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Pendleton Woolen Mills – The Legendary Blankets

by Neil Summers

Over the past 25 years, Pendleton Woolen Mills have developed a series of Legendary blankets all of which are based on the beliefs and traditions of their original and most valued customers, the Native American Indian. Though founded by British weaver Thomas Kay back in 1863 it was only after the purchase of a mill along the Oregon Trail in 1909 that their blankets, robes and shawls became highly prized by the Native American population.

One of the reasons for the popularity of these products is thanks to the care taken by the pattern designers to learn about the native mythologies and design preferences of their customers. In the earliest years, Joe Rawnsley, who was considered a gifted talent on the jacquard loom, took time out with the local natives of northeastern Oregon to develop and understand their preferences of colour and design. Which he would then interpret the ideas gleaned from the native peoples into blanket designs using modern technologies that could express pattern ideas in much greater detail and in more vivid colours that could be expressed by traditional weaving methods.

Local business men during a Pendleton Mill tour in 1910.

Wiith the success of these first designs, Mr. Rawnsley went on to spend a further spent six months in the native Southwest developing ideas for designs that would specifically appeal to the tribes of this region. He returned with hundreds of designs to be interpreted into his weaving processes and also entering Pendleton blankets into the ‘Indian trade’. Meaning that local natives started to take the blankets down from Oregon to the Southwest tribes in order to exchange them for silver jewellery, wool or other items of value. The colourful blankets were also integrated into everyday and ceremonial uses; part of a dowry, weddings, gift giving, pow wows, dance prizes, naming ceremonies, funerals and memorials. With blankets often being placed into coffins to keep loved ones warm on their journey.

Today, Pendleton blankets continue to play a significant role in Indigenous communities across North America with the tradition of wool and textile innovation established by Thomas Kay and his family underlying all Pendleton products. Though the good news now is that you don’t have to belong to a Native American tribe in order to own one as The Sporting Lodge are now proud stockists of this incredible American brand.

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Wigwam – Brand New to The Sporting Lodge

by Mark Smith,

Founded in 1905, Wigwam was the creation three men – Herbert Chesebro, Robert Ehany, and Lawerance Bentz. This trio had previously worked for the Sheboygan Knitting Company but when it burnt down, they quickly combined to fill its place.

In a town benefiting from diverse immigration, Wigwam rose to prominence quickly, supplying the various lumbermen of the area. Sheboygan had originally been officially founded 49 years earlier but prior to that it was inhabited by various Native American tribes.

By 1936, Chesebro had taken full control of the company, but like many businesses, the war effort led to a shift in production, with 75% of their capacity being used to make socks for troops overseas.

In the post-war years, Wigwam used its strong reputation to branch out into all kinds of hosiery, with a forward-thinking outlook which has kept the company at the forefront for more than a century.

Today, Wigwam make some of the finest, most hard wearing and hard working socks on the market.

We are pleased to now be stocking Wigwam at The Sporting Lodge, browse the range!

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Tricker’s – British craftsmanship and quality

by Neil Summers,

Since 1829 Tricker’s have been providing their timeless classic footwear to an extensive and loyal customer base that includes ranges from the farming community to members of the royal family. Founded by James Tricker in Northampton the company developed a unique welting system that created a waterproof protection for boots offering a warm and dry solution to those who’d been previously spending their days out in the fields with wet feet. Though initially a functional boot designed specifically for country pursuits, word soon spread and before long the iconic Tricker boot was being worn in both town and country. The reputation was so strong that Tricker’s were also charged with with providing boots to officers during both World Wars with many soldiers choosing to wear them long after conflict had ended thanks to their high quality. Over time the Tricker’s name has become synonymous with British craftsmanship and quality. especially overseas where it’s particularly popular in the two most style conscious countries in the world, Japan and Italy.

