For more than 30 years Walker Slater has been stalwart fan and purveyor of all things tweed. With their very own unique tailoring across a richness of tweed fabrics in an array of weights and colourways, their mindset is one of a contemporary vision whilst embracing the fabric’s classic representation.
As tweed enters a new dawn, we sat down with owner Paul Walker to talk about his passion for tweed as a true specialist and the capabilities and versatility that it holds for wearers, as well as challenging the aged perception that tweed is just for the gentry.
Can you describe the importance of the tweed fabric as a key part of the Walker Slater brand?
The tweed fabric is central to our collections and the brand is built around the various tweeds we develop and work with. Our mission is to champion the heritage and sustainability of tweed and woolen fabrics through contemporary and elegant clothing. There’s a real respect for the way tweed feels and behaves and we admire the beauty that comes through the various weaves and patterns.
Tweed was the original performance fabric, being water repellant, thorn proof if required, breathable and hard wearing. For me, it is all about the mottled complex colours and beautiful patterns that can be woven with this wonderful natural fibre. I refer to it as colour and texture, which very much mirrors those same things from the terrain of the Scottish highlands.
Can you briefly talk about its versatility in terms of wearability and adaptability for different scenarios?
I would describe tweed as a friendly fabric to wear. It’s smart when it needs to be and takes on a tailored shape and silhouette very well. What we’ve found is due to the fabric itself, an item like a jacket can be worn with different pieces and put together for different looks. A tweed jacket can look amazing worn with matching trousers and waistcoats and also its cool to just pair it with a nice pair of denim jeans and a T-shirt. You can even up-layer in colder weather and add a shirt and chunky knit underneath.
Due to the depth of colour and texture you find with most tweeds, we find that it can be combined with lots of different colour shirting combinations that will go with the jacket or colours of various knitwear. So one jacket can effectively be used to build a wardrobe of looks for different occasions.
Would you describe Walker Slater as specialists and how many different variations of tweed do you work with and from where?
We do hope we can deliver a great tweed experience for our clients. We endeavour to showcase a comprehensive range of colours and weights of tweeds from the heavier, like Harris Tweed to midweights from mills around the Scottish borders. We also use tweeds from Ireland and England and also Italy.
Patterns of tweed are important and we offer Herringbones, Donegals, Puppytooths, Prince of Wales checks and a myriad of windowpanes.
In terms of colours and patterns in the fabric you are bold and unique. Why is that?
Tweed in its essence is all about texture and weaves. This is where its beauty and strength lies and we like to celebrate that. We do have an understated look to our collections as we feel the subtlety that can be derived from the weave and colours is something we are good at. We also like to delve into more dynamic colours and patterns, which at times we will design in collaboration with a mill, this allows us to experiment and push the envelope and keep a freshness and modernness to our brand.
Your shapes and pattern cutting/tailoring around tweed garments is unique to Walker Slater too, can you explain?
The fit and tailoring is just as important as the tweed fabric. We are very much about showcasing how tweed is relevant and contemporary. Our tailoring starts with a high cut armhole so we can start building shape into the middle of the jacket. The silhouette is fitted and elegant and we design all our garments in house and continue to refine them. For our part we want to move tweed into an arena that’s accessible to everyone. For people to enjoy the fabric, as well as knowing they will be able to get a lot of wear out of it for all sorts of occasions
What are the stand-out tweed pieces for you within the Walker Slater business and why?
The Edward jacket in the various tweeds we offer… great piece to wear, smart or dressed down and an be worn with its matching trouser, which most Edward jackets come with and are sold individually. The Edward is elegant and classic and there’s a colour for nearly everyone.
The Nathan coat is also a great staple piece. It’s easy to wear and will never go out of fashion. The detailing is simple and the silhouette is flattering with the above-knee length making it a go-to for most scenarios.
To shop the latest from Walker Slater, you can visit their store here.