Given last year’s events that tested independent businesses such as ourselves with regards to manufacturing, we’re incredibly proud to launch our SS21 collection. With it, there’s a brilliant campaign shot on Waiheke Island, which is just off the coast of Auckland in New Zealand. We didn’t think Margate would have worked with the collection’s palette so we shipped it to our friend James Holborow on the other side of the world to photograph it while exploring the area’s natural beauty in peak summer.
We like to think that The Workers Club offers an ever-evolving wardrobe of staples that are made responsibly, wear easily and age beautifully, and this SS21 collection is a testament to that. It’s a simple continuation of last year’s spring/summer collection; a concise offering of garments that we feel will add new possibilities to your wardrobe all the while maintaining a relaxed and comfortable feel. And, if last year’s events are anything to go by, those latter two qualities are even more important in how your wardrobe functions today.
This collection is also the second one that we’ve worked on with Mackintosh. What’s different this time around, though, is that we’ve been able to create a product that is 100% Made in the UK which means a lot to us. We’ve used fabrics sourced from Halley Stevensons in Dundee then the trimmings from our friends Courtney & Co. in Gloucestershire, who’ve made us our own unique corozo button design. It’s then being pieced together by the skilled hands employed within Mackintosh’s factory in Lancashire to create the collection’s hero piece, the Deck jacket.
The Deck jacket is something we’ve wanted to introduce into the TWC outerwear arsenal for some time and it feels rather wholesome to have now done that. One wasn’t enough, though, so we’ve made it in four different iterations. It’s not so much a replica of a vintage piece, as there are considerable changes to the design, but it does draw cues from a USMC HBT herringbone twill Utility jacket from Adam’s archive. Coincidentally, it just so happens to be a favourite of our agent Ryan, who exceeded his sales role by becoming our muse for the season.
One of the clear changes is that we’ve adapted the collar into a two-way collar, in that it can stand up and offer greater protection to your neck area, while also turning down like a shirt to show off a T-shirt beneath. We think this not only gives it more versatility but creates a look that’s super cool but subtle. We’ve also added lower pockets, which have also been reinforced to tick that workwear-vibe box and provide ample storage for a day’s adventure. As the original source of inspiration, there is a version in a herringbone fabric but instead of khaki, we’ve opted for a stone-toned heavy-weight cotton fabric that is then lightly waxed for waterproofing. The other three are made from a ripstop fabric which is a type of cloth that has a fantastic story. With military origins dating back to WW2, the nylon-based fabric was woven with equally-spaced reinforced yarns across the warp and weft. As a result, when the fabric ripped in battle, for example, it stopped alongside those tougher parameters and was thus easier to repair. It was also easier to tear off a part of a jacket if one needed to make a tourniquet. Technology has since moved on and our friends Halley Stevensons has devised a way to make ripstop fabric entirely from organic cotton and we’ve picked out the olive, navy and airforce blue from the bunch. We, of course, don’t suggest you test this ripstop function at home, but what you need to know is that it’s a smart fabric that’s hardwearing, shower-proof and breathable.
Moving on from outerwear, which is of course our bread and butter, another central component in our visual aesthetic and brand DNA is indigo. While it might be seen as a one-dimensional ingredient that’s limited to making denim, there’s much more to it. A case in point is the works by Shihoko Fukumoto, a Japanese artist who’s a leading expert in indigo. Back in the 1970s, she started working with indigo dye and applying it to a range of different textiles with varying techniques to create artworks that are simply beautiful. (Every ‘denim head’ really ought to have one).
Her craft has inspired us to use indigo dye with our IKAT weave camp-collar shirts and short. These can be mix and matched which we think brings a refreshing but not revolutionary look to a spring/summer wardrobe. The process involved to make an IKAT design has been used for centuries and is done entirely by hand and what our craftspeople do is apply dye directly onto gathered groups of yarns which are tied together in places according to the pattern. They’re then allowed to dry before being dispersed and woven together whereby eventually the design becomes visible and clear. The process can’t be automated and because of the handwork, there are so many irregularities that make each one of our unique. It’s for that reason why these camp-collar shirts are really special compared to others in the market; they’re wearable art.
Through wear and washing, these shirts will not only soften, but they’ll lose their intense colouring which is one of the main qualities of indigo; it evolves in tandem with your lifestyle. While it’s a different shirt, this is particularly apparent with our chambray long-sleeve camp collar (which comes with a matching short). Chambray is another fabric with a rich history that originates in northern France in the 1500s and it’s characterised by its light blue colour, which makes it a great choice in summer. It has blue warp yarns and white weft yarns, and as it washes the white yarns become more visible and lovely, in our opinion. It’s definitely the smartest piece in the collection, in that it can be dressed up or dressed down.
Last but by no means least, there’s our Popover shirt, which is made from a double-faced cloth. This means that the fabric has two contrasting sides in colour and texture, with the outer side showing a casual blend of greens, blues and pinks in a relaxed check. It’s an incredibly time-consuming process with the dyeing and weaving processes carried out by hand, which is why we’ve put it in the collection.
The Popover shirt has always been a popular one for us as it’s functional and smart, this double face check we think adds another dimension, worn paired with our legacy wash denim is simply perfection!. All in all, while it’s not the biggest collection we believe that these pieces will add huge versatility into your wardrobe for this spring/summer season (and every one after!). The fabrics are easy-going, and the cuts are relaxed but contemporary. So, if last year’s events have told us anything, it’s that we deserve some fun this summer and there’s no better way of doing that with clothes. Whether or not you’ll be able to enjoy it in a similar setting to our model in Waiheke Island is another question. Margate might have to do after all.