Though now playing to a global and fashion based audience as well as several generations of loyal customers, little has changed in their production methods. Almost 250 individual processes are required to make a single pair of tricker’s shoes in their busy factory where workers move between stations checking leathers, welting shoes and forming the shape of boots over bespoke lasts. Many of these unique foot shaped wooden moulds are kept in a designated client room that is something of a Brogues gallery such are the famous names attached to many of them. Alongside HRH the prince of Wales you’ll find lasts belonging to politicians, captains of industry, soldiers, sailors and airman, explorers as well as leading figures from the arts. In fact Tricker’s were even worn by Sir Edmund Hillary on his successful 1953 ascent of the Himalayas as well as by Lord Carnarvon when opening the tomb of Tutankhamen. 007 is also a fan of the tricker’s brogue with everyone from the originator Ian Fleming right up to the current Bond Daniel Craig being customers of Tricker’s Jermyn street store.

Few brands create as high a level of loyalty as Tricker’s do, with many owners handing their beloved brogues down to their children who in turn keep the tradition and continue to pass theirs on. Proving that these classic British shoes in many ways become a part of the family rather than just a way of keeping your feet dry!

Spring Summer 2017 collection has just landed at The Sporting Lodge, it’s well worth a look!

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Private White V. C. – The great design

Private White V.C. takes its name from the decorated WW1 hero Private Jack White. Drawing inspiration from the all-action life of its namesake, PWVC produces classic, timeless clothing with military and functional characteristics.

Taking the best items of clothing from the 20th century, Private White V.C. expertly evolves its designs to create something new for the modern man.

Still based in the hard-working industrial heart of Manchester, Private White V.C. keep production close, with all garments constructed in their factory, using locally sourced fabrics wherever possible.

On design duties is Nick Ashley, who utilises a lifetime of experience garnered from spells with Kenzo, Tods and Dunhill, not to mention the creativity in his family’s DNA. His mother is the celebrated interior designer Laura Ashley.

If you appreciate great design, a keen eye for quality and a Boy’s Own background, Private White V.C. ticks all boxes.

SS17 has just landed at The Sporting Lodge, we hope you like the new range as much as we do!

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Fjällräven: Born and raised in the great outdoors

When it comes to truly authentic outdoor brands there can be few brands credentials as impressive as the Swedish label Fjällräven. Their origins can be traced back to 1950 when founder Åke Nordin was a 14 year old boy-scout and took issue with the uncomfortable backpacks of the time. Being a practical type he decided to do something about this problem and in a lodge adjoining the family’s holiday home he made a wooden frame and fastened a cotton bag to it that he’d sewn together using leather straps. The new design worked a treat as it distributed the load across his back and increased the ventilation between back and the backpack. Allowing for a more comfortable fit, enabling heavier loads to be carried and heralding the start of something special.

After leaving the scouts Åke went on to do his military service  at the newly founded and extremely demanding FJS Parachute Ranger School in Karlsborg. It was during his time there that he discovered that even the equipment used by the most elite unit in the country was not fit for purpose. Recognising that there was clearly a market for functional and hard-wearing outdoor equipment, Åke set up his own company in 1960.

The first registered Fjällräven office was the family’s one-room flat just outside Örnsköldsvik. Whilst the workshop was situated down in the cellar and is where the first backpacks with aluminium frames were created. They were gradually followed by the condensation-free, lightweight tents, functional outdoor clothing and revolutionary sleeping bags that would come to be loved by a growing corps of outdoor enthusiasts the world over.

Though now a global company with many employees Fjällräven continue to be a brand with a love of the great outdoors still very much at it’s heart. Which is why they remain completely committed to continually developing their high quality products whilst also promoting the outdoor life and acting responsibly towards wildlife and nature.

View Fjallraven’s fantastic outdoor range at The Sporting Lodge.

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The everlasting and enduring appeal of a Barbour wax jacket

by Neil Summers.

