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Tender Autumn/Winter 2011

March 15, 2011

Last week I once again had the pleasure of meeting William from Tender to be talked through his next collection. And once again the range had some fantastic pieces in it, and I’ve found myself wanting plenty of it. There’s lots of new styles and the brand has yet again moved forward with interesting dyeing techniques and some great new products.

The Weld dye used in the current season isn’t repeated, and in its place comes a new variation made from the natural black dye Logwood, from the South American Bloodwood tree (so called because the heartwood of the tree, used in the dye, is a dark red blood colour – it only turns black when used in combination with an iron mordant). The result is more depth to the indigo – it doesn’t produce a solid back, it’s an over-dye that sits on top of the denim, making it look very dark blue. Get it in the right light and you can see where the dye has built up and other ares where the indigo shows through. As with the Weld dyed jeans it’s hard to explain and it’s quite subtle but very unique.

Also new for next season is the style 133. William explained that these are based on a traditional ‘Trews’ – an early version of trousers that’s without an outer seam (there’s only an inseam). It’s the colour that really made me take notice, in fact before William even got a word in I’d pulled them off the rail wanting to know what they were. They’re made from English-woven, unsanforized 15oz raw cotton duck. This is piece dyed in a small vat, meaning each individual item has to be scrunched up to fit in, this in turn gives the garment a creased dye effect. The over dye is matched to a broken chip of flowerpot William sent to the dye house to get a deeper, redder, colour than a standard Duck fabric.

This material is also used in a new jacket style – longer than the original denim version, it’s lined to the waist and then the section of the coat that falls over the hips is unlined – it’s an idea taken from old riding jackets so the bottom falls over the horse’s back in a way that still makes it comfortable for the wearer. It features another first for Tender – the removable inner wool lining is made especially for the brand from Welsh Black Mountain Sheep to William’s own specification. This wool also features as the lining of the lower front pockets and is beautifully soft and rather warm.

As well as wool, Sheepskin also makes an appearance in the new collection. With a gillet and a pair of mittens made from the material. The gillet is a chunky affair, featuring real horn tailors buttons from Saville Row and thanks to the thick wool lining and full wool collar it’s very, very warm. And the same can be said with the mittens – I can safely say that there’s no way on earth your hands will ever be cold wearing a pair!

The new Logwood dye is also used on Tender’s leather belts and it gives really unique finish. Again it doesn’t actually dye the leather to a full black, it’s more mottled than that, and it creates some unique patterns as certain sections of the leather accept more dye than others – it guarantees that no two belts will be the same as each other. There’s also a new buckle for this season – a hook buckle. Once again cast from solid brass it’s based on a western-style buckle but without the plate, and then reversed.

The Logwood dye is also used on the T-shirts and new Henley tops where it turns a soft, warm grey. There’s also a stronger Woad dye from France for this season that’s much stronger than what was used previously and as you can see produces a really bright striking blue.

One of the things I really enjoy seeing when I view the Tender collection is just how the garments evolve. This is sometimes done by customising existing garments – for instance, the snob’s thumb pocket of this season’s 130’s was originally tested by William sewing one onto his very first 132’s to make sure it worked (find those jeans here).

Sometimes changes are done by marking up garments (as the above shots show perfectly), with labeled pieces of masking tape stuck onto this vest both inside and out, highlighting the changes that needing to be done to improve the garment. It’s a great insight into how William develops his clothes, indicating the level of thought that runs from everything that bears the Tender name, and the constant evolution the garments go through to refine them.

Whist there I also got to have another look at the current range, and the new products that have been added to it since I last featured it (find that here). The main piece of which is the denim apron below – it’s a Superdenim exclusive and was originally requested by a local tattooist. A small batch were made and nearly all have been sold so if you want one get in there quick!

It’s made from blue selvedge 14oz denim (slightly lighter than Tender’s jeans) and the denim is left in its natural state with no over dyeing. It features a pair of calico lined front pockets, herringbone taping for the straps and the inside is also calico lined (over the top section of the apron) for added comfort, with the Tender Elephant logo wood-cut stamped onto it.

So yet another collection full of cracking things from Tender. It’s great to see the label receiving more and more recognition and for people to be getting into what William’s doing with this small but brilliant collection. It was a pleasure to be able to get a good look at all of this, the only problem of course is that I now want most of it!

The new season stuff should start to be available around July/August but the latest range is in shops now and is more than worth a look. For more information on the brand or to find your nearest stockist, go to their site here: Tender.

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