His­toric ties back as shop takes silk again

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - RHI­AN­NON MCDOWALL

THE his­toric con­nec­tion be­tween the towns silk mills and high streets shops has been re­vived thanks to a new part­ner­ship.

RA Smart, a silk weavers and prin­ters based in Bolling­ton, has teamed-up with John Dou­glas menswear store in the Grosvenor Cen­tre, Ch­ester­gate, to cre­ate and sell silk ties and scarves.

Silk pro­duc­tion in Macclesfield dates back to the 1600s but it is the first time in many decades that a high street store has sold silk ex­clu­sively de­signed and wo­ven in the town.

John Dou­glas, based in the Grosvenor Cen­tre, teamed up with Smart’s for new her­itage range of hand-fin­ished silk ties, based on vin­tage pat­terns, along with hand­ker­chiefs and scarves.

David John­son, who owns John Dou­glas with his brother Richard, said: “The his­tory of Macclesfield was built on silk and over the years I have watched the demise of the avail­abil­ity of Macclesfield prod­ucts.

“There is a huge resur­gence at the mo­ment in the strong her­itage English brands, peo­ple are ac­knowl­edg­ing and ap­pre­ci­at­ing their his­tory more than ever.

“It’s that great old story of what goes around, comes around, but each time with a bit of a dif­fer­ent twist on it.

“That’s what I’ve done here to the ties. We’ve taken the clas­sic Macclesfield de­signs but made them a bit more cur­rent and fresh­ened them up.”

R A Smart, based at Clough Bank in Bolling­ton, is just one of two silk mills still in op­er­a­tion in Macclesfield bor­ough, sup­ply­ing silk and fin­ished silk prod­ucts to Ja­pan, USA, Korea and all over Europe.

Founder Ron Smart said: “(The new range) are based on tra­di­tional prints that we found in our ar­chives and some from Macclesfield Mu­seum so they are made with Macclesfield silk, to Macclesfield de­signs, in Macclesfield and that is im­por­tant as this is the silk town.

“David has added his own de­tails – such as bright tip­pings and other de­tails - that bring them bang up to date.”

Ed Kennedy, Grosvenor Shop­ping Cen­tre manager, added: “Be­ing able to buy lo­cally made silk ties and menswear ac­ces­sories here at the Grosvenor Cen­tre in John Dou­glas - which is a land­mark build­ing in the town - means vis­i­tors will be able to take a their own piece of Macclesfield his­tory home with them.

“David and Ron are to be con­grat­u­lated on their busi­ness skills in spot­ting this gap in the mar­ket.”

●● David John­son of menswear store John Dou­glas with Ron Smart, whose com­pany is mak­ing silk ties from Macclesfield silk

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