Q&A with Abbotsford’s Julian Smith

Following on from Abbotsford’s new fabric collection launch, Design Insider had the chance to speak with Sales Director, Julian Smith, about what Abbotsford have been up to, the inspiration behind their new collection and how they work with designers on their bespoke projects. You can view their latest collection here, and keep an eye out for an exciting project from Abbotsford over the next few weeks.

[Find Abbotsford on BCFA Product Finder]

Can you introduce us to Abbotsford and your role within the company?

Abbotsford Textiles is a Woollen Mill based in Yorkshire, the heart of the British Textile industry. We are part of a family-owned group of companies who specialise mainly in the production of Woollen and woven products.

My role withing the company is Sales Director; I continuously focus on looking for new business, while also developing and cultivating relationships with existing customers.

Has Abbotsford always manufactured in the UK? Can you tell us a bit about the manufacturing process?

Parts of our group have been manufacturing cloth in Yorkshire for over 250 years.

The process starts by sourcing the finest fibres from across the world. Once this is done, we use various mills within our group to undertake the following processes: Warping, Weaving, Dyeing, and finishing the cloth.

We are extremely lucky to have access to some fantastic mills, all very local to ourselves. This helps us respond quickly to the market and our customers, alongside cutting down on transportation.

How do you ensure sustainability throughout production?

We are constantly looking at the various parts of the manufacturing process to see how we can become more sustainable. We are ISO 14001 accredited which means we are audited regularly on our Environmental Management.

We are currently looking at the prospects of using more recycled, raw materials to further develop our sustainable credentials.

What was the inspiration behind the Herringbone and Melton collections?

A Melton cloth should be a staple of any Woollen Mill. We wanted to launch a new collection which performed brilliantly for contract use, with the introduction of a fresh new colour palette at a very competitive price.

The Plain & Herringbone are a high-quality polyester fabric, they were designed to have the appearance of wool, yet boast a sophisticated and expensive look. They are inherently crib 5 and have an incredibly high rub test making them exceptionally hard wearing.

How do you work with designers on their bespoke projects?

It begins with the customer’s vision. Once we understand their individual requirements; their product needs, performance criteria and their budget, we then speak to our in-house designers and brief who we feel is better suited to each individual project.

We are fortunate to have access to various mills, dyers, and finishers across our group, all of whom have their own expertise. From initial CAD work, sample blankets, through to the finished cloth we work closely with the end user at all points of the process to ensure we meet their requirements.

What’s next for Abbotsford?

We are looking forward to continuing the growth we have experienced in the last couple of years.

We are looking to expand and introduce new colour options into our already extensive Melton collection. Alongside this, we are also looking to add a new fabric to compliment the Plain and Herringbone fabric ranges.

We are excited to share that we are currently developing a 100% British Wool Collection. More details on this range will be released in due course. Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to learn about our new fabric range, or follow us on our social platforms; Linkedin, Instagram and Facebook.

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About Phoebe Train

Phoebe is a Marketing and Events Executive, who joined the BCFA as an English graduate in 2021. Working closely with designers and BCFA members, Phoebe has published an array of content for Design Insider.
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