Scantily glad

It’s a trend which can no longer be ignored. There’s a span of several days every year — and of which today is right in the middle — when it becomes so unbearably hot in the capital and much of the rest of the country that thinking about wearing clothes (let alone developing them and making them) is almost, well, unthinkable — and especially clothes made with materials woven in the British Isles, and assembled with a devout emphasis on being durable, rather than, say, light and breezy.

This is happening right now. Happened last year, too. And fortunately, last year, the penny, so to speak, dropped. Survey the streets near the workshop in mid-August, see, and you don’t see many people all dressed up in linen burlap from Northern Ireland, or union hopsack from Lancashire, nor even high-count sail-cloth from Scotland. Rather, they wear not very much — closer to vests and underpants, even, than any of the aforementioned. The challenge was clear: greet the heat this time next year by developing things that make the “wear not much” trend interesting and fulfilling for all concerned.

This line of thinking — a difficult line to get into at first, admittedly, being as everyone knows designing multi-pocketed outerwear is the best fun of all — led to the smock, with its unadorned neck, deep expanding vents at the sides and sleeves, and resolutely relaxed body. And then the popover, too, in silk-linen, which squeezed itself into production just before the start of lockdown and, with its one-piece collar and pleated front, turned tricks never before seen at the workshop, but which are apparently popular on the continent.

Like fixing the roof, then, before the sun starts shining. And but so here we are, as stated, mid-August, and the smocks are long gone; the popovers dwindling. Wearing not much, by the looks of it, has never been so popular. Between now and the inevitable heatwave of exactly this time next year, then, there will be further developments in very much the same vein. The future is only twelve months away and it might even have short sleeves.