Pendleton Woolen Mills – The Legendary Blankets

by Neil Summers

Over the past 25 years, Pendleton Woolen Mills have developed a series of Legendary blankets all of which are based on the beliefs and traditions of their original and most valued customers, the Native American Indian. Though founded by British weaver Thomas Kay back in 1863 it was only after the purchase of a mill along the Oregon Trail in 1909 that their blankets, robes and shawls became highly prized by the Native American population.

One of the reasons for the popularity of these products is thanks to the care taken by the pattern designers to learn about the native mythologies and design preferences of their customers. In the earliest years, Joe Rawnsley, who was considered a gifted talent on the jacquard loom, took time out with the local natives of northeastern Oregon to develop and understand their preferences of colour and design. Which he would then interpret the ideas gleaned from the native peoples into blanket designs using modern technologies that could express pattern ideas in much greater detail and in more vivid colours that could be expressed by traditional weaving methods.

Local business men during a Pendleton Mill tour in 1910.

Wiith the success of these first designs, Mr. Rawnsley went on to spend a further spent six months in the native Southwest developing ideas for designs that would specifically appeal to the tribes of this region. He returned with hundreds of designs to be interpreted into his weaving processes and also entering Pendleton blankets into the ‘Indian trade’. Meaning that local natives started to take the blankets down from Oregon to the Southwest tribes in order to exchange them for silver jewellery, wool or other items of value. The colourful blankets were also integrated into everyday and ceremonial uses; part of a dowry, weddings, gift giving, pow wows, dance prizes, naming ceremonies, funerals and memorials. With blankets often being placed into coffins to keep loved ones warm on their journey.

Today, Pendleton blankets continue to play a significant role in Indigenous communities across North America with the tradition of wool and textile innovation established by Thomas Kay and his family underlying all Pendleton products. Though the good news now is that you don’t have to belong to a Native American tribe in order to own one as The Sporting Lodge are now proud stockists of this incredible American brand.

Wigwam – Brand New to The Sporting Lodge

by Mark Smith,

Founded in 1905, Wigwam was the creation three men – Herbert Chesebro, Robert Ehany, and Lawerance Bentz. This trio had previously worked for the Sheboygan Knitting Company but when it burnt down, they quickly combined to fill its place.

In a town benefiting from diverse immigration, Wigwam rose to prominence quickly, supplying the various lumbermen of the area. Sheboygan had originally been officially founded 49 years earlier but prior to that it was inhabited by various Native American tribes.

By 1936, Chesebro had taken full control of the company, but like many businesses, the war effort led to a shift in production, with 75% of their capacity being used to make socks for troops overseas.

In the post-war years, Wigwam used its strong reputation to branch out into all kinds of hosiery, with a forward-thinking outlook which has kept the company at the forefront for more than a century.

Today, Wigwam make some of the finest, most hard wearing and hard working socks on the market.

We are pleased to now be stocking Wigwam at The Sporting Lodge, browse the range!

Fjallraven – The Re-Kanken

by Neil Summers,

No longer the preserve of straight-spined Swedes on the school run, Fjällräven’s Kånken backpack is now a beloved piece of carrying kit the world over. Which, given it’s popularity is perhaps why the environmentally-conscious brand has decided to re-invent this firm favourite in the form of the Re-Kånken.

This relatively new addition to the Fjäll family has been produced using recycled plastic bottles and an energy efficient SpinDye colouring process both of which help to radically reduce each bag’s environmental footprint. What’s also great is that the whole backpack (save for its buttons and zips) have been created using the same material, with the main fabric, lining and straps all made from the same yarn, thus ensuring that a Re-Kånken bag will be a lot easier to recycle in the future.

Though given how long it takes to wear out an incredibly durable Kånken bag it’s handy that the Re-Kånken has retained all the timeless design features of its former guise with the only subtle difference being the Fjällräven badge has been embroidered rather than sewn on. This is a bag that will look after your possessions, your posture and the environment.

The Re-Kanken is available in many colours and also available in a smaller ‘Mini’ version. Take a closer look at the all new Re-Kanken at The Sporting Lodge or our Kanken dedicated sister site My Kanken Bag.

Tricker’s – British craftsmanship and quality

by Neil Summers,

Since 1829 Tricker’s have been providing their timeless classic footwear to an extensive and loyal customer base that includes ranges from the farming community to members of the royal family. Founded by James Tricker in Northampton the company developed a unique welting system that created a waterproof protection for boots offering a warm and dry solution to those who’d been previously spending their days out in the fields with wet feet. Though initially a functional boot designed specifically for country pursuits, word soon spread and before long the iconic Tricker boot was being worn in both town and country. The reputation was so strong that Tricker’s were also charged with with providing boots to officers during both World Wars with many soldiers choosing to wear them long after conflict had ended thanks to their high quality. Over time the Tricker’s name has become synonymous with British craftsmanship and quality. especially overseas where it’s particularly popular in the two most style conscious countries in the world, Japan and Italy.

