Fabric manufacturer: Ian Mankin
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