There can be few things in life that are as hard-wearing or reliable as a Barbour jacket. Designed for all manner of healthy outdoor pursuits from bailing hay to wiping out wildfowl. It’s a timeless British icon loved the world over as much by country folk as it is city-slickers and whose level of appeal (just like the jackets themselves) seems to only improve with age. This was proved by my recent visit to the Pitti Uomo trade show in Florence where I noticed amongst all the fur lined parkas and woolen overcoats that the Barbour Bedale and Beaufort wax jackets are both still the jacket of choice for Italy’s fashion elite. Which is pretty incredible when you try to think of another genuine outdoor that’s as popular with urbanite peacocks as it is with those who wear Barbour jackets for the type of outdoor pursuits that don’t involve drinking prosecco or being papped.

Whilst other jackets have come and gone since its inception back in 1894, thanks to its combination of practicality and timeless style the Barbour wax jacket is now a permanent fixture in our wardrobes. Worn by everyone from festival goers to royalty and even our household pets the Barbour wax jacket remains a uniquely British fashion statement too. It’s an iconic institution as synonymous with our sceptered isle as red buses, steamed up chip shop windows, foaming pints of beer, complaining about the weather and the wonderful crack of leather on willow.

Long may Barbour continue, here at The Sporting Lodge we are proud to be working with such an iconic brand.

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Brady Bags – Made in England

by Mark Smith and Neil Summers

The Brady brothers John and Albert started their company in Birmingham in 1887 having begun making leather goods in the 1870s. While they eventually made their name in fishing and game bags, it was their leather gun cases which first announced them to the outdoor community.

John’s son Ernest and Albert’s son, Leonard both joined Brady Brothers later and in 1928 Ernest took over the business.

The business grew from strength to strength under Ernest’s tutelage and in the 1930’s Ernest and Leonard moved to larger premises in Shadwell Street in the heart of Birmingham’s gun quarter. It was there Ernest first designed and personally made a range of fishing bags all named after English rivers. These bags came to personify the brand and gave them a strong identity on which to foster a prosperous future.

Brady gun cases became another mainstay of the brand and were coveted by the great and good, from the Sultan of Oman to the Duke of Westminster.

In what would seem an unlikely turn of events, Leonard sought to make his name in Hollywood and perhaps unsurprisingly his keen craftsmanship helped him establish himself as a prop maker in the film industry.

In the middle part of 20th century, the war effort meant the focus of Brady shifted and the entire business suffered serious upheaval. Ernest moved production to his home where he worked alongside a stitcher and machinist. Eventually, heavy bombing of the region meant another relocation was necessary and roots were put down in Halesowen in the Black Country.

As Brady sought to reestablish itself as the leading bag maker in post-war Britain, Ernest took the unusual step of building a caravan and taking his family on a road trip which led to London. While there he took his products into as many retailers as he could find and took orders which would prove to be a tremendous boon for the business.

With a fine tradition for using the best materials, including canvas and leather, Brady continue to be based just north of Birmingham in Walsall. Their values hold true and when many brands are transplanting their production overseas, Brady remains steadfast in its belief in British manufacturing. While the family took a step back in the 1990s, they kept the same ethos key to the future of Brady by passing the company into expert hands, based in the same region.

Brady still make some of the bags they did years & years ago using the same traditional methods they always have.

The Sporting Lodge have long been proud members of the Brady Bunch, having had a working relationship with the brand for more than half a century. Long may that continue. If they keep making great bags there’s no reason why not.

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Filson – A New Introduction

by Mark Smith and Neil Summers

Filson may have been around for several lifetimes, but it’s a new introduction for us here at The Sporting Lodge.

Clinton C. Filson spent the early part of his working life as a railroad conductor, before moving to Seattle, Washington in the 1890s. It was here where the real roots of Filson began, when Clinton set up a small loggers outfitting store. In a scene which was mirrored in many parts of the U.S in this era, Filson made its name meeting the needs of prospectors passing through Seattle on their way to the Klondike Gold Rush. The brand eventually got itself on a solid footing in 1897 and although the gold rush was relatively short-lived, it cemented the brand as a reliable supplier of clothing and accessories which would stand the test of time. After the gold rush ended around 1899, Filson shifted to providing gear for outdoor oriented activities and occupations including hunting, fishing and logging.

