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15th February 2021

As seen in “The Week” – A Little Luxury

From The Week

From cashmere stoles to herb-based body oils, lighten the mood with these lovingly-crafted products

ALEXANDRA ZAGALSKY

Little luxuries go a long way towards lifting the spirits. Charles M Schulz, author of the Peanuts comics, had a better way of putting it. “All you need is love but a little chocolate never hurt anybody,” he once declared. Gentle on the surface, his words carry a deeper meaning especially in these difficult times as we find ourselves deprived of the pleasures we once took for granted, from holidays abroad to dinners out, although thankfully we still have chocolate.

The message really is that luxury “non-essentials” can really help to improve life satisfaction – and Schulz’s Snoopy, who had a penchant for root beer and open air type-writing, would surely agree that when the going gets tough, we need to follow familiar routes of reassurance.

With this in mind, The Week spoke to three British companies that specialise in exquisitely made luxuries that promise to have positive and comforting effect on your time in lockdown and beyond. No root beer but plenty of ideas to keep you snug, well-rested and self-confident.

A purveyor of prestige cloth since 1767, Joshua Ellis uses age-old techniques to spin precious yarns such as cashmere, vicuña and escorial wool into the softest modern designs including scarves, stoles and fringed throws. Employing around 60 members of staff, the company remains a family-owned business and items are still woven in its Yorkshire mill. The brand has just released its very first collection of knitted accessories: a plush range of cashmere beanies, scarves, gloves and socks. The ribbed knit beanie and scarf above also come in pink, sapphire blue, navy and cinnamon brown. The Week spoke to Oliver Platts, managing director of the heritage company, about some of the challenges and positive surprises he’s encountered since the pandemic hit.

How important is it to you that Joshua Ellis produces in the UK?

Manufacturing in the UK is not only one of our key selling points for our customers but it is part of the DNA of Joshua Ellis. For over 250 years we have only ever manufactured in this part of Yorkshire and many of our current team are now third, fourth or fifth generation within the company. We are incredibly proud to say that we are still making fabrics, scarves and blankets here in the UK that are being sold in the finest stores around the world and we are delighted that the reputation for quality that comes with the ‘Made in UK’ label remains very strong. Long may that continue.

How is business and are there any new or recent launches that you’re excited about?

We are really fortunate to have a strong following in Japan and the Far East where our iconic cashmere stole is highly sought after; sales this year have been very strong. We have recently launched a capsule collection of 100% cashmere knitted accessories such as beanies, gloves and socks which are all made in the UK and initial signs are very positive which is possibly down to all the cold weather we have had. We are also really looking forward to launching our jacquard scarf collaboration with fashion designer Giles Deacon in the coming weeks. I saw them being finished in the mill a few weeks ago and they look incredible.

What items have proved to be the most popular so far during the pandemic?

We have seen an increase in home accessories in recent months and particularly when the current lockdown was announced. People seem to be looking for cosy items for the home at the moment so what better than to wrap yourself in a cashmere throw every evening? 

joshuaellis.com

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