Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Sampling House of Billiam

Over the last few weeks I've been hearing enthused whispers around House of Billiam growing increasingly louder. From its fruitful with Soulland to its celebration of Dover Street Market's Ginza opening more people are discovering and ultimately falling for its well crafted charms. Over the weekend, thanks to a sample sale with Percival and 3939, I did too.

Since its inception in 2009, East London based label has quietly gone about its business of reimagining iconic streetwear shapes through the use of classic British and high quality fabrics. From gentrifying the hoodie through cut, fabric and method of sale to perfecting their own Perfecto, creative director and founder Thomas Bird and designer Rav Matharu have built a devoted following by specialising in allowing each customer to pick and choose every element to create a made to measure garment that reflects both their principles and approach to fashion in addition to the personal choices of each client. A House of Billiam piece is a collaboration between the fashion house and client, be that directly or through its growing number of stockists. Now, given that I first encountered their garments at a sample sale, I had to rely on another's design whims. Fortunately, the well stocked rails offered an abundance of options and it only took a few minutes before I unearthed a biker jacket that combined Harris Tweed with a soft brown nappa. It was an irresistible combination... 

House of Billiam's MB Biker in Harris Tweed and Nappa leather worn over Breton by Le Minor and with trousers by b Store, Sir Coxsone 2.0 by Mr Hare and glasses by Bruno Chaussignand

Against butter soft nappa leather, the tweed is the star of the show. For such a burly and utilitarian fabric, Harris Tweed evokes a great deal of romantically nostalgic feelings. Therefore, given the design duo's adoration of fabric, it should come as little surprise that House of Billiam were drawn to it. The reason for this common heart stirring is that the tweed is still woven by pedal-powered looms in the homes of Scottish sheep herders on the outermost fringe of the British Isles, just as it has been since 1846. Over the decades, the process has of course evolved but it has always remained true to the basic principles which are enshrined, uniquely, in the Act. Today, Harris Tweed is the only handwoven fabric produced in commercial quantities. The relationship between the mill and the weaver is central to the production of Harris Tweed and I count myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to watch this great fabric take shape before my excited eyes. One of the factors that make this fabric so special to me is that its relationship with the setting in which it is made. The fabric and landscape are entwined. The myriad of Harris Tweed patterns are inspired by the ever changing landscape. Looking back over the images I shot during my time in Harris and Lewis I could not resist sharing a few with you all over again alongside my latest shot of this Champagne of fabrics...

Jacket details alongside memories from Harris and Lewis

Harris Tweed once hung in every British wardrobe but with the rise of throwaway fashion all of that sadly spiralled down. However, thanks to House of Billiam my wardrobe has something quite special hanging in it. If ever there was a time to wrap ourselves up in this beautiful, sustainable, ethnic British cloth it is now.


Marc said...

That jacket... sublime!

Jon said...

Great images and I like the jacket very much.

Syed said...

Liked the jacket until I saw the lining, then I loved it. And those red cuffs are super dope.


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