Marylebone Christmas Lights

The Plum team were treated to an incredible and spectacular afternoon of Christmas festivities yesterday on Marylebone High Street. The annual event was always one which Plum had wanted to become more involved in on a more personal level, not only because of the support the event gives to various chosen charities but also for the natural warmth and seasonal fervour the afternoon brings to the local community. This year, The Howard de Walden Estate unanimously chose Scope as their charity and invited non other than the award winning actress, and writer Jessica Hines, most famed for her roles in several exceptional British films and television series’.

Many established retailers on Marylebone High Street celebrated the event by offering special discounts in store and in der to fully embrace the public mood, offered mulled wine and mince pies! These worldwide recognised brands include the esteemed knitwear designer Eileen Fisher and the luxury Scottish cashmere label Brora to The Conran Shop and Emma Bridgewater, purveyor of the world’s finest and most colourful china!

Live acts and performances were also present to entertain the crowds whilst there were number of incredible activities for the kids from Santa’s Grotto and a Fun Fair to reindeer and competitions. Everyone was certainly well catered for!

The Plum team were there alongside several other cashmere brands as well as some alpaca brands from Peru and Herefordshire and have already put the date in the diary for 2015 and hope you do too- we’re confident you’ll be pleased you did!

Walpole British Luxury Awards

Walpole British Luxury Awards, celebrating Britain’s finest luxury brands was held on Monday 3rd November. The V&A played host to the 13th annual awards in association with Coutts, which was attended by key figures from across the British luxury industry. Jodie Kidd presented 11 awards to a variety of British brands alongside Walpole CEO Michelle Emmerson. The main criteria for winning one of the awards seemed to be pushing the boundaries in luxury which is what we here at Plum of London are striving to do with alpaca knitwear. The winners were also recognised as excelling in quality, design, craftsmanship and service.

The winners are:

Lifetime Achievement Award – Joan Burstein, founder of Browns, CBE
Emerging British Luxury Brand – Charlotte Tilbury
British Luxury Brand Advertising Campaign – Burberry
British Luxury Service – Claridge’s
British Luxury Brand Digital Innovation – Farfetch
British Luxury Brand Overseas – Bentley Motors
British Luxury Brand – Jaguar
Corporate Social Responsibility – Stella McCartney
International Brand – Bottega Veneta
British Luxury Craftsmanship – Dovecot Studios
British Luxury Design Talent – Barber & Osgerby
British Cultural Excellence – Royal Shakespeare Company

Plum of London Announces Christmas Fair Dates

Although the temperature’s falling substantially outside, things are hotting up here at Plum HQ as we ready ourselves for what will be a busy few months…!

We’ve already exhibited at a few Christmas Fairs and have been so appreative of all the incredible feedback and response we’ve received. Everyone has been so complimentary of our pure Royal and baby alpaca knitwear and have often been quite surprised at how soft each piece handles, not to mention learning of all the incredible qualities alpaca fibre possesses. We appreciate that the manufacture of pure alpaca clothing hasn’t been achieved in Britain for nearly 200 years so some may regard Plum of London’s range of knitwear as a relatively new concept but we believe that we’re successfully informing others of the infinite list of benefits this ‘super yarn’ boasts and are well on our way to achieve our ultimate goal…!

In light of this and to give you the most amount of notice required to commit to certain events at this time of year, we’ve compiled a diary of Christmas Fairs where you’ll be able to find us…

Plum of London Christmas Fairs 2014

Boutique De Noel: 12th – 13th November
Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, London, W8 7NX
Wednesday, 12 November 6 – 10pm Premier Shopping Evening
Thursday, 13 November 10am – 5pm Shopping Day

The Alma Christmas Fair: 20th November
499 Old York Road, Wandsworth, SWI8 1TF
Thursday 20th November
2pm – 9pm

The Touring Emporium: 27th November – 2nd December
Duke of York Square (Pop Up Shop), Kings Road, London, SW3
27th November – 2nd December
Daily 10am – 7pm

Wick & