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11th January 2013, Lea Mills

John Smedley receives Royal Warrant for fine knitwear


Leading top quality British fine gauge knitwear producer John Smedley Ltd has received the Royal Warrant of Appointment from Her Majesty The Queen as a ‘Manufacturer of Fine Knitwear’. The Derbyshire, England based knitwear manufacturer has been making knitwear for over 200 years in Lea Mills  and enjoys a unique position in the world of knitwear for its extra fine merino wool and Sea Island cotton men’s and women’s knitwear.

Mr Ian Maclean, Managing Director of John Smedley commented on the appointment on the company’s blog :

“It is with great pleasure and excitement I can announce today that John Smedley has received the first Royal Warrant in our 229 year history.

Her Majesty The Queen, through her household, has been purchasing fine knitwear directly from us for several years.  The Royal Warrant of Appointment is granted by Her Majesty and as such is a very public acknowledgement of the excellence of our garments.

John Smedley has a proud history of manufacturing the finest Merino wool and Sea Island cotton garments, both underwear and outerwear, in Great Britain.  Interestingly, the Royal Warrant document states specifically that we have been “appointed into the place and quality of Manufacturer of Fine Knitwear”.  I emphasise the word quality as I know that every one of our 390 employees has quality as a topmost priority and takes pride in every garment that passes through their hands. Indeed, quality is one of our core brand values because John Smedley, our founder, made it the distinguishing feature of the yarns and garments he produced.

Many of my colleagues have contributed to the application for The Royal Warrant and I must thank them all. At the same time, we recognise that a condition of application is the need for our company to address the many and complex issues of sustainability – not just the sustainability of the resources we use in production, but the sustainability of our very organisation. We will address these issues as we go forward.”

In 1784, just 13 years after Richard Arkwright developed the first water-powered spinning mill, Peter Nightingale and his associate John Smedley established John Smedley as an enterprise at the original mill in Lea Mills in Derbyshire.

Today John Smedley still manufactures its top quality fine gauge knitwear in Lea Mills. In recent years the company has invested heavily in the latest flat knitting technology from Japanese machine manufacturer Shima Seiki and now operates a plant of 15 and 18 gauge fully fashioned and Wholegarment machines.

In 2011 the company launched a Capsule Collection of statement pieces, which challenged traditional design through the use of Wholegarment machines. Each garment is “sculpted to mould to the body, producing an uncompromising fit with seamless perfection”.


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