Though now playing to a global and fashion based audience as well as several generations of loyal customers, little has changed in their production methods. Almost 250 individual processes are required to make a single pair of tricker’s shoes in their busy factory where workers move between stations checking leathers, welting shoes and forming the shape of boots over bespoke lasts. Many of these unique foot shaped wooden moulds are kept in a designated client room that is something of a Brogues gallery such are the famous names attached to many of them. Alongside HRH the prince of Wales you’ll find lasts belonging to politicians, captains of industry, soldiers, sailors and airman, explorers as well as leading figures from the arts. In fact Tricker’s were even worn by Sir Edmund Hillary on his successful 1953 ascent of the Himalayas as well as by Lord Carnarvon when opening the tomb of Tutankhamen. 007 is also a fan of the tricker’s brogue with everyone from the originator Ian Fleming right up to the current Bond Daniel Craig being customers of Tricker’s Jermyn street store.

Few brands create as high a level of loyalty as Tricker’s do, with many owners handing their beloved brogues down to their children who in turn keep the tradition and continue to pass theirs on. Proving that these classic British shoes in many ways become a part of the family rather than just a way of keeping your feet dry!

Spring Summer 2017 collection has just landed at The Sporting Lodge, it’s well worth a look!

Private White V. C. – The great design

Private White V.C. takes its name from the decorated WW1 hero Private Jack White. Drawing inspiration from the all-action life of its namesake, PWVC produces classic, timeless clothing with military and functional characteristics.

Taking the best items of clothing from the 20th century, Private White V.C. expertly evolves its designs to create something new for the modern man.

Still based in the hard-working industrial heart of Manchester, Private White V.C. keep production close, with all garments constructed in their factory, using locally sourced fabrics wherever possible.

On design duties is Nick Ashley, who utilises a lifetime of experience garnered from spells with Kenzo, Tods and Dunhill, not to mention the creativity in his family’s DNA. His mother is the celebrated interior designer Laura Ashley.

If you appreciate great design, a keen eye for quality and a Boy’s Own background, Private White V.C. ticks all boxes.

SS17 has just landed at The Sporting Lodge, we hope you like the new range as much as we do!

Fjällräven: Born and raised in the great outdoors

When it comes to truly authentic outdoor brands there can be few brands credentials as impressive as the Swedish label Fjällräven. Their origins can be traced back to 1950 when founder Åke Nordin was a 14 year old boy-scout and took issue with the uncomfortable backpacks of the time. Being a practical type he decided to do something about this problem and in a lodge adjoining the family’s holiday home he made a wooden frame and fastened a cotton bag to it that he’d sewn together using leather straps. The new design worked a treat as it distributed the load across his back and increased the ventilation between back and the backpack. Allowing for a more comfortable fit, enabling heavier loads to be carried and heralding the start of something special.

After leaving the scouts Åke went on to do his military service  at the newly founded and extremely demanding FJS Parachute Ranger School in Karlsborg. It was during his time there that he discovered that even the equipment used by the most elite unit in the country was not fit for purpose. Recognising that there was clearly a market for functional and hard-wearing outdoor equipment, Åke set up his own company in 1960.

The first registered Fjällräven office was the family’s one-room flat just outside Örnsköldsvik. Whilst the workshop was situated down in the cellar and is where the first backpacks with aluminium frames were created. They were gradually followed by the condensation-free, lightweight tents, functional outdoor clothing and revolutionary sleeping bags that would come to be loved by a growing corps of outdoor enthusiasts the world over.

Though now a global company with many employees Fjällräven continue to be a brand with a love of the great outdoors still very much at it’s heart. Which is why they remain completely committed to continually developing their high quality products whilst also promoting the outdoor life and acting responsibly towards wildlife and nature.

View Fjallraven’s fantastic outdoor range at The Sporting Lodge.

Barbour – since 1894

J. Barbour and Sons Ltd was founded by Scottish native John Barbour in South Shields, England in 1894. Initially aking their name as an importer of oil-cloth, by 1908 Barbour had used their specialist knowledge to manufacture waterproof clothing.

They aimed this at all manner of active types and attracted orders from far and wide. Using a mail order catalogue helped cement Barbour as the go-to guys for reliable outdoor clothing. By 1917, 75% of their orders were made via the mail order catalogue.

