You might have never thought about it, but what if the shirt on your back could tell a thousand stories? What if the coat you throw on each day represented passion and commitment, or the jacket round your shoulders symbolized generations of toil and tradition?
As a brand with British manufacturing still in its blood, heritage and tradition are uncompromised fundamentals of the AllSaints spirit. However, it is these values that too many, too often forget, as modern day production takes hold and skilled British work forces get left behind. This documentary film was created, to give voice to the whispered stories of survival in a fast-moving industry and liberate the Voices of the Cloth.
Shot in the Yorkshire town of Huddersfield, where much of AllSaints’ woven textiles are manufactured, the towns’ endless stories presented an opportunity celebrate their roots. With the surrounding Pennine hills like huge folded mounds of Worstead cloth and wind-blown grass like delicate fabric fibers, it was also a setting too striking not to share.
Within the traditional ‘finishing’ mill where many of our fabrics are treated, the skilled workers explained the specialist weaving and steaming techniques that have been developed over generations to give the miles and miles of beautiful fabric a very specific feel. This ‘handle’ is a quality that could not be replicated without their expert knowledge, or the temperate conditions of the surrounding area.
These men of the mill are equally fascinating, working on machines now so old that they were unique in the world and using top secret soap recipes that their ancestors had toiled for generations to perfect. These were people who started work at the age of 15 knowing nothing about textiles, but who by retirement age had become experts in their trade. They stood tall like heroes, their faces rugged as if chiseled in stone, proud in the knowledge that their skills were almost unique and eager to teach the next generation.
If fabric could speak, it would have undoubtedly told you what workers would have told you, their lives and families now so intimately linked with manufacturing that it has become impossible to tell where the cloth ends and the men begin.