Private White V.C was founded in 2008 by James Eden, great grandson of Private Jack White – a WW1 war hero who later became general manager of the same Manchester factory where all Private White V.C. clothing is now made. Combining the functionality of classic military clothing with a minimalistic, retro-techno style, each menswear piece crafted by the brand was made in one building, with 90% of the materials used being locally sourced within driving distance of their factory.
Sharing the same passion for the highest quality, exceptionally crafted menswear, Private White V.C. have partnered with Fortnum’s to launch our own exclusive collection of pieces for the modern man. This new collection features exclusive items across shirting and outerwear - each stamped with a unique Fortnum & Mason X Private White V.C. label. Each of the unique designs has been adapted from the Private White V.C. archive and made with only the finest fabrics, guaranteed to last a lifetime. We visited James in Manchester to discover more about Private White and take a look around their historic factory that is more than 150 years old - the last remaining factory of its kind in Manchester.
What inspired you to begin Private White V.C.?
'I was working in finance in London and the opportunity arose to take over the factory and I didn’t have much to lose so I went for it. The factory was a few weeks from going under and we came in and slowly built it back up again. I used to work here growing up – weekends, school holidays – and I was always fascinated by this place, even though it was quite intimidating. As an eleven year old trudging fabric up and down these stairs – it was quite scary in some ways but inspiring. I have always had an emotional attachment to the business and this place. My grandfather has always been an icon, not just to me, but to the local community. He was not only a war hero, but after he got an apprenticeship in his local raincoat factory he later built his own textile business in this same factory.'
'My grandfather has always been an icon, not just to me, but to the local community'
What defines you as a brand?
'Quality first and foremost. Our people are hugely important to what we achieve – we couldn’t make this product as good as it is anywhere else in the UK. It’s not just about Manchester, it’s about this particular factory – there isn’t another one like this. You won’t find a brand that would make such an eclectic assortment of categories in only one place in the UK. All of that is coming from only upstairs or downstairs in this one building – I find that quite magical. I would only invest in all that we have done if we were in total control of what we were doing. We own, control and are accountable for all that we do and how it is done. Our clothes are not overtly fashionable – the fact that we make things in a particularly slow way charms and resonates with people - it could be compared to a very slowly matured wine. It’s our story that sets us apart.'