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Essential Voices: Walker Slater

Walker Slater gives us the lowdown on linen tailoring

It seems as though Walker Slater has really branched out in terms of fabric since we last spoke. What sparked the interest?

Walker Slater is all about great quality ingredients and finding artisan makers with a passion for producing quality to make something special. We are very fabric-driven as a brand and care deeply about texture and colour. These attributes are there in tweeds but also in linen and, as such, I was really at home working with them. It’s all about taking something that has heritage and making it relevant for today. 

What are the biggest differences you’ve noticed when working with linen? Do those differences affect the design process at all?

Well, linen has not got the movement that tweed has, so we had to make allowances in the cut and allow more room in parts of the fit.  It is also a low-build fabric, so again, patterns need to be adjusted or else the shoulders become too big and the whole piece can look oversized. I’ll be honest, it’s very satisfying to play with these smaller adjustments until they are right. It’s even more satisfying to see the garments worn and looking smart but relaxed. 

Linen has seen something of a comeback in recent years. What is it about the fabric that you appreciate, personally? What do you think customers will appreciate?

I think it’s the ability of linen to keep a clean silhouette whilst cutting it to allow for the extra space that the fabric demands. Anyone who’s experienced wearing a suit in the heat whilst maintaining a tailored look will immediately appreciate the benefits of wearing linen. The mill-washed linen we work with is great in that it is softened and has more bilateral movement in it, meaning it does not end up creasing as much – a common bugbear amongst linen wearers. I also appreciate that it’s breathable and super cool to wear in the summer while remaining very durable.

Can you talk us through the inspiration behind (and subtle differences between) the Edward and Edmund patterns?

The Edmund has been altered from the Edward specifically for linen. It is off the same block but with some refinements in the armhole and with the lining mostly removed, this makes it ideal for linen by giving it space and taking away an additional layer from the jacket.

Linen can certainly lend a more relaxed vibe to an outfit. What advice would you give to people yet to take the plunge on a linen suit?

Don’t treat it as you would any other suit. Look for the linen to be able to make its mark and be able to breathe. Half lined, slightly roomier in those tight areas but tailored where it needs to be: the shoulders and front-facing lapels.  A word of warning: make sure the linen has not been bulked out with cotton; it will lose its breathability if it has.