Based in a 200-year-old converted barn in the conservation village of Clapham in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Glencroft Countrywear produces traditional, luxury clothing made from natural fibres. We talked to Edward Sexton, Partner, to find out why British wool is an essential ingredient in their products.
Glencroft was established in 1987 by my parents Richard and Justina Sexton. My father had worked in the wool industry since the 1960’s. Starting out as a wool merchant and then moving into clothing manufacturing. He always dreamed of launching a brand making traditional British clothing using British materials and British manufacturers, and so Glencroft was born!
The ‘Glen’ in our name reflected the fact we originally used solely Scottish knitwear manufacturers, as well as many Scottish materials and patterns. And to this day we supply many shops across the Highlands and Islands. The ‘croft’ is our rural home in the Yorkshire Dales. We’re based in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales surrounded by sheep farms.
We’re committed to producing responsibly sourced natural products, and our 100% British wool chunky 5-gauge jumpers are still made locally.
Our styles are traditional and produced to the highest possible standards. We tend to introduce new designs on 4 to 5 year cycles rather than season by season. Our customers appreciate traditional styles that don’t go out of fashion. That are hard wearing, high quality and built to last.
We have even re-launched a retro sheep design jumper we first made in the 1980s, which has been hugely popular.
I still think it’s amazing that we can make clothing from a natural material that has been grown in the fields of Britain. It’s a local resource that’s been around for hundreds of years and it doesn’t have to be adapted to have amazing natural properties.
The great thing about wool is that it lasts for years and keeps its shape. I’ve purchased some of our old Glencroft jumpers sold as ‘vintage’ pieces on eBay. They can be over 30 years old and they have kept their shape and look like new. It’s an amazingly resilient fibre.
And despite perceptions, wool is easy to care for. We get asked about jumper care all the time. While we have to advise customers to be careful to avoid heat and high spin when washing, you can’t go too far wrong from there. Many people are surprised to find that you don’t have to wash a wool jumper very often. it really can be worn many more times than man-made fibres, before they need to wash.
Wool naturally helps to regulate body temperature. My friends will tell you I’m like a broken record with this fact. But as a wearer of wool jumpers I can honestly say that in changeable conditions, they regulate heat far better than man-made fibres. In cold weather it keeps you warmer, and in warmer weather a wool jumper really can breathe.
It’s a material British jumper manufacturers have used for centuries. Whether that’s on an industrial scale, or in front of the fire with knitting needles. It’s also local to us so creates the full story.
A British made jumper from British sheep, which is what we are all about. It’s like the dry stone walls in the fields around us, they are made from limestone as its local and does the job well. British wool is the same.