Private White V.C.'s James Eden On Menswear
Fresh off the back of our capsule collection with the Manchester brand, we spoke to founder James Eden about style, running a factory and the state of the industry.
How did you get into the world of menswear? What was that key moment in time?
For as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed making things and I’ve always been fascinated by those people who can make. Given my great grandfather’s involvement in one of the region’s most celebrated makers, I have always had a deep respect and admiration for designers, clothing and construction.
What were you doing beforehand?
Almost 12 years ago I was working as a graduate for a London investment bank and my reality check bounced when the markets imploded and the credit crunch veered its ugly head. I was woefully apathetic and unfulfilled and there was an exponential threat to the factory that allowed me to come on board with the view to repositioning and revitalizing the profile and prospects of it.
How do you think menswear has changed over the past 10 years?
I would say that I am encouraged that in recent times we are seeing a flight and shift to quality. I think that trend is going to continue. Given the economic challenges and the cost-of-living crisis, I am hoping and expecting people to be more cautious and considered with their investment pieces and believe people will want to invest in fewer items that are designed to stand the test of time.
What do you love about the industry and what do you hate?
I love the people. We have such a vibrant mosaic of characters, personalities and individuals that I get to interact with daily, from the factory floor to our customers. I get to meet so many people of different backgrounds, colours and creeds which is always inspiring and never dull. There are quite harsh moments of solitude for a maker of apparel, there is virtually no infrastructure, no ecosystem or support. It feels like the tallest wall at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What do you think the consumer is looking for today?
They want to look and feel good and feel emboldened and encouraged that their hard-earned money is going to a business or spent with a company of integrity and quality.
What is at the heart of PWVC and why do you think the brand has become so popular?
Look, design and aesthetic aside, we are the only luxury lifestyle menswear brand in the country that makes everything in the UK with the lion's share meticulously designed and developed in our standalone flagship factory. Our provenance and heritage are beyond comparable.
Is British made really important and why do you think that is, for you as well as the consumer?
Notwithstanding the fact we make some of the finest, most luxurious high-quality clothing in the northwest, local manufacturing is extremely important to us and for the economy, community and the country. Ultimately Great Britain would be that much greater if it manufactured more goods and products domestically. It’s extremely important to me.
How much of a benefit is having your own factory on site in terms of creating pieces, quality control and other processes?
It is a huge blessing but it can also feel like a burden having your own factory. It is extremely complicated, costly and stressful spinning all of the various plates and dealing with a multi- faceted manufacturing plant. Having our own factory allows us to develop at an unrivalled velocity or pace, we’re in total control of quality and standards.
Can you briefly talk about the collaboration with H+H and what draws you to the brand?
As far as I’m concerned H+H are arguably one of the UK’s premier makers and designers of luxury loungewear and so it made total sense and was a very easy decision when we were asked to create something really special for our respective customer basis. For my money H+H are the best menswear lounge makers in the country and we share the same levels of taste and have an appreciation of the same aesthetic which is all rounded off with an obsession with quality. H+H only work with high quality mills and suppliers and they strive to create the best quality possible. It’s quality led, not price driven.