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Interview with Mark Graham of Holland & Sherry

Two weeks ago, Mark Graham (Director, Far East) of Holland & Sherry came for a visit. He made himself available to any question I may have. I offered to show him the questions I have, but he preferred to do this impromptu. I asked him about the history of Holland & Sherry (182-years old, beginning in Golden Square, then moving to Warwick Street, then to its current base on Savile Row) and about regional differences in the cloths customers favour (dark colours in the Western metropoles, more flamboyant colours in the emerging markets).

The thing I learnt most from this interview came about when he talked about the crimp in wool. Mark was describing the properties of Goswyck wool, a farm 6 hours from Sydney which supplies H&S with a Super 170's wool. Through animal husbandry and special care of the sheep, a very fine wool can be produced with pronounced crimp. Crimp is the undulations in the wool staple; the more undulations per unit length, the greater the crease recovery of the cloth woven from such wool.

This is important because the bane of ultrafine cloths (which I will take as anything from Super 140's on up) has always been its delicateness. They tend to wrinkle in day-to-day use. Lately, I've started noticing that not all ultrafines are quite the same. Some are surprisingly crease resistant, like the suit I was wearing in the interview, a Super 150's from Carlo Barbera. Mark told me that the crimp is responsible for this.

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