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Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Monday, 7 June 2010 15:59 UK
England World Cup team suit is made of cloth from Leeds
England players wearing the World Cup suit
Now it is up to the players - looking smart in the cloth from Bramley.

A mill in Leeds has supplied the cloth to make the England squad's World Cup suit.

Alfred Brown of Bramley is the company responsible for kitting out England with the luxury worsted cloth.

The firm has been based in Leeds since its foundation as Brown and Sons during World War One and is now one of the few mills left in the city.

The cloth is made into the single breasted jacket, waistcoat and trousers outfit that the team are wearing.

Sports teams have long known that dressing well can be a preparation for playing well in a competition. Now the team has been suited by the Leeds company the rest is up to the players.

Warps, twists and weaves

Around 70 people work at the Empire mill that warps, twists and then weaves the natural wool product into a fabric for sale worldwide.

The skyline of Leeds used to be dominated by the trade that made the West Yorkshire area the heartland of the textile area.

It was an industry that was passed down the family. David Whittaker has been working for the firm over 37 years. His parents were both in the trade.

David says: "The skyline with mills was just filled with chimneys ..."

Mill workers c1900 (pic: Leodis)
Posed group photograph of workers at the Albert Mills c1900, often sons followed their fathers into the mill.

Leeds was a major centre for the clothing industry and Burton was once the biggest customer of Alfred Brown's cloth. In one single order Brown's supplied 80,000 metres of cloth - a huge amount. Orders like that don't happen anymore.

Fashion has seen the number of suits worn by British men plummet and also, in a very price-driven industry, the availability of cheap overseas cloth has reduced the business to a very small rump of what it once was.

Now the cloth is currently marketed on the theme of 'woven in England' and tries to make use of its heritage, with a label proudly displaying the Union flag.

A long history

Alfred Brown is looking forward to its centenary in a few years, it all began in 1915.

The company's founder, Herbert Brown, was a local businessman and also President of Leeds Permanent Building Society, as well as supporter of Liberalism in Leeds.

Herbert even became Deputy Lord Mayor of Leeds in 1918.

The company started by manufacturing uniforms for the military, police and fire services.

Modern British

Back to 2010 and the World Cup suits are made from a woollen, lightweight, traditional bird's eye weave.

The detailed style points are that the two-button single breasted jacket is sculpted to a modern British block with sleeve head roll shoulders for a classic fitting, slim silhouette.

Additional details include narrower lapels, slanted pockets, four button cuffs and a red puppy tooth check lining. Trousers are flat fronted and half-lined.

Hear more

You can hear more about the cloth that makes up England's suits on BBC Radio Leeds.

listen to Wednesday's breakfast show with Andrew and Georgey between 6-9am on 92.4FM.

Andrew and Georgey




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