John Smedley received a Royal Warrant in 2013 for providing the ‘place and quality of manufacturer of fine knitwear.’ The brand has been popular with the Royal family for many years – with HRH Queen Elizabeth II visiting the factory twice. Once in 1968, where she received gifts of Pullovers for Prince Andrew and Prince Edward and once in 2014 where she received a collection of Polo Shirts and Sweaters for Prince George.
A royal warrant is a mark of recognition for companies who have supplied the Royal households with goods for the last 5 years and currently have an ongoing trade arrangement.
The royal warrant itself is the document that gives the company permission and responsibility for the display of the relevant Royal Arms that is related to the business. All Royal warrant holders proudly hold mutual traits of the highest standards of service, quality and excellence.
We all know the quality of the merino wool is second to none. This means selecting the very best farmers in New Zealand to supply our extra fine wool. The wool must adhere to strict specifications not only to the quality of the fleece but also the welfare of the sheep, sustainability and protection of the farm land. For the quality of the finished garment the most important specification is the fibre fineness and length. Each fine Merino strand must be between 18-19 microns in diameter. Each smooth strand of merino ensures it’s soft to the touch and makes a finished garment perfect to wear next to the skin. John Smedley mostly uses extra fine Merino fibres. They are so fine and light it is an ideal fibre for year round wear. Even when air is cold or damp, a molecular process called ‘heat of sorption’ releases heat, which can be felt by the garment wearer. All fibres do this, but extra fine Merino does it four times as much as nylon and at least double this for polyester. Synthetic fibres don’t have this ability, which is why they are not as comfortable.
'DID YOU KNOW IT CAN TAKE UP TO A YEAR TO CREATE YOUR JOHN SMEDLEY SWEATER FROM RAW MATERIAL TO FINISHED GARMENT?'
To create the highly popular charcoal grey the head colourist would take 5 strands of black, 4 strands of ecru and 1 strand of navy which he would then hand blend by repeatedly pulling the Merino stands until they were eventually mixed into grey. The colourist would take note of the percentages of the shades used to ensure one would be able to replicate the final colour exactly. Each shade used to create the blend would be weighed on scales and then sent to be spun on a sample machine in the factory where it would create 100 grams of yarn that could be knitted to create a small sample for the design team to approve.
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