Workhouse was brought to life in a disused and dilapidated Nineteenth Century Slaughterhouse in Suffolk - bought to house our studio. Working alongside the independent craftsman who helped us restore the very stones of the building, we found renewed appreciation for the hidden beauty in old things. Drawn to images of the Victorian street, we became particularly interested in unposed photographs of street traders and musicians. Whether a distinctive jacket, or a favourite hat, the garments in the images were handmade, made to last - and often made for someone else. Formal worn informally, old with new, contrasting fabrics and textures - all with a certain swagger. We wanted to craft garments that captured this.
At the root of a Workhouse garment is the time and expertise that has been taken to master its fit. Trained at Huntsman on Savile Row, our pattern cutter comes to the studio; we relish this process, exploring which methods work for a particular design, how best to combine traditional methods and new.
Whist much of our fabric is sourced from British mills - often in loomstate - we also take the greatest pleasure in wheeling and dealing in deadstock. We embrace contradiction, and our focus is above all on tracking down fabrics that will suit the spirit of Workhouse. So whilst we love to make outstanding garments with outstanding cloth, we are also driven to make them with fabrics that were destined for other things, and never expected to find themselves in a great elelphants graveyard of a warehouse in East London. These journeys are important to us.
Workhouse prizes sustainability and building local supply chains that sit outside the traditional model. More than just a business, we strive to forge relationships with like minded individuals, and believe that such commitments are what make our garments unique.
IGGI and Ryoko