In the modern day, Filson continues to enjoy an unrivalled reputation in its field. In the early 90s, its heritage in canvas luggage was revived, while more recently in 2010 it fittingly partnered up with another brand born of the gold rush to create Levi’s Workwear by Filson. While the brand may be rooted in 19th century values in some ways, it’s very much a modern entity. They keep things close to home by manufacturing in the U.S more often than not. Indeed, some of their materials are source in the United Kingdom, too.

With slogans such as ‘Unfailing Goods’ and ‘Built to Last’ running through their veins, Filson have a unique confidence in the gear they make. It’s perhaps their best known tagline which sums them up most accurately though – “Filson – Might as well have the best”.

“The goods we quote must not be confounded with the cheap and vastly inferior grade with which the market is over-run. Such goods are not only useless for the purpose for which they are intended, but the person wearing them would be better off without them.”

— Clinton C. Filson, 1914 catalogue

Over the years, Filson’s philosophy has never changed: Make sure it’s the absolute best. Clinton Filson spent a lot of time talking to his customers and refining his designs to their specifications. So it’s not surprising that the items that worked then still work today, over 100 years later. Comfort, protection and durability never go out of style.

We hope you love our new Filson range as much as we do at The Sporting Lodge.

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Barbour – since 1894

J. Barbour and Sons Ltd was founded by Scottish native John Barbour in South Shields, England in 1894. Initially aking their name as an importer of oil-cloth, by 1908 Barbour had used their specialist knowledge to manufacture waterproof clothing.

They aimed this at all manner of active types and attracted orders from far and wide. Using a mail order catalogue helped cement Barbour as the go-to guys for reliable outdoor clothing. By 1917, 75% of their orders were made via the mail order catalogue.

Fast forward to the modern era and in 2004, Barbour began to work with Lord James Percy in the design and marketing of its flagship shooting clothing range – the Northumberland range.

Technically advanced and highly acclaimed in 2005, the Northumberland Range won the Shooting Industry Award for best clothing product, and more recently, the Linhope 3-in-1 won the Shooting Industry Award for best clothing product, 2008. More recently he was involved, alongside Vice Chairman Helen Barbour, in designing the new Barbour Sporting collection launched for Autumn Winter 2011.
There are now over 5,000 products across the two seasons, and the collections now cater for Men, Ladies and Children. Broadening out from its countrywear roots, today the heritage and lifestyle clothing brand produces clothing that is designed for a full lifestyle wardrobe. As well as jackets and coats, the Barbour wardrobe includes trousers, shirts, socks, knitwear and a range of accessories.

Nevertheless, in whichever area the company now operates, it remains true to its core values as a family business which espouses the unique values of the British Countryside and brings the qualities of wit, grit and glamour to its beautifully functional clothing.

We are proud to stock a wide range of Barbour products at The Sporting Lodge.

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Barbour, for Queen and Country

Although Barbour has an impressive and illustrious history dating way back to 1894 it was during the 1980s that the family owned business became a household name in the UK. Prior to then their reputation for incredible outerwear had tended to be something of a well kept secret by those who enjoyed country pursuits or riding motorcycles. Though the combination of their second royal warrants arriving (this time for the queen herself) and the first of their iconic Bedale and Beaufort jackets being produced meant that the cat was well and truly out of the (wax) bag.

During this aspirational decade one of the true signs that you’d really ‘made it’ was having a place in the country to go to at the weekend that had to include an AGA oven, a range rover, a chocolate Labrador or two and of course a wax jacket. With the upwardly mobile city-slickers soon realising that if Barbour was good enough for the royal family then it was good enough for them too. In fact the South Shields based brand made such an impact back then that their reputation for this old-fashioned yet still incredibly effective form of waterproofing means that it’s still impossible to think of a wax jacket without also thinking of Barbour at the same time even now. This is no doubt helped by the fact that when you buy a Barbour it becomes more than just an item of clothing, it becomes a part of you that improves with age and with the right amount of care and the odd re-waxing will last you a lifetime.

Browse the wonderful world of Barbour at The Sporting Lodge.