London Fashion – spotlight on British fabrics

Milan, Paris and New York may have a different opinion, but for many designers and fashionista’s, London is the fashion capital of the world.

It is so important as a source of design inspiration and fashion retail, that it would be impossible to sum it up in one article.  So, let’s focus first on the glorious array of British fabrics that London has either created or lifted to iconic status.

This immense significance in the use of materials, is closely tied to British heritage.  We are not just talking about Mary Quant or Vivienne Westwood . London’s status in the fashion world is stitched together with its glory days of fabric manufacture. At one time, the nation’s cotton mills supplied the world, and cradled the birth of the Industrial Revolution.


The fertile lands to the North of Britain support vast sheep farming enterprises, one of the reasons that Yorkshire Wool is used as the basis for many glorious fabrics, including many iconic pinstriped suits.  Wool is also the basis of the famous Prince of Wales check. It has been used to create some of the fashion designs that epitomise haute couture today.


For some lovers of fine tailoring, there is nothing to compare with the feel and aesthetic appeal of Tweed. This closely woven woollen fabric can withstand many years of wear.  Usually produced in either a twill or herringbone pattern, it’s water resistance has made it popular for outerwear.


A far more luxurious British fabric, soft woollen cashmere is woven from goat’s hair and has been a feature of the fashion trade since the early 1800s. Far more insulating than sheep wool and beautifully tactile, cashmere is favoured for knitwear and high-end suits.

Gabardine and Corduroy

Both British fabrics have earned their place in history and modern fashion design, with their durability and quality.

Gabardine was invented in the 1870s by Thomas Burberry. If the name is familiar it’s because the fashion label he founded is now known worldwide.  Gabardine is worsted wool fibres that are woven together. Corduroy undergoes a similar process but uses twisted cotton or wool fibres to create its distinctive tufted effect. Highly warm and weather-resistant, corduroy is favoured for trousers and coats.

London for suits and fashion firsts

If you want a bespoke suit crafted by the master tailors there is only one Savile Row.  Many people travel thousands of miles to enjoy the fabrics and skills that only London provides. Many fashion-conscious men and women also come to London for inspiration and samples of the next season’s fabric designs.

If you want to be equally discerning in your choice of accommodation while in London, Merino serviced apartments have you covered. You may even spot some of the fabrics featured here, in our individually created, stunning interiors.

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