Fast forward to the modern era and in 2004, Barbour began to work with Lord James Percy in the design and marketing of its flagship shooting clothing range – the Northumberland range.

Technically advanced and highly acclaimed in 2005, the Northumberland Range won the Shooting Industry Award for best clothing product, and more recently, the Linhope 3-in-1 won the Shooting Industry Award for best clothing product, 2008. More recently he was involved, alongside Vice Chairman Helen Barbour, in designing the new Barbour Sporting collection launched for Autumn Winter 2011.
There are now over 5,000 products across the two seasons, and the collections now cater for Men, Ladies and Children. Broadening out from its countrywear roots, today the heritage and lifestyle clothing brand produces clothing that is designed for a full lifestyle wardrobe. As well as jackets and coats, the Barbour wardrobe includes trousers, shirts, socks, knitwear and a range of accessories.

Nevertheless, in whichever area the company now operates, it remains true to its core values as a family business which espouses the unique values of the British Countryside and brings the qualities of wit, grit and glamour to its beautifully functional clothing.

We are proud to stock a wide range of Barbour products at The Sporting Lodge.

Klättermusen – The mouse that’s going places

by Neil Summers.

Klättermusen is an outdoor company located in Jämtland Sweden where bear, moose and brown trout populate the mountains, forest and streams. Translating as ‘climbing mouse’ after a well-known Swedish children’s book character Klättermusen’s unusual name was chosen when founder Peter Askulv first started up the business and wanted his products to be desirable for their quality and performance rather than a cool name. Being a biologist and chemist as well as an avid ice climber and cave diver Peter took a scientific approach to creating his outdoor gear, literally putting threads, fabrics and prototypes under a microscope in order to achieve maximum safety and durability.

Designed for conquering mountains as well as the daily commute into the city, Klättermusen’s super technical fabrics are made from predominantly organic and recycled materials in order to lessen their impact on the environment. So don’t be surprised to see fishing nets or bean oil in the product description of your new item of Klättermusen clothing alongside Recco detectors for locating you in an avalanche or fabric that has an actual SPF50 UV factor in order to stop you getting burnt by the midnight sun.

Conquer with Klättermusen at The Sporting Lodge.

The History of Musto

Neil Summer, our guest blogger digs into the history of Musto.

When it comes to performance engineered clothing British brand Musto having both the land and sea covered. As the world’s leading offshore sailing brand with 50 years of making cutting edge apparel behind them their fabric technology and ergonomic design has also made them major players worlds of both equestrian and shooting clothing.

The brand arose from the slightly built Keith Musto who as a member of the British sailing quad found that by training as hard as Olympic athletes he was able to win a silver medal in a heavyweight boat by simply being fitter than his opponents. It was during the relentless training for the olympics that he realised Guernsey sweaters and flannel trousers were inappropriate attire and so set out to create a line of ground-breaking technical sailing apparel.

Having set up a workshop in an old WWII prisoner hut in Essex Keith started teaching himself the basics of design and fabrics by making sails as Musto & Hyde with his friend Edward Hyde. By 1980 Keith went solo in order to turn his hand solely to clothing manufacture as ‘Musto’ a name that was quickly acknowledged as being makers of the best sailing kit available. Worn and endorsed by the world’s most celebrated sailors with the red silhouette of Keith’s Olympic winning Flying Dutchman boat emblazoned on the sailing apparel instantly recognised mark of excellence.

A family business it was Keith’s son Nigel who took up shooting that opened up the opportunity for Musto to develop their shooting range. As with his discovery with sailing Keith recognised there was a similar demand for technical clothing that would keep shooters warm, dry and comfortable. By fusing performance fabrics alongside timeless, classic styles the Musto has also become the leader in British country sporting wear.

We’re delighted to now be stocking Musto products, we hope you like them as much as we do! Browse the full range here.

I Love My Kanken – How Did it All Start?

In the late 1970s, Fjallraven noticed that many school children were suffering from back problems when carrying heavy, unwieldy backpacks on their commute to and from school. In 1978, that problem was solved with the trusty Kanken! Its unique and ergonomic style of straps aided children when carrying their heavy books; the word quickly spread, and soon the Kanken became a household name across Sweden.

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In 2000, The Sporting Lodge identified this gem of a backpack and, so impressed by its unique design and impressive range of colours, decided this fantastic bag deserved a website of its own – I Love My Kanken was born!

Since then, Fjallraven’s range has grown to provide a Kanken backpack to suit the whole family, ranging from Kanken Kids to the Kanken No. 2 (the posh one!).

I Love my Kanken’s era is now over but we still have the full range for you to enjoy at The Sporting Lodge.

The Kanken bags are now popular worldwide, and a common sight in any city!

Where will you take yours?

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