I had the pleasure of taking a day trip to visit the historic working woollen mill of Melin Tregwynt last week to speak to the current owners who are part of a family dynasty of textile makers. Founded in 1912, the mill has survived wars, depression, changes in taste and fashion trends, extreme weather and just about everything else in between.
The mill itself is set in an idyllic location in West Wales and requires a drive through beautiful countryside and narrow lanes to reach it, which seems fitting somehow. The whitewashed buildings with signature pale blue doors and woodwork also look pretty idyllic, and almost suspended in time. The machinery and techniques used are traditional, but with some modern updates and machinery, but in essence, what Melin Tregwynt does now, is what it’s been doing for over a hundred years.
If you know Melin Tregwynt you’ll probably know them as an interior textiles company, they make beautiful woollen blankets, cushions, lampshades, bags etc. all with the brilliant colours and unique patterns they’ve become famous for. The processes and designs may be steeped in history but don’t be fooled into thinking this company hasn’t moved with the times, they’re a very contemporary company and the designs sit well in 21st century homes as well as gracing the interiors of many an international hotel and boutique guest house. They are in fact a global brand with a strong reputation amongst international interior stylists.
So what has this got to do with fashion you might ask? Well I’ve been a fan of their textiles for some time, so when I saw they’ve branched out into fashion I was keen to know more. It’s a relatively small collection of coats, skirts and jackets at the moment, but in typical Melin Tregwynt style it’s beautifully crafted and constructed, the fabrics are of course expertly woven and the pieces are timeless and classic but with contemporary colours and patterns. They remind me of the essence of Orla Kiely’s designs which reference pattern from the past but with a very contemporary update.
The women’s coats come in a small range of shapes, vintage and modern, and a variety of colour ways. My favourites are the draped coat and the 50’s coat in Vintage Rose Light Grey with it’s three quarter sleeves.
There are also skirts, and jackets, as well as a men’s range of waistcoats, coats and jackets. All of the garments have been selling quietly but consistently via the shop at the mill as well as through individual orders from online enquiries. But there are plans in the pipeline to not only expand the range – I got a sneak preview of some shift dresses and other designs during my visit – but also to open up an e-commerce site.
What consistently struck me about every garment I was shown though was the softness of the fabric and the colours, the vibrancy of them, the combinations and of course how they work with the intricate patterns which are synonymous with the brand.
If you have a Welsh heritage like me, you’ll remember at least one family member, somewhere in the past who owned a Welsh wool coat or cape, a skirt or even just a bag or purse. Vintage Welsh woollen textiles seem to be popping up everywhere these days and are having a bit of a revival.
So with the maker movement in full swing, textile manufacturing in the UK seeing some small signs of recovery and greater numbers of us interested in buying clothes that are more of a long-term investment, this seems like a great time for establishing and expanding this beautifully crafted and curated collection from Melin Tregwynt.
To see more of the clothing range go to Melin Tregwynt