Brand in Focus – Alan Paine
What does Heritage mean? To me heritage means an inherited sense of identity, from the values and traditions, the cultures and the artefacts handed down through generations. A sense of pride in knowing where your family came from and the footsteps of history that you are walking in.
Some families define their heritage by their ethnicity, others by their cultural or national identity and others by the business they have built up. When you wear an Alan Paine garment you are wearing over 100 years of a family’s heritage.
William Paine was born in 1907, the son of a tailor who was struggling to establish his own business in Godalming an historic market town in Surrey. Around the back of the property that William grew up in was an old timber warehouse and inside William found an abandoned knitting machine.
William soon taught himself to knit and loved his hobby, within a few years his hobby had become his business and he named it Paine’s of Godalming, creating what could be argued, the fist cable knit sweaters.
By the 1920’s William had a thriving business.
Cable knit sweaters had become the height of fashion and by adding a club’s colour trim to a plain sweater William was soon supplying every cricket, rowing, tennis, and golf club in England. Even the Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward V111) had one in his own regimental colours.
With an unofficial patronage from the Prince of Wales and a growing reputation for quality in its workmanship the company received a commission to supply the British Armed Forces.
In the 1950’s William’s son Alan joined the business. The company was still flourishing but wanted to join the European and US markets so was relaunched under the name of Alan Paine. Rapid expansion into the global markets soon took place as the Classic English Sweaters made from Lambswool, Cashmere, Camelhair and Shetland were of such good quality and excellence.
By the 1970’s Alans’s sons had joined the business. Richard was appointed as the Managing Director and Nigel played a significant part in developing the North American market for almost 40 years until his retirement in 2010.
By the 80’s and 90’s knitwear had declined in fashion. Sales of patterns and yarns almost collapsed as the craft was seen as old fashioned and low-cost machine knitted items became readily available. Alan Paine was sold. The company was in the doldrums and passed from several different owners, until in 2007 when James Hinton, who had worked his way through the company for 31 years decided to become his own boss and take outright ownership.
A company which is extremely proud of its heritage and traditions, Alan Paine has once again become a name to notice. A new Country Collection, featuring jackets, waistcoats and accessories for both men and women was launched to coincide with the English lifestyle range of coats, sports jackets, and shirts, all offering the characteristic quality associated with the company.
Since James took over, the company once again has gone from strength to strength, taking a foot hold in quality, beautifully crafted country wear, that is affordable and yet not restricted on design or wearability.
The pure wool Compton tweeds are defined by their striking colourways and their luxurious soft handling. The Rutland tweeds are durable and stylish and crafted in a fabulous wool blend. Fabulous pieces of clothing that can become part of your heritage.