Style / March 2017

Contemporary Tweed Specialist: Walker Slater

The Rake heads up to Edinburgh to visit Walker Slater, the Scottish tailoring brand that’s reviving tweed with its contemporary house styles and approach to the cloth.

Prior to my northern excursion to Scotland last week, tweed evoked feelings of childhood nostalgia and conjured up memories of my poorly dressed grandfather in his oversized avocado green with plum check jacket. Thankfully he doesn't “get tech” and therefore won’t read this. However, that misguided and immature opinion of mine was changed during my in-depth introduction to tweed - “the denim of Scotland” - courtesy of Walker Slater, a tweed specialist tailoring brand and complete wardrobe outfitters based in Edinburgh, with outposts in London and soon Glasgow. There is no way around the fact that tweed is a firm favourite amongst Britain’s middle-class geriatrics, and yet in recent years it’s re-emerged at the forefront of sartorialism. This is partly due to Walker Slater’s unwavering dedication to promoting and utilising the fabric, which they combine with contemporary cutting and timeless style - qualities that we at The Rake naturally celebrate.

To shine a light on Walker Slater one needs to first get a feel for its DNA which is why Paul Walker, founder and creative director, drove me and our photographer deep into the Borders to visit one of its key suppliers, the family-owned cloth merchant Andrew Elliot Ltd. Scotland’s textile industry over the last century has been subject to a rollercoaster of highs and lows. As Robin Elliot, whose father founded the company and who now runs it, points out: “If we don't sing about this from the rooftops, we won’t be able to do anything about it once it’s gone.” There is nothing more saddening than a sacred craft that provides a chosen skin for many to simply diminish. So in order to preserve this ancient trade slight changes in direction and application are necessary, and according to Robin, “Walker Slater is a perfect example of that, and they are taking it forward into the future.”

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Benedict Browne

Benedict is The Rake's Associate Style Editor.