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The Seal Of Approval

Words by James Eden

“Techno retro” was how my co-founder of Private White V.C, Nick Ashley, once described our garments. It is an attitude exemplified in how we handle Ventile®, the waterproof cotton fabric used for our raincoat, Harrington and Windbreaker jackets.

Ventile® is an amazing waterproof fabric, but, previously, the seams were weak spots where water could enter. To avoid this, garments were made using an offset seam, by which I mean the outside seam is not aligned with that of the layer below, so, should water penetrate the first, the second seam is not directly opposite and so you remain dry. These two layers did make the garment heavy and cumbersome.

An example of an ‘offset seam’ taken from an Archive Ellis Brigham mountaineering parka made from Ventile® in our factory in 1982

AN EXAMPLE OF AN 'OFFSET SEAM' TAKEN FROM AN ARCHIVE ELLIS BRIGHAM MOUNTAINEERING PARKA MADE FROM VENTILE® IN OUR FACTORY IN 1982

“For a number of years I worked with Gore-Tex, so have developed great expertise with waterproof clothing. We’ve been able to apply those skills to Ventile®, and develop a brand new technology to tape seal the seams.”

MIKE STOLL, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF PRIVATE WHITE V.C.

Words by James Eden

“Techno retro” was how my co-founder of Private White V.C, Nick Ashley, once described our garments. It is an attitude exemplified in how we handle Ventile®, the waterproof cotton fabric used for our raincoat, Harrington and Windbreaker jackets.

Ventile® is an amazing waterproof fabric, but, previously, the seams were weak spots where water could enter. To avoid this, garments were made using an offset seam, by which I mean the outside seam is not aligned with that of the layer below, so, should water penetrate the first, the second seam is not directly opposite and so you remain dry. These two layers did make the garment heavy and cumbersome.

AN EXAMPLE OF AN 'OFFSET SEAM' TAKEN FROM AN ARCHIVE ELLIS BRIGHAM MOUNTAINEERING PARKA MADE FROM VENTILE® IN OUR FACTORY IN 1982

For a number of years I worked with Gore-Tex, so have developed great expertise with waterproof clothing. We’ve been able to apply those skills to Ventile®, and develop a brand new technology to tape seal the seams.”

MIKE STOLL, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF PRIVATE WHITE V.C.

It was Mike Stoll, our MD here and a long-time mentor and friend, who devised a solution. As he himself acknowledges: “I’m a bit of a mad professor in some ways and in our Manchester factory I’ve always been able to experiment.” Mike drew on all of his four decades of experience in the garment trade: “For a number of years I worked with Gore-Tex, so have developed great expertise with waterproof clothing. We’ve been able to apply those skills to Ventile®, and develop a brand new technology to tape seal the seams.”

SEAM SEALING MACHINE IN ACTION ON THE FACTORY FLOOR

THE ART OF WATER REPELLENCY: VENTILE® THROUGH A MICROSCOPE LENS

By applying a solution only previously found on synthetic materials to the 100 per cent cotton of Ventile®, we can create a single layer that is waterproof – a base layer of Ventile® that is flexible, light and comfortable. When used in our classic zip front raincoat, for instance, it makes a garment that is light and versatile enough to be worn over a suit in town or with a thick knit or gilet in the country. Should the coat swing open you might occasionally glimpse the taped seams, which use our signature copper colour.

THE VENTILE® MAC IN MIDNIGHT NAVY

“In pioneering the taping of Ventile®, we’ve drawn on the spirit of innovation that has always been part of the fabric of Manchester.”

JAMES EDEN, CEO AND FOUNDER OF PRIVATE WHITE V.C.

In pioneering the taping of Ventile®, we’ve drawn on the spirit of innovation that has always been part of the fabric of Manchester. The technological leaps made during the 19th century revolutionised cloth production, while Ventile® itself was originally devised near our factory to protect pilots from the elements during World War II. In the 21st century, Manchester University has developed graphene, one of the materials of the future.

For us, this culture of invention is fostered through the breadth and depth of knowledge we have of this industry and our proximity to our production chain. At Private White V.C., we design and make each of our coats in our own factory in Manchester, allowing us to adapt and evolve pieces as we work. Our close relationships with suppliers mean we can easily consult and collaborate with them on new ideas.

For me, progress does not have to rely on a single eureka moment. It can be cumulative, with apparently simple changes accruing significant gains. With the taped seams we have devised for use with Ventile®, we have completely altered how this fabric can be used. However, all you will be aware of is how your raincoat or Harrington feels. As with the best innovation what we have done goes unnoticed - it is seamless.

It was Mike Stoll, our MD here and a long-time mentor and friend, who devised a solution. As he himself acknowledges: “I’m a bit of a mad professor in some ways and in our Manchester factory I’ve always been able to experiment.” Mike drew on all of his four decades of experience in the garment trade: “For a number of years I worked with Gore-Tex, so have developed great expertise with waterproof clothing. We’ve been able to apply those skills to Ventile®, and develop a brand new technology to tape seal the seams.”

SEAM SEALING MACHINE IN ACTION ON THE FACTORY FLOOR

THE ART OF WATER REPELLENCY: VENTILE® THROUGH A MICROSCOPE LENS

By applying a solution only previously found on synthetic materials to the 100 per cent cotton of Ventile®, we can create a single layer that is waterproof – a base layer of Ventile® that is flexible, light and comfortable. When used in our classic zip front raincoat, for instance, it makes a garment that is light and versatile enough to be worn over a suit in town or with a thick knit or gilet in the country. Should the coat swing open you might occasionally glimpse the taped seams, which use our signature copper colour.

THE VENTILE® MAC IN MIDNIGHT NAVY

“In pioneering the taping of Ventile®, we’ve drawn on the spirit of innovation that has always been part of the fabric of Manchester.”

JAMES EDEN, CEO AND FOUNDER OF PRIVATE WHITE V.C.

In pioneering the taping of Ventile®, we’ve drawn on the spirit of innovation that has always been part of the fabric of Manchester. The technological leaps made during the 19th century revolutionised cloth production, while Ventile® itself was originally devised near our factory to protect pilots from the elements during World War II. In the 21st century, Manchester University has developed graphene, one of the materials of the future.

For us, this culture of invention is fostered through the breadth and depth of knowledge we have of this industry and our proximity to our production chain. At Private White V.C., we design and make each of our coats in our own factory in Manchester, allowing us to adapt and evolve pieces as we work. Our close relationships with suppliers mean we can easily consult and collaborate with them on new ideas.

For me, progress does not have to rely on a single eureka moment. It can be cumulative, with apparently simple changes accruing significant gains. With the taped seams we have devised for use with Ventile®, we have completely altered how this fabric can be used. However, all you will be aware of is how your raincoat or Harrington feels. As with the best innovation what we have done goes unnoticed - it is seamless.

THE VENTILE® COLLECTION

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