Derek Jarman’s Cottage Inspires New Tweed Collection by Social Enterprise Company Romney Tweed

Prospect Cottage, former home of world-renowned English film director, the late Derek Jarman, is the inspiration behind the new Romney Tweed Prospect Collection. This remote, distinctive black tarred cottage in Dungeness, Kent, with its bright yellow window and door frames has given rise to four new yellow and black checked luxury tweeds designed by Romney Tweed, made from top-quality Romney wool which is spun and woven in Yorkshire.

Collection designer and Weaver-in-Residence, Rosie Green says “We are proud to showcase the Prospect Collection as a love letter to the distinctive Prospect Cottage and the shingle which surrounds it. The Prospect Collection honours the resounding legacy of the cottage, in a year when the notion of home has been so important.” 

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Romney Tweed is also launching five new colours of fine worsted cloth to its contemporary Coastal Collection.

The Wool comes from single breed, often single flock, Romney sheep which have grazed in the area since 7th century. With its high lustre and durability, it is considered to be one of the best British wools and by the end of 19th century Romney sheep had been exported all over the world. The Romney wool is spun into a worsted yarn and woven into a luxury tweed, that has a drape and handle which is superior to most middle weight tweeds, meaning it can be worn next to the skin.

Social Enterprise: Romney Tweed Community Interest Company was founded in 2014 by Pat Alston following the publication of a report in 2011 that highlighted the economic downturn, which was expected to damage the local economy, following the decommissioning of Dungeness nuclear power station A site.

Aims: With high unemployment in the area, Romney Tweed encourages local industry and tourism, and helps young people to acquire skills and employment. By choosing the weaving and tweed industry to achieve these aims, Romney Tweed has dipped into the past, to medieval times, when Romney wool provided the foundation for the area’s prosperity. Romney Tweed is a niche producer making luxury tweeds in limited editions and is the first enterprise to have spun Romney wool into a worsted yarn.

Weaving Courses and Working with Students: Prior to the Covid19 outbreak Romney Tweed ran courses teaching people to weave. It also runs outreach schools’ projects and design competitions with college students which are currently being run remotely. It hopes to continue the weaving courses, outreach projects and competitions face-to-face after Lockdown.

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The Three Collections – All the tweeds are 100% British wool, worsted spun, designed, woven and finished to the highest industry standard in England.  Weight: 400/430 grams. Width: 150cm.

The Prospect Collection: NEW yellow and black tweeds inspired by Derek Jarman’s remote Dungeness Prospect cottage – £140 per metre;
The Coastal Collection: 10 contemporary small-scale diamond weave tweeds including 5 NEW limited edition colours inspired by the sounds and senses evoked by the Kent coastline – £110 per metre;
The Heritage Collection: 16 tweeds inspired by and named after historical churches on Romney Marsh – £110 per metre.

(Some of these luxury tweeds are produced in limited runs or are made-to-order. Trade prices available for wholesalers. All prices include VAT.)

Bespoke Tweeds: Romney Tweed are experts in developing unique personalised tweed, inspired by and made for individuals and organisations, which can be used for apparel and/or accessories.

Consumer Products: Romney Tweed has developed a range of popular, well-priced consumer tweed products which are made locally by hand. Items include weekend bags, cushions and ponchos which are available to buy online and can be made-to-order.

Certified 100% British Wool across the entire range of cloth and products (licence pending).

Sustainability: Romney Tweed is made from 100% wool which is biodegradable, recyclable, and can be produced organically. It is also durable, with inherent flame-resistant properties, has some natural water repellency and needs less washing than man-made fibres.

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The Inspiration Behind The New Collections:

Prospect Cottage was a dilapidated fisherman’s hut when Derek Jarman purchased it in 1986. He cultivated the richly idiosyncratic garden, bringing hypnotic colours to the bare shingle, until his death in 1994. The house stands today as a modern icon, embodying Jarman’s optimism, resilience through illness, and harmonious relationship with nature.

Derek Jarman, was an English artist, gay rights activist, stage designer, and director of films including Sebastiane (1976), Caravaggio (1986), and Glitterbug (1994), and music videos for the Sex Pistols, Patti Smith, and the Smiths. After his death Prospect Cottage was cared for by his companion Keith Collins until his death in 2018 when it was put up for sale.

The nation saved Prospect Cottage – A crowdfunding campaign to save the Cottage was launched by Tilda Swinton and more than 7,300 donations from around the world raised £3.5 million to fund the purchase, a conservation programme and some public accessibility through Creative Folkestone and Tate Britain. The actress told The Guardian… “we were throwing ourselves into the void in the hope and faith that others might feel, as we do, that seeds planted with love make for a resilient and sustaining garden, even one grown amongst stones.”  

Artists including Michael Craig-Martin, Jeremy Deller, and Wolfgang Tillmans produced limited-edited artworks as rewards for public donations, and David Hockney provided a substantial personal donation. Additionally, the sale of a suit by costume designer Sandy Powell signed by a cadre of celebrities including Scarlett Johansson, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio, raised an additional $19,600.

The Cottage is not open to the public at the moment and members of the public are encouraged to visit it online.

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The NEW Prospect Collection Range:

  • Oasis – ‘Beyond the iconic windows, a paradise awaits’. A refined small scale windowpane check;
  • Santolina – ‘A lemon fizz of delicate foliage’. The quintessential houndstooth tweed in a distinctive variation;
  • Driftwood – ‘A piece of driftwood stakes a rose, and so a garden begins…’ A contemporary take on a classic Gun Club tweed;
  • Gorse – ‘Folklore states when gorse is in bloom, kissing is in season’. A jaunty striped tweed with distinctive daffodil yellow lines.

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The Coastal Collection:

The charm of the Romney Marsh coast is the inspiration behind the Coastal Collection, which represents the ever-changing nature of the sea and marshy land it touches. The five new colours highlight the sea, sky and flora found at Dungeness.

New tweeds:

  • Tussock – ‘Tufts of grass swaying elegantly as one’.
  • Azure – ‘The colour of the sky on a clear day’.
  • Maritima – ‘Of the sea’.
  • Campion – ‘Blooms along shingle coastlines and can be found clinging to the cliff tops’.
  • Valerian – ‘Produces pink-red fragrant flowers from late Spring to late Summer that butterflies adore’.

 

Bespoke Tweed Service

Romney Tweed design personalised tweeds for organisations and individuals which can be used for apparel and accessories. Bespoke designs start with in-depth conversations about clients’ personality, tastes, heritage and traditions so prototype colour palettes, patterns and proportions can be agreed. Both computer-aided design and handweaving are used to generate a final design, in which the client is involved in every step of the process. The cloth is woven in Yorkshire to an exact standard and can be made into products or given to the client for them to have made up.

Romney Tweed were commissioned by The Royal St Georges Golf Club in Sandwich to develop a unique tweed, based on the club’s rich history, flora and fauna native to the course, and the club’s distinctive scenery. The bespoke tweed was created to coincide with the club’s postponed hosting of The Open, scheduled for 2020, and now due to take place this summer.

 

Romney Tweed Product Range using The Heritage & Coastal Collection Tweeds:

Products include weekend bags, cushions, ponchos, glasses cases, notebooks, washbags and scarves and are available to buy online: HERE

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Written by: Silks PR & Marketing – www.silkspr-marketing.com

www.romneytweed.co.uk