Studio Visit : Oldtown Outfitters
I have been interested in the work of OLD TOWN, a made-to-order outfitters based in Norfolk, for some time and have always planned on visiting for a closer look. This weekend, prompted by a recent article in AnOther Magazine, we made the trip to their store in Holt.
The article - written by Rebecca May Johnson and published this week - was part of a series on "Radically Slow Fashion". It described OLD TOWN as specialising in "modern versions of 20th century workwear". Their focus is on timeless design, drawing influence from the more relaxed tailoring of the mid century. There are many touches which mark their work as distinctly their own - the particular outline of their patch pockets springs to mind. All work is made to order, the cloth being cut above the shop and carefully sewn by machinists working from home. The quality is impeccable; French seams abound.
The fact that their business model is now considered unusual speaks of how far we have been pulled into the seasonal model of 'fast fashion'. The waiting list currently stands at four to six weeks which seems like time well spent when you expect to have something for many, many years. Imagine the excitement of someone who has just ordered a garment, the 'Unity' jacket perhaps, to be made up in 'Airforce Blue' Merino lambswool and delivered - just for the sake of argument - to a certain leatherworker at 4 Windmill Street in a months time.
The walls upstairs are shrouded with card patterns. Hidden behind are all sorts of research materials - casual snapshots, old photographs, obscure documents. I spotted an image of artist Joseph Beuys' 'Felt Suit' sculpture as well as the incredible 'Sentry', a marionette created by Sophie Taeuber-Arp in 1918. MT