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Dugdale Brothers


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#1 Sator

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 04:55 PM

One of the few independent cloth traditional Huddersfield based cloth merchants left includes Dugdale Bros. As you can see from this 1935 Tailor & Cutter advertisement, they have been around for quite a while:

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Interestingly enough, they have just relaunched the original White Rose range of cloths in a modernised 11 Oz weight with recreations of original sporting designs.

The Huddersfield company was originally founded in 1896 by Henry Percy and Frederick Herbert Dugdale. The current owner has been in the textile industry for three generations, after having started out in the company in the 1960s before eventually buying the business from the Dugdales.

The Dugdale Bros name is not widely known or marketed outside of England, where amongst tailors it is still regarded as a provincial merchant. However, in an increasingly internationalised market increasingly devoid of all regional character, it is precisely this "cottage boutique" character that makes them of interest to us today.

Over the coming days and weeks, I will one by one review the different books of cloth they have on offer. As you will probably know, Dugdale also sell a variety of tailors trimmings. In particular, I will be shortly reviewing all the different canvassing offered by Dugdale. So do keep an eye out for the reviews and discussions.

#2 Sator

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 03:11 PM

I should add that their current website is here:

http://www.dugdalebros.com/

Their contact details are:

5, Northumberland Street
Huddersfield
West Yorkshire
England
HD1 1RL

Office: 01484 421 772

Geoff Wheeler: 07710 350557

enquiries@dugdalebros.com

#3 Sator

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 04:17 PM

I would like to personally welcome Robert, CLOTHCAPBOB, the owner of Dugdale Bros to the forum.

Robert's grandfather was a manufacturer and managed several iconic Huddersfield mills, including Kaye & Stewart and Learoyds. His father did his apprenticeship at John Fosters, before turning to merchanting with John G Hardy. He joined Dugdale in the 60`s before buying the company in 1982. Robert bought the Dugdale business in 2000 and they stand as the last remaining privately owned cloth merchant in Huddersfield owned by a Huddersfield family. Dugsdale have a very strong reputation in the UK and are now slowly expanding into export markets.

I am sure that I am like everyone else in that I have plenty of questions to ask about the cloth business. However, I will start off by asking you are tell us about your username "CLOTHCAPBOB".

#4 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 06:38 PM

Well I'd certainly like to say WELCOME to Robert! im Not Worthy.gif I've had nothing but good experience with his company and like to say that Robert and Carole are wonderful to do business with thumbsup.png , even though I've not been able to do the volume of business I had hoped to.

In addition to the White Rose line I have noticed you were thinking of producing some general Boating stripes frantics.gif . If this is true a couple of 14-16 oz flannel and worsted boating stripes would be wonderfully recieved by us in the costuming/ historical trade. A 20 oz crepe backed diagonal would be brilliant as well, but I'm only dreaming Whistle.gif Big Grin.gif .

Enough with my wish list, welcome once again, and I do hope you have the time to write about the fabric trade in detail, especially on weaves. dance.gif

Jason
Silly Cognoscenti, Drape is for windows!

#5 Sator

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 07:29 PM

Sorry for the delay. I got a message form Robert saying he is busy and we are sorting out some technical issues logging in. We'll be back on track soon to continue the discussion.

#6 Hanna

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 09:09 PM

Ohhh... I look forward to him joining us. :-)

#7 CLOTHCAPBOB

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 08:29 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen,
many thanks for your kind words and I do apologise for my tardiness in replying. I am still a bit of a Technophobe so this is all pretty new.
Sator-in reply to your question regarding CLOTHCAPBOB, I suppose this ties in quite nicely.
Most of my friends moved away from the "Frozen wastelands of the North of England" at the soonest opportunity to seek their fortunes in the City where the "Streets are paved with Gold"
Over time I was given the endearing nickname " CLOTHCAPBOB" in reference to the fact that all men who worked in "The Mill" wore a cloth cap and clogs. A beautiful stereotype of a Northern man.
I still have the cap but the clogs are waiting in the attic to be handed on, hopefully, to the next generation.
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#8 Sator

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 08:38 PM

Dear Robert,
I am glad you finally found a chance to join us. My next question is how you manage to keep your pricing so competitive. The tailors I have shown your books to have all been extremely impressed by their quality, and generally floored by their value for money compared to the big international firms. Of course, I'm not saying this because I've been paid to, as I don't accept advertising here to keep views independent and objective.

#9 CLOTHCAPBOB

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 03:38 AM

Pricing is always a tough one for a business our size. Either extreme can leave you with little meaningful business. I suppose the "Big Boys" have big expenses in terms of marketing and design which does allow them to produce some of the most exquisite cloths. Our world is a little simpler although I do hope and believe that as we develop more of an international audience we will keep expense to a minimum which will reflect in good pricing.
I suppose owning the business helps as I can keep a tight control on our expenses and after 20 years pretty much understand our costings. The team is small and hardworking and we pretty much regulate ourselves so we don`t need a big management team.
Yarn spinners, weavers, finshers, bunchmakers,are all very local and if I haven`t grown up or worked with them the older members of my family will. Therefore my relationship with my suppliers is vey personal. This does not lead to any special favours just a more informed discussion as to how to acheive best effect, be that in price or the physical nature of cloth.
I think that probably covers the key points. I suppose the fact that the original Dugdale Brothers always advertised as "The House for Value" as soon as they opened their doors in 1896 has rubbed off where "Value" is more synonomous with the larger equation rather than a statement of pure price. It must do because our cloths still find favour with the finest tailors.
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#10 Sator

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 08:35 AM

Yes, I certainly imagine that large corporations have higher expenditures which need to be passed down to the end buyer. Smaller independents will always be more efficient in their structure, even if, as you say, you may not be able to afford to produce quite as wide a range and innovate. I certainly think you make a good old-fashioned, honest value for money cloth.

I am always impressed at the way English cloths are woven with greater solidity than Italian ones. It seems English merchants ask their weavers for denser weave settings, and usually 2x2.

#11 Sleats

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 09:05 PM

ClothCapBob,

I have been looking into the Dugdale history and came across a bunch you used to run I believe called the Flanborough Indigo Serges. Do you have any intentions to run a similar bunch as I believe this in its day was quite an iconic collection.

Sleats
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#12 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 09:57 PM

Sleats about what years was this line run?
Silly Cognoscenti, Drape is for windows!

#13 Sleats

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 02:26 AM

Sleats about what years was this line run?



Robert, I hope would be able to provide a more accurate time frame??
www.cadandthedandy.co.uk

#14 gshen

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 06:17 AM

Interestingly, I visited Huddersfield in August with the intention of purchasing some cloth (it was enroute to other destinations, and we had a car. I also met with the owners of Acorn, the Chatburns, John and Chris, who were real gents - no pictures unfortunately.).

My emails to most of the mills (including JJ Minnis, Taylor and Lodge, some others I forgot) were either not responded to, or met with a negative reply when asked if I could visit.

Carole of Dugsdale Bros was the only one responded positively, so off to Dugsdale I was. I found their offerings to be extremely good value.. great body, and beautiful colors and patterns.

I thought I would share some pictures of the showroom that I was taken to, where I met Carole and another gentleman whose name I unfortunately cannot recall:

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And a picture of the building which they occupy, though I think they only occupy half right now:
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And the purchases, a cream linen, and a olive/beige herringbone with light brown/burgundy checks sport jacketing (from the White Rose collection I think?):
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I also have my eyes on the F1918 tan Glen Urquahart with blue overchecks from the Cape Breeze book in the future!

It was an extremely pleasant experience dealing with Dugdale Bros - they are very, very friendly folks and I would heartily recommend visiting the factory if you happen to be in the vicinity.

#15 CLOTHCAPBOB

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 05:49 PM

Wow now everyone has seen the inner sanctum of our pattern room where I spend most of my time brooding and being inspired by the many images of our past. I am pleased GSHEN had a good experience with us, I like to think we are a friendly enough bunch and it would seem everyone here seems to like the atmosphere. Having said that it isn`t too hard as the vast majority of our customers and people who take an active interest in our company are wonderful to deal with.
Sleats you must have the building bugged. The Flamboro dates back to around 1903 and yes we have plans to produce something along those lines that will remain the preserve of the finest tailors.

#16 Sleats

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 07:27 PM

I look forward to seeing the bunch!
www.cadandthedandy.co.uk

#17 Sator

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 12:39 PM

I think it sounds like that if what British garment makers need is to make themselves appeal to an international audience, they need the right cloth to be able to emphasise their Britishness. That's part of the appeal of Harris Tweed, for instance. But what is there out there that's equivalent to it in worsteds? It's hard to stand out from the crowd if you are using Italian cloths like everyone else. That's where being able to get cloth made by an archetypally Huddersfield family owned merchat in designs that span the great depth of history of that company, gives you a unique identity. All that history, all that tradition isn't something you couldn't buy for a million bob.

#18 Sator

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 10:28 PM

Another vintage Dugdale Brothers ad from 1937:

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