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  • Alice James: At the cutting edge of the textile industry

    The first rolls of Alice James fabric have hit the virtual shelves and are already proving popular with discerning interior designers and high-end upholsterers. The website launch brings a family-owned company, with history dating back to the founding fathers of the textile industry, right into the 21st century.

    Established by the father, son and daughter team of Simon, Tom and Sophie Hargreaves, Alice James’ family history is woven with fabric, and they have delved deep into the archives to inspire the new collections. The use of traditional designs however, does not mean that the company is behind the times. Modern methods, and state-of-the-art yarns put Alice James right at the cutting edge of the textile industry once again, just like their Hargreaves ancestors, hundreds of years ago.

    Split into four fabric families including ‘Astro Regenerated Cotton’, ‘Cotton’, ‘Linen’ and ‘Viscose Chenille’, the collections comprise jacquard, dobby, stripes and checks, across both classic and contemporary colourways. From opulent floral motifs and emblems to geometric herringbone, seaside stripes and country kitchen gingham, anyone looking for an online fabric supplier – whatever the project – would struggle to find a better selection of materials.

    Sophie explains: “We’re extremely proud of our heritage in the cotton industry. We can trace the family tree as far back as the invention of the ‘Spinning Jenny’ by our direct descendant, James Hargreaves. Today we have a combined experience of over 50 years, and certainly for me, there is nothing else I’d rather be doing than taking this family tradition even further and really pushing the boundaries when it comes to fabric design and development. The new business is based right in the heart of Lancashire – once known as ‘Cottonopolis’ – our weaving unit is a far cry from the dusty mills of the 1800s; they are totally state-of-the-art and most machine functions are electronically controlled.”

    Alice James is in fact situated in Haslingden, a stone’s throw away from the famous Helmshore Textile Museum. With a modern design and development room, slick offices and  pristine rolls of fabric ready to be sent out to clients, the whole operation is one of ultimate efficiency, aiming to get the product into the hands of the customers as quickly as possible.

    Tom Hargreaves explains: “We’ve really strived to make Alice James as accessible as possible to designers of all levels. Having an online presence means that designers can browse our collections, work out the amount of fabric they need for a project then have it delivered to an address of their choice; whether that be their own home, a client’s home, an upholsterers or the equivalent. The website has also been created as a sort of online swatch book that designers can show to clients, make mood boards with and base projects around. We’re hoping that designers will upload pictures of their finished projects using Alice James fabrics that people can take inspiration from.”

    Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Alice James is its use of Astro Regenerated Cotton, an innovation that co-owner Simon Hargreaves believes will put them right at the forefront of today’s fabric industry. Using over 80% recycled cotton in the manufacturing of this fabric avoids unnecessary over-dyeing and cuts down the processing of the yarn considerably.

    Simon says: “The Hargreaves family have been pioneers of the cotton industry for hundreds of years and we have never stopped trying to innovate our methods. We believe that our Astro Regenerated Cotton Collection to be unique in the UK at this time, and that’s exciting for both us and our customers. People that use a lot of fabric frequently like to be assured that the materials they are using are sourced ethically and are sustainable, so the Astro Regenerated Cotton Collection is the perfect blend for designers and upholsterers that are both fashion conscious and eco-conscious.”

    Enjoy six free fabric samples with your first visit to www.alicejamesfabrics.co.uk – just enter 6freesamples at the checkout.

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