Trading on the heritage and skill of several generations of local manufacturing in the UK, Private White V.C. is a menswear label named after founder James Eden’s great grandfather. Jack White was a decorated hero of World War I, awarded the Victoria Cross—Britain’s highest military honor—for a daring rescue he executed under fire to save his fellow countrymen during a dramatic river battle in Mesopotamia.
After the war White returned to Manchester to train as a pattern cutter, going on to become the owner of the factory where he completed his apprenticeship. Two generations later, the factory, now called Cooper & Stollbrand, is producing the Private White V.C. collection, sewing the tagline “Made in Manchester, worn around the world” into each piece.
Inspired by White’s WWI military garb, the Private White V.C. collection comprises minimal, workwear silhouettes with the occasional splash of color. Apparent throughout the line is the brand’s philosophy of durable, quality garments cut from locally sourced fabrics and made to last.
The label’s designer boasts a notable heritage in his own right—Nick Ashley, son of Laura, made his name designing for high end labels such as Kenzo, Tod’s and Dunhill. Cooper & Stollbrand produced his own label, so his connection to the factory goes way back. “I had been involved with the factory for over 20 years, so when James asked me to help get his own brand together, I jumped on the next train,” he says. “These clothes are for people who have an emotional attachment to the clothes that accompany them through life.”