It started with a pair of scissors.

About five years ago Ben was struggling with his fabric scissors in the studio, he was using a mid range tailors shear, prone to getting blunt, a little temperamental and not very handsome to look at. He started looking for a better choice and quickly found Ernest Wright, a famous scissor maker in Sheffield. They produce the best scissors in the world, not the cheapest, but worth every single penny. Ben put an order in for their 13" classic tailor shears, ten weeks later they arrived, resplendent in their leather sheath, the most beautiful shears you have ever seen, they are as sharp and pristine now as they were then, cutting right to the tip. If you own a Pajotten garment then no doubt it was cut using them.

Ernest Wright was founded in 1902, although the Wright family had a history in scissor making that goes back to the previous century. They are world renowned, producing scissors perfect for every aspect of daily life. like all companies times have sometimes been difficult, but under the new ownership of Paul Jacobs the company is now flourishing again. He oversees a small, dedicated team of skilled craftsmen who produce the scissors by hand in their incredible Sheffield workshop.

Natalie, part of the Ernest Wright team discovered Pajotten at the same time we discovered them, and she kindly bought an apron, she has been wearing it ever since at work, and it was through that connection that a collaboration was born. Last autumn we had a zoom meeting with Paul Jacobs who asked if we would be interested in making the uniforms for the Ernest Wright team, two companies with hand craftsmanship and British manufacture at their core coming together to do a collaboration around workwear, it was the perfect match.

We scheduled the project for the beginning of 2024 and it was a cold day in January when we drove up to meet the team at their headquarters. We took cloth samples, a rail of clothes, tape measures and notepads and spent a wonderful three hours talking to each member of the team about what was important and useful to them about their working clothes, we discussed pockets, their use, and their placement, for instance a small pocket on a trouser leg perfect for holding torches (to see into the mechanics of the machines), jigger buttons to hold coats back from furiously spinning wet stones, and special tightly buttoned cuffs to make sure clothes weren't pulled into equipment, we also learnt a lot about the importance of fabrication; the clothes were going to be put under a lot of stress and strain so we introduced two new cloths into the range specifically because of their strength and durability. It was an incredibly informative and enjoyable morning, made even better by the friendliness of the team who supplied lots of tea and talked to us about their company and products with real pride.  

We produced nine garments in total for Ernest Wright, three pairs of trousers - all very different to suit the requirements of the wearer, a pair of overalls, four coats and one jacket, each with subtle differences and changes in cloth, all made in British navy cotton. The project took five weeks to complete, fitted alongside the usual Pajotten workload. The coats they chose were a revelation to me, when we started Pajotten Ben insisted that we make a mens workshop coat,3/4 length with a slit up the back and with big double pockets, he wears his one all of the time and I have always disliked it, we did try and sell them once, we only sold one.

When we went up to see the Ernest Wright team Ben insisted on taking it with us, I disparagingly agreed, they ordered four, (with slight detailing changes) it was by far the most popular garment, perfect for working in, and the final versions look great, yet again I stand corrected! 

The collaboration was a great reminder to us that at its core Pajotten is a brand that makes clothes that people can and want to work in, long lasting with details that make a practical difference to how the garment is worn and used, rather than just for decorations sake. It gave us a much needed push to revisit this aspect of what we do, and to redesign and introduce new pieces to our Utility Range, so many of you are makers and craftspeople, designers and artists and we are keen to produce clothes that work for you. 

If you would like to know more about Ernest Wright please visit their website: 

https://www.ernestwright.co.uk

or take a look at their instagram feed: @ernestwrightltd

  

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