Tradition With a Twist

90% of clothing that we buy in Britain is manufactured abroad, often in poor working conditions. Sublime talks to Tom Glover, managing director of Peregrine, a British, family-owned brand since 1796.

Sublime: Could you give us some insight into the heritage of Peregrine clothing? 

TomPortraitTom Glover: Peregrine have been manufacturing 100% British clothing for 220 years, stretching back eight generations. The brand started out in 1796 and was founded by my great great great grandfather (also called) Thomas Glover. He started out in Leicester market as a bag man, this was a great place for him to be as Leicester was the wool capital of Europe at that time.

S: Do you feel Peregrine clothing, as a family business has helped it continue Its sustainable legacy? And why? 

TG: Certainly. As a family business our approach has always been small scale and considered. From our beginnings to the present day, we work with a trusted community of farmers, and traceability has always been our modus operandi. While the market for our clothing has grown, we remain a 100% owned family business; we don’t have any investors and are not under pressure to put profits and growth over our values.

S: What is the ethos behind your brand?

TG: Our brand ethos is to make sure everyone is proud to wear British!

S: Have you come across any challenges in the market when focusing on sustainability?

TG: Many farmers in our network have organic farming practices, but they find the cost of organic certification prohibitive. This is a challenge for the farmers but also for us – our clothing is largely or completely organic, but not certified, so we cannot shout about this positive aspect in our supply chain.

S: What is the importance of shopping ethically?

TG: Moving towards a sustainable future involves the actions of many – individuals, companies, NGOs and governments. While it might seem like individual actions are small – we believe that they add up and make a big difference. Conscious consumers are key to driving the market for sustainable goods, so yes hugely important.

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This winter we are raising awareness of the impact that COVID 19 has had on the British wool industry. Ethical shoppers can help farmers and get the industry back on its feet by choosing to buy 100% British wool. Decisions you make at checkout really can have a positive impact.

S: How are you able to make all of your items traceable? And why is traceability so important?

TG: Traceability is very important in giving buyers confidence, and also for us in maintaining complete control in every step of our supply chain ensuring it’s all up to standard.

We recently launched a range in collaboration with Laxtons Specialists Yarns – who are farm to yarn in 60 miles! Read more here We also have our own factory in Manchester. We have a very close relationship with our factory and are constantly in touch with them. I aim to go up to the factory once a week to check on everything

S: Where do you source your materials from and how do you choose the wool you use?

TG: Peregrine is fully licensed with British Wool, sourcing wool through their community of trusted sheep farmers (Yorkshire and Midlands – we use wool from the Blue-faced Leister sheep). All the wool meets strict standards of animal welfare and quality.

We have used the same suppliers for generations, and we evolve the materials used every year. We try our best to use British material where we can.

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S: What is the process of creating a piece of clothing from Peregrine, from start to finish?

TG: We start off the design process by sketching ideas and drawing on inspiration from previous collections.

We then choose a material that will work best for that item of clothing e.g. British wool, merino wool, cotton, waxed cotton, British Millerain. Then we take measurements from models and previous styles. Samples are then created in our factory and sent to us. Alterations and develops are then made to make sure the garment fits and is practical. Once all alterations are made the garment can then go into manufacturing.

S: How do you ensure the clothing Peregrine designs will be loved for years?

TG: Our knitwear is made from 100% wool. Wool is somewhat of a miracle fabric as it is highly sustainable, renewable, biodegradable, recyclable and flame-resistant. It is also highly durable meaning our knitwear is made to last – perfect for garments to treasure for years and even pass on.

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We also have a waste wool collection. A testament to the enduring quality of the fibre.

S: What is your go to product from Peregrine clothing? 

TG: For the winter – Hudson Aran and Wool Blanket Shirts, for the Summer – Emery Polo Shirt

S: What are your plans for the future of Peregrine clothing?

TG: We have just opened a shop on Regent Street – to continue to grow the brand and to educate everyone about British manufacturing and sustainable clothing. We have noticed a real shift in our customers wanting to buy higher quality, locally sourced and sustainable clothing. We have always been producing sustainable products but there has been a noticeable shift in consumer behaviour which is amazing.



About the Writer

ImageEmily Bowles is a young fashion journalist with a passion for social and environmental issues. She likes to explore the culture surrounding sustainable lifestyle, especially ethical fashion. She is currently studying final year at Southampton Solent University.