Jess Quinton and Jane Chadwick are the design duo behind London-based luxury knitwear label Quinton Chadwick (listed in our directory here)
Describing their style as ‘traditional modernist’, they create knitwear to love and keep. Their aim is to keep traditional knitting skills alive so they only use small Scottish factories and their own specialist hand-knitters to create a collection which is truly British.
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to start the business…
A. We both spotted a need for British produced knitwear which is designed and made with integrity. We decided to start our own business in order to create a lifestyle which would enable us both to work alongside bringing up our families.
Q. Where is your business located?
A. We’re based in central London which gives us a diverse and cultural environment in which to work, and we enjoy the buzz and constant exchange of ideas that this cosmopolitan city inspires. Visits to local markets such as Brick Lane and Columbia Road also provide a great source of inspiration.
Q. Do you use any specialist techniques or equipment to produce your goods?
A. We work with a co-operative of Cornish hand-knitters using traditional stitch techniques – we want to help keep this dying art alive and make it into a Twenty First Century product. We also use small scale Scottish factories for their felting and jacquard machines, as well as their specialist glove making machinery. Again, we aim to use heritage designs and yarns but with the addition of a modernist slant.
Q. What are the most popular products in your range?
A. We probably sell more gloves because of the price point. But the hand-knits also sell really well, even though they’re expensive, as each piece is bespoke and knitted to order. People buy them because they want to support British trade and help the economy, as well as wearing something stylish and unique.
Q. What’s the best thing about what you do?
A. the best thing is seeing people you don’t know wearing something you have designed and made, and knowing they’ve bought it for the right reasons that go beyond just price and trend.
Q. Why do you choose to make your products in Britain?
A. Because it’s our home and we are proud of the heritage of British craftsmanship. We’re extremely proud to be in a position to help to keep traditional craftsmanship alive.
Q. What’s been your proudest moment?
A. We were thrilled to be awarded the UK Fashion & Export Council Award in 2004 – the award was presented by Princess Anne. We also get lots of wonderful feedback from our customers which is always fantastic to hear.
Q. Where do you sell your products?
A. We have our own online shop at www.quinton-chadwick.co.uk where you can buy the current season’s collection. We’ve also recently designed and produced a bespoke capsule collection for The TATE Gallery Shop. Our wholesale collections are exhibited at trade shows such as PURE London in August, and Premiere Classe Paris to independent boutiques such as ANNA in Primrose Hill and the Kings Road, Dulwich Trader in South East London, and Fluidity in Henley-on-Thames.
Q. Which other British producers inspire you and why?
A. Mimi for her most gorgeous leather bags and Lucky Bird cards and stationery.
Q. Do you make an effort to buy British when food shopping?
A. Yes absolutely… Broadway Market for local tomatoes and cider, and Islington Farmers Market where we buy the best cheese called ‘Lincolnshire Poacher’.
Q. Where is your favourite place to holiday in Britain?
A. For Jane it’s Cornwall… a place called St Just which is wild and rugged with fantastic coastline walks. While for Jess it’s Southwold in Suffolk for its long beaches.
Q. And finally, what do you do to relax and unwind when you’re not busy working?
A. Well, we’re both training for the 5k Cancer Research run in June. We also love to cook for friends and family, and watch fims – we particularly loved The Kings Speech and Black Swan. And we like to spend time in our gardens, which is very relaxing especially with a glass of English wine!
Quinton Chadwick is listed in our directory
Thanks Jess and Jane!