As we toured the factory, it was difficult for the pandemic not to come up in conversation. The firm adapted quickly to its changed circumstances. One of its USPs, Eden told us, is the factory’s ability to manufacture a variety of garments and source locally. “The root of our business for many, many years has been a private label factory,” he said. “Since wartime we’ve made for the Allied Forces, the Met police and some of the most venerable fashion houses and tailors of Savile Row. We’ve lent our hand to everything, and 90 per cent of what we create is still made in-house.” This versatility allowed them to reconfigure, convert their factory at the height of the lockdown, and offer their services to the Department of Health and Social Care. With almost a flick of a switch, Private White V.C. became the largest manufacturer of medical-grade gowns and surgical masks in the country, and they are still producing them.
Their luxury commercial output also remains sought after despite a challenging 12 months, especially their outerwear. There are few brands that can claim to have one iconic garment in their range, let alone five. Yet Private White V.C. is not just any brand. As well as the classic Ventile® Mac and Harrington, and the Peacoat and the Moleskin Bomber, the label’s outerwear highlight is the Twin Track. Easily recognised by its centre-front zip-out placket, the latest iteration uses a 6oz waxed cotton developed with Halley Stevensons, a fabric manufacturer based in Dundee.
Private White V.C. have an archive room that contains hundreds of individual styles and models dating back to the early 1900s, all of which are guarded by the office bulldog, Brutus. These pieces not only influence the creative team’s decisions for future collections, they form an archive worthy of any museum.