Fast becoming a well-known name in the ever-evolving menswear market, Manchester-based Private White V.C. makes sturdy, military-inspired garments with a keen attention to detail. Named for company founder James Eden's great grandfather, Jack White (a decorated WWI veteran), the prideful brand still operates in the factory where Private White himself once worked and eventually owned. After learning of the brand's storied history back in April we've been curious to hear more about the Private White V.C. factory—a symbol so central to the company it's featured on each employee's business card.
Although the factory's deed has changed hands a few times—in the early 1900s and then in 2007 when Eden and his siblings took the reigns once again—the family has never been out of the loop. "We've always had an emotional, if not financial, attachment to the factory because of my great grandfather," says Eden. "Instead of having a paper route or a Sunday job I would be working in the factory, cutting fabric, counting buttons, sweeping floors, doing everything and anything just to help out."
Nestled in the heart of Manchester—the world's first industrial city and what many consider to be a pillar of the world's raincoat industry—the Private White V.C. factory once manufactured iconic outerwear pieces, like the mackintosh, and is now responsible for the assembly of the entire, outerwear-dominated line of Private White V.C. garments. "That's where our expertise lies," says Eden. "That's what we've been doing for many many years." This do-what-you-do-best mentality can be seen in the Twin Track Jacket, a new piece melding traditional design and craftsmanship with contemporary materials. As always, Eden ensures that whenever possible his fabrics and materials are sourced from regional suppliers, many of whom have been supplying the factory for nearly a century. Responding to many consumers' interest in the story behind the brand, the Private White V.C. website is full of history and personal references.
"You've got a very inquisitive consumer these days," says Eden. "They want to know who's making the product and what level of attention has gone into it. We're not making paper clips or a commodity where you push a button and out it comes. This is a very high-touch product, we've got lots of processes here all done by hand and all done by people." People like Eden himself, and his family members—from his sister to the neighbor's dog, he tells us—who are all in the factory on a daily basis.
Because of the lifelong connection to the factory and an unwavering willingness to get their hands dirty, Eden and his designers are able to create extremely high-quality products—at reasonable prices—all in the historic factory. "There's no bullshit here. We're not trying to be something we're not," he says. "We're not a slick, all-consuming, earth-cornering retailer, we're a quintessentially working-class factory producing world-class products." For more information visit Private White V.C. online.
Images courtesy of Private White V.C.