Fabric man­u­fac­turer: Ian Mankin

Country Life Every Week - - Interior Design Made In Britain -

When you think tick­ing, you think Ian Mankin and the trove of striped linens and cot­tons in an in­stantly recog­nis­able pal­ette stacked on the shelves of its Wandsworth Bridge Road, SW6, shop. To­day, it’s com­mon prac­tice to have cur­tains, blinds, so­fas and chairs made of it, but rewind the clock 30 years, and tick­ing served one pur­pose: cov­er­ing mat­tresses. When big bou­quet prints in glaze chintz ruled in just about ev­ery room, Ian Mankin stepped for­ward and, at a stroke, in­tro­duced us to ‘util­ity chic’; muslins once used to fil­ter dairy prod­ucts and cloths in­tended for ri­fle clean­ing be­came fur­nish­ing fab­rics of choice for time­less in­te­ri­ors.

hav­ing ini­tially sourced fab­rics from In­dia, the com­pany be­came an early su­porter of the Made in Bri­tain cam­paign, turn­ing to the fam­ily-run Lan­cashire mill John Spencer Tex­tiles to de­sign and jointly pro­duce the collection. ‘Ian was the first cus­tomer that I took on when I joined,’ ex­plains David Collinge ( pic­tured), whose great­great-great-grand­fa­ther founded the mill in the 1860s. ‘Over the years, he be­came quite a men­tor to me and I learned a lot about the im­por­tance of colour and ori­en­ta­tion when it comes to stripes. On Ian’s re­tire­ment in 2007, it was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion that we should take over the busi­ness.’

From that point on, John Spencer Tex­tiles re­moved the last of the im­ported lines from the collection, en­sur­ing that ev­ery piece is now pro­duced in Bri­tain. This year’s de­signs in­tro­duced wool for the first time ‘and we’ve just started to use some Bri­tish-spun cot­ton—the first time in 20 years that any­one has spun cot­ton in the UK,’ says David. The key is to have con­sis­tency of den­sity. ‘From a fabric point of view, we like peo­ple to see that ours has been well con­structed. A lady who makes cur­tains once re­marked that our fab­rics are “ter­ri­bly well be­haved”. That’s what we are as a busi­ness: tra­di­tional, clas­si­cal and well be­haved.’ (020–7722 0997; www.ian­mankin.co.uk) Ara­bella Youens

Pho­to­graph by Richard Can­non

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