Launch: The Bristol Weaving Mill

64fee7_4791f5960f6940f8b7639bffb50aa2ca_jpg_srb_p_1004_668_75_22_0_50_1_20_0First all-female weaving mill opens in Bristol

Bristol’s first all-female weaving mill will open for business in Old Market from November 4th 2015. The arrival of The Bristol Weaving Mill also marks the return of a cloth-weaving mill to the city after a 90 year absence.

Founded by Juliet Bailey and Franki Brewer, The Bristol Weaving Mill was born out of their internationally renowned Bristol-based textile design studio Dash & Miller. Over the last 6 years the pair have provided hand woven textile design and consultancy across the UK, Europe, USA, and Asia working with such companies as Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, and Louis Vuitton.

This new machine driven weaving mill was the obvious next step for Director Juilet Bailey; ‘naturally, if a fashion house is interested in one of our designs they will also want to have it produced, and it’s this demand that has lead us down the path of manufacturing. Also by launching the mill we take back the creative control, so that everything from the design concept to the production of fabric is created in-house.”

The move into production on a greater scale, has been 4 years in the making, and has involved a great deal of research. The biggest challenge was to source a suitable mechanical weaving loom, specifically one that could create the type of innovative fashion fabrics which Dash & Miller have made their trademark.

Modern weaving looms, which are computer led, lack the creative flexibility needed, so they spent years, not only sourcing a loom from the 1980’s, but also the parts, and the working knowledge that went with it. The team eventually sourced and renovated a 1985 loom, made by Dornier, the same company responsible for the World War II German Light Bomber, the Dornier Do 17.

Co- director, Franki Brewer said; ‘by using an older machine we will have the capabilities to push the creative boundaries that just aren’t possible with modern looms. We will also be preserving specialist knowledge and techniques that would otherwise be lost.’

64fee7_61ce9498562548b58fef4a76a1e1d6f0_jpg_srb_p_1004_753_75_22_0_50_1_20_0

Juliet Bailey, explains; ‘the world of textile design is a predominantly female occupied one, whereas the world of textile manufacturing is predominantly male. As an all-female team we are very excited about gaining the knowledge and experience needed to not only create beautiful fabric, but to also earn respect from our peers within the world of manufacturing.’

The team of 6 will be primarily producing small runs of bespoke artisanal fabric, which will then be used for couture fashion houses and interior product designers throughout the world. Juliet and Franki also intend the mill to provide the means to produce local and sustainable cloth in collaboration with farmers in the South West of England.

The fashion duo were awarded a £24,000 grant by the West of England Growth Fund in order to help with the start-up costs and are extremely passionate about their connection to their locality and to sustainability more generally.

The mill will be the chief manufacturer for ‘Bristol Cloth’, a local project headed by the Bristol Textile Quarter and Botanical Inks which was inspired by the city’s European Green Capital status. The wool for the Bristol Cloth will be provided by Fernhill Farm from sheep grazed in the Mendip Hills.

The design element of the cloth has been open to the public in the form of a competition and the shortlisted entries have been on display at the Bristol 2015 Green Capital Lab on the harbourside.

64fee7_90d76fee33ec4caf98b72258c8944740_jpg_srb_p_1004_753_75_22_0_50_1_20_0Dash & Miller Studio: has been providing textile design and consultancy to the international fashion and interior fabric industries for the past 6 years.

The business began in 2009 when Juliet Bailey and Franki Brewer started selling their innovative hand-woven fabric ideas to some of the top high-fashion mills in Italy. It wasn’t long before the studio gained a global reputation, working across UK, Europe, USA, and Asia to provide fabric design and consultancy for companies such as Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Pringle of Scotland, Marks & Spencer (Best of British Campaign), John Lewis, Topshop, Macys, Marc Jacobs, and Louis Vuitton

For the past 5 years Dash and Miller has also collaborated with 9th generation Suffolk based silk weaving mill Stephen Walters & Sons Ltd who produce their Dash and Miller seasonal Pret a Porter collection of womenswear fabrics (designed and developed on the hand-looms at the Bristol studio). Dash and Miller also work closely with global trend consultants such as WGSN, (the world’s largest on-line trend forecaster for the creative industries) designing hand-woven fabric concepts for their bi-annual fabric forecast.

Text and copyrightedimages: The Bristol Weaving Mill/Dash + Miller

 

  1. Great news! Do you weave alpaca yarn? I am learnin to weave at the moment and have decided to specialise in alpaca. I source my yarn from Quélvéhin Alpacas in Pontivy Brittany and UK Alpaca Ltd in Devon. It’s lovely to work with. All the best with your new venture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.