Founder of Lewis and Irene fabrics
Bryan began his career in the men’s wear business before moving into the world of fabrics. He joined Rose and Hubble, and sold fabrics such as Liberty and Viyella.
Seven years ago he founded his own company and named it after his parents and grandparents. Their logo includes the words “threaded with love”. It’s a family affair in Hampshire, alongside his daughter Hannah and son Benjamin.
Fabrics are printed in only one mill, in Korea, to achieve consistency. He uses pre shrunk cotton, finished to give a slight sheen called a light “Shriner”, and woven at 60 threads to the inch. Most is screen printed using up to 19 colours. Bolts of fabric are shipped all over the world after a sample from each has been checked for its match against the original swatch in the UK. Covid has meant delays at ports, and this has had to be tackled with orders made earlier. Shops have to order 6 months in advance, and may take a whole collection of fabrics or several of the 10 metre bolts. Lewis and Irene aim to produce 22 new designs each year.
Bryan’s daughter Hannah is the main designer in the company, taking inspiration from everyday things seen on walks and travels. The famous “Bumbleberries” fabric was named after the nickname Hannah gave to her unborn son!
We were privileged to see a very lovely preview of one of Hannah’s designs for the “Jubilee” collection, which will be on sale in 2022 for the Queen’s jubilee.
We had lots of questions, which included support for “American” designs from 2 of our members. In their new premises we could see Bryan in front of shelves of each collection of fabric… I think we all want to pull them out to look at them!
This was a lovely and engaging talk…Bryan’s passion for his company was clear to see…. and a great insight into the history and workings that go into a successful English company.