wear a pocket square?

For the style conscious gentleman, there really is no time or place where a pocket square would be deemed inappropriate.

If you find yourself asking the question “should I wear a pocket square with this?” there’s a high chance that your outfit will benefit from one. They don’t have to be reserved solely for formal engagements – if you’re wearing a smart coat, blazer or jacket with a pocket to fit your square, then it’s a no brainer.

Although, you’ll want to choose the perfect pocket square to suit the occasion. Where your finest luxury silk pocket square will be the first choice for any formal event, you may want to consider keeping it conservative for a day in the office, and opt for a more casual look for an evening out.

 

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Is it OK not to wear a pocket square?

In our personal opinion, a jacket is naked without a pocket square. They aren’t a formal wear essential though, so it is ok not to wear one if you don’t want to.

However, if you’re skipping the square, the rest of your outfit details need to be on point to achieve a crisp, sharp look. Consider ditching the tie along with the square, and make your shirt or suit jacket the stand-out event.

Can you wear a pocket square in a shirt?

Whilst there are many uses for a shirt breast pocket, stuffing it with your finest pocket square isn’t one of them.

As a general rule, pocket squares should be worn to accessorise your outerwear. Pair it with a suit jacket, blazer, topcoat or sports coat and you’ll be good to go.

Do you wear a pocket square with a bow tie?

Yes. Pairing a bow tie with a pocket square is the ultimate combination for creating a smart and sophisticated look.

Providing all of the same rules are followed in regards to choosing complementary accessories, a pocket square equally elevates a bow tie look as it does with a necktie.

bow tie and pocket square

Should a pocket square match your shirt?

Shirts and pocket squares shouldn’t match in anything other than maybe a similar colour palette. A checked shirt paired with a checked square is an unforgivable style mistake.

Instead, we’d recommend using your shirt and suit jacket to lay the foundations, and then choose accessories which complement or contrast, to add a unique edge to your look.

Where can I buy silk pocket squares?

When it comes to accessorising, fabric matters, and the quality of your pocket square can make or break your outfit. Any true pocket square aficionado knows the worth of investing in high quality pocket squares.

Adamley are the UK’s leading silk printer, specialising in the creation of gents luxury accessories. A completely bespoke product, our silk pocket squares are made with the finest quality silk, and printed with any custom design.

Hand crafted and finished with a flawless hand-rolled hem, our unique and stylish pocket squares are the perfect fit for gentlemen who appreciate the finer quality in a premium product.

Find out more about our luxury silk pocket squares, or get in touch with us to make an enquiry.

H.N. White on Adamley’s Heritage Madder silk

“Adamley is bringing heritage silks back to life.”

Adamley is honoured to be the first feature in H.N. White’s brand new editorial series. Combining our expertise and heritage designs with the brand’s sartorial skills brought to fruition one of their most coveted collections; their Ancient Madder Silk Ties.

The collection is a reinterpretation of ancient madder prints, inspired by historical David Evan’s prints from our archive, crafted with Adamley’s luxurious artisanal silk.

“Developing and adapting the old formulas and washing processes to meet regulations while retaining the intense, organic colours and dusty finish of the original madder technique.”

The editorial uncovers the process behind designing and creating Adamley’s Madder range and all of the skilled people involved in it.

 

hn white printed silk ties

“By reformulating traditional dyes, and recovering patterns drawn up a century ago, the printers are making a historic product available for the first time in generations.

“At once preserving the spirit of the original craft and adapting to the needs of the present day, Adamley’s new collection of archival madder prints offers a rare chance to enjoy a revered classic again.” – H.N. White

Click here to read the write-up in full.

Adamley Archive grows with three exciting acquisitions

Medaax Limited is pleased to announce the acquisition of the David Evans & Co., AO Aldwinkle and Brocklehurst-Whiston print archives.

The central and digital copies will be kept in the newly built library at Adamley in Macclesfield. These copies will be available for customer use, while a second copy will be loaned to our partner E. Marinella, and kept at their showrooms in Naples, Italy.

David Evans & Co.

David Evans & Co. was one of several fabric printing businesses to establish themselves in London in the 1800’s. David Evans himself was already a revered and respected silk merchant and when he purchased his Crayford site in South East London, work to produce quality printed silks began soon after.

The company gained an international reputation for their Real Ancient Madder Silks created using a special and secret process. Many of you will know we recently uncovered vast numbers of documents dating back to the 1920’s, including those very same Evans Madder recipes. As a commemoration we will be launching the David Evans, True Ancient Madder collection on the 31st January 2021.

David Evans & Co. closed on 4th July 2001 and, almost two decades on, we are delighted to have acquired such important and valuable information, including original hand drawn sketches, block prints and original fabric swatches.

 

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Brocklehurst-Whiston

In 1745, the Brocklehurst family opened their first silk factory in Macclesfield and grew to become one of the biggest silk manufacturers in the country. William Brocklehurst, born in 1818, was the head of the family in the 19th century and he sat in the House of Commons from 1868 to 1880 and from 1885 to 1886.

Unknown to many, the company was also involved in the production of silk ‘escape maps’ for Allied soldiers in the Second World War. A detailed map of France was printed onto silk, a material that wouldn’t crumple, fall apart when wet, or make unwanted noise when being used.

This 1940s promotional video for the company describes them as ‘synonymous with all that is best in silk’ and ‘the most greatest silk firm in the most greatest silk town.’ 

With Adamley being based in Langley, Macclesfield, it is a privilege to have acquired the archives of a local company, one that played such a big role in the growth of the British silk printing industry by helping to fly the flag for British craftsmanship across the world.

silk escape map
Brocklehurst-Whiston silk escape map of France, image courtesy of Macclesfield Museum.

AO Aldwinkle

We are also pleased to have acquired the AO Aldwinkle archive adding to the offerings to our clients. 

The Adamley Archive

The Adamley Archive is a doorway into England’s rich and diverse textile heritage, a textile library established to preserve thousands of documents ranging from the mid 1900’s up to the present day. The archive includes hand drawn designs, block printed patterns and prints on fabric. All designs are stored by subject: paisleys, medallions, geometric shapes and florals.

In the digital era we are able to constantly update our archive so that it can be regularly used by our in-house design department, and by clients around the world as a source of inspiration for their new collections.

Learn more about the Adamley Archive here.

To enquire about the Adamley Archive please do feel free to leave us a message, and we look forward to seeing you all at Adamley over the coming months. Wishing you all a great 2021.