John Foster weaving quality fabrics
John Foster is, historically and culturally, much more significant than just being the story of a company renowned for weaving quality worsted and worsted/mohair fabrics for almost 200 years. It is the story of a textile entrepreneur and his family business that built an entire community around its famous Black Dyke Mills in Queensbury, near Bradford. The company built houses, the village hall and leisure facilities to ensure the well-being of its highly skilled workforce. Always an innovator, John Foster took first prize for alpaca and mohair fabrics and the gold medal for yarns at the Great Exhibition in 1851.
Though no longer based at Black Dyke Mills, the cultural legacy is continued to this day through the world famous Black Dyke Band which John Foster himself, a talented French horn player, was a member of from 1855 – even dressing the band in uniforms made from the company’s own fine worsted fabrics.
The sense of artistry, quality and true sense of belonging to the area continues today with the dedication to producing some of the finest fabrics in the world from Stanley Mills, our state-of-theart weaving and cloth production facility in Bradford, England.
Every landscape bestows its own special characteristics on the people and the products that come from it. This is what the French winemakers call ‘terroir’. So it is not by accident that some of the world’s finest craftsmen in weaving and cloth manufacturing are still based in Yorkshire. This concept of terroir could equally be applied to the area surrounding Bradford, that has been the home to John Foster for nearly 200 years. The rugged, hilly landscape is perfect for raising sheep and the water that flows through the millstone grit of the Yorkshire Dales is the softest in the country and a vital part of the finishing of the fine fabric.
Generation after generation of craftsmen who have been born and raised in this area , have honed the traditional weaving skills, learned in the time of John Foster himself, many of which are still used to this day.
These skills have been further developed by the introduction of new yarns and the latest weaving techniques, added to the innovative finishing skills developed by our strategic partner WT Johnson, world leader in the finishing of worsted and mohair fabrics, to create high performance and luxurious fabrics to satisfy the varied demands of today’s consumers.
The story continues with annual collections, which are based on heritage and tradition, interwoven with the latest trends and ideas. They design and produce two collections each year, for Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer.
The process begins with the creative team working with the major trend organisations to help select the fibres, colourways and finishes that are in tune with the world’s leading fashion brands, design houses and world famous tailors. There is however, no substitute for instinct and experience – we understand what our customers want, in order to satisfy their own customers in terms of colour, design, weaves, handle and drape that are paramount in the selection of our final collection.
Photos and information:
John Foster has six supported ranges consisting of Super 120’s worsted and cashmere, Super 150’s worsted, Super 200’s worsted and cashmere, summer kid mohair and Super 120’s worsted, black formal wear, and the Escorial collection.
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