Shopping bag
layout

Made In Manchester For The World

Words by Malcolm Cossons

When you’re putting on your Private White V.C. Ventile® raincoat or Duster Mac, you’re probably focused on the next meeting or where your phone is. It’s unlikely you’ll wonder who made what you’re wearing. However, your coat - or any of the garments we make for that matter - has passed through multiple hands, each ensuring what you have on is the best it can be.

The talented work force in our factory have brought their skills from across the world to Manchester. In this, Private White V.C. makes a direct connection to the city’s history, which has always attracted people seeking work.

Indeed, Private Jack White himself was the son of a Russian immigrant. His father, along with many others, fled Russia to avoid anti-Semitic persecution. Issac Weiss – who anglicised his surname to White – married a British girl, Olga, and their son was born in Leeds in 1896, before the family moved to Manchester. Following Jack's heroic return from the First World War, he found work in the very factory where Private White V.C. are still housed today.

“We’re the last remaining clothing factory in Manchester and have been blessed with an unbelievable wave of know-how and creativity, from those keen to show what they’ve learnt and exhibit their commitment to working and innovating.”

JAMES EDEN, CEO & FOUNDER AT PRIVATE WHITE V.C.

Words by Malcolm Cossons

When you’re putting on your Private White V.C. Ventile® raincoat or Duster Mac, you’re probably focused on the next meeting or where your phone is. It’s unlikely you’ll wonder who made what you’re wearing. However, your coat - or any of the garments we make for that matter - has passed through multiple hands, each ensuring what you have on is the best it can be.

The talented work force in our factory have brought their skills from across the world to Manchester. In this, Private White V.C. makes a direct connection to the city’s history, which has always attracted people seeking work.

Indeed, Private Jack White himself was the son of a Russian immigrant. His father, along with many others, fled Russia to avoid anti-Semitic persecution. Issac Weiss – who anglicised his surname to White – married a British girl, Olga, and their son was born in Leeds in 1896, before the family moved to Manchester. Following Jack's heroic return from the First World War, he found work in the very factory where Private White V.C. are still housed today.

“We’re the last remaining clothing factory in Manchester and have been blessed with an unbelievable wave of know-how and creativity, from those keen to show what they’ve learnt and exhibit their commitment to working and innovating.”

JAMES EDEN, CEO & FOUNDER AT PRIVATE WHITE V.C.

The attraction for Issac and others was the wealth of opportunities in a city at the height of its industrial strength. While this position declined, vestiges its former glory remained even in the 1980's. Hazel Taylor, Cutting Room Supervisor, recalls when it was then possible to walk out of one job and straight into another. Born and bred in Manchester - as she says, “From the factory window, I can see the house where my mum used to live.” – Hazel came to PWVC with a breadth of experience built up over many years.

Today, Private White V.C. is run by Jack’s great grandson, James Eden, who has sought to revive the rich heritage of Manchester’s garment trade, drawing on knowledge such as Hazel’s. To this has been added the abilities of a new group of incomers, attracted by Private White V.C.’s impeccable standards and attention to detail. As James observes: “We’re the last remaining clothing factory in Manchester and have been blessed with an unbelievable wave of know-how and creativity, from those keen to show what they’ve learnt and exhibit their commitment to working and innovating.”

FROM L TO R: JAMES EDEN, CEO, KASIA STANISZEWSKA, HEAD OF PRODUCT AND AHMED, FACTORY SUPERVISOR

Private White V.C.’s workforce is now a United Nations, comprising, in addition to Brits, those from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Israel, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, Italy, Spain, Australia, Brazil, Morocco and Eritrea. They all bring their own abilities, as Kasia Staniszewska, Head of Product, explains: “Every country has its own expertise and these people worked in slightly different trades - for instance, Ahmed from Afghanistan specialises in tailoring and leather work; while those from Poland are skilled in shirt or trouser production.”

Kasia herself trained in Poland, before coming to study in the United Kingdom. The draw of Manchester was strong, so she came north and started at Private White, first learning the business on the shop floor: “That’s the best place to discover anything. If you know the high standard to which the job needs to be done, then it’s hard to do anything else.” Mike Stoll, MD underscores the importance of training: “We up-skill, we don’t train from scratch. I worry about losing a member of staff, because the people are the resource. That’s the preciousness and the knowledge base that we have built up.”

ALESSIA BRIVIO, PWVC BUYER

“Some are born here, some drawn here, but we all call it home.”

TONY WALSH, POET

Alessia Brivio, our buyer at Private White V.C., came to Britain aged 18 seeking to learn both English and fashion. A chance conversation led to her becoming first an intern and now an employee, liaising directly with suppliers. She understands the benefits of working with such a range of people: “It’s like a big family. We all know each other and are always here for one another – that’s what makes this place great.”

International festivities are celebrated, with conversational barriers overcome by regular language lessons, with English the lingua franca of the factory. The other common denominator is the quality of the garments Private White V.C. produces, as Hazel says: “One of the satisfactions is seeing a garment made from start to finish. It’s a great achievement and there are details only someone in the industry would notice. I love the challenge of working on The Wax Twin Track, which has more than 40 pieces.”

THE WAX TWIN TRACK

HAZEL TAYLOR, CUTTING ROOM SUPERVISOR

With customers from China to the United States, Private White V.C. garments are fashioned in Manchester, by the world, for the world. In doing so they echo the city’s history for making things and its ability to attract and assimilate people. In a celebration of Mancunian spirit, the poet Tony Walsh, in a poignant piece following the terror attack in Manchester in 2017, perfectly encapsulates the city, its attractions, ideals and aspirations: “Some are born here, some drawn here, but we all call it home.”

The attraction for Issac and others was the wealth of opportunities in a city at the height of its industrial strength. While this position declined, vestiges its former glory remained even in the 1980's. Hazel Taylor, Cutting Room Supervisor, recalls when it was then possible to walk out of one job and straight into another. Born and bred in Manchester - as she says, “From the factory window, I can see the house where my mum used to live.” – Hazel came to PWVC with a breadth of experience built up over many years.

Today, Private White V.C. is run by Jack’s great grandson, James Eden, who has sought to revive the rich heritage of Manchester’s garment trade, drawing on knowledge such as Hazel’s. To this has been added the abilities of a new group of incomers, attracted by Private White V.C.’s impeccable standards and attention to detail. As James observes: “We’re the last remaining clothing factory in Manchester and have been blessed with an unbelievable wave of know-how and creativity, from those keen to show what they’ve learnt and exhibit their commitment to working and innovating.”

JAMES EDEN, CEO & FOUNDER

KASIA STANISZEWSKA, HEAD OF PRODUCT

AHMED, FACTORY SUPERVISOR

Private White V.C.’s workforce is now a United Nations, comprising, in addition to Brits, those from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Israel, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, Italy, Spain, Australia, Brazil, Morocco and Eritrea. They all bring their own abilities, as Kasia Staniszewska, Head of Product, explains: “Every country has its own expertise and these people worked in slightly different trades - for instance, Ahmed from Afghanistan specialises in tailoring and leather work; while those from Poland are skilled in shirt or trouser production.”

Kasia herself trained in Poland, before coming to study in the United Kingdom. The draw of Manchester was strong, so she came north and started at Private White, first learning the business on the shop floor: “That’s the best place to discover anything. If you know the high standard to which the job needs to be done, then it’s hard to do anything else.” Mike Stoll, MD underscores the importance of training: “We up-skill, we don’t train from scratch. I worry about losing a member of staff, because the people are the resource. That’s the preciousness and the knowledge base that we have built up.”

ALESSIA BRIVIO, PWVC BUYER

“Some are born here, some drawn here, but we all call it home.”

TONY WALSH, POET

Alessia Brivio, our buyer at Private White V.C., came to Britain aged 18 seeking to learn both English and fashion. A chance conversation led to her becoming first an intern and now an employee, liaising directly with suppliers. She understands the benefits of working with such a range of people: “It’s like a big family. We all know each other and are always here for one another – that’s what makes this place great.”

International festivities are celebrated, with conversational barriers overcome by regular language lessons, with English the lingua franca of the factory. The other common denominator is the quality of the garments Private White V.C. produces, as Hazel says: “One of the satisfactions is seeing a garment made from start to finish. It’s a great achievement and there are details only someone in the industry would notice. I love the challenge of working on The Wax Twin Track, which has more than 40 pieces.”

THE WAX TWIN TRACK

HAZEL TAYLOR, CUTTING ROOM SUPERVISOR

With customers from China to the United States, Private White V.C. garments are fashioned in Manchester, by the world, for the world. In doing so they echo the city’s history for making things and its ability to attract and assimilate people. In a celebration of Mancunian spirit, the poet Tony Walsh, in a poignant piece following the terror attack in Manchester in 2017, perfectly encapsulates the city, its attractions, ideals and aspirations: “Some are born here, some drawn here, but we all call it home.”

THE WAX TWIN TRACK

THE MAKERS COLLECTION

Related Articles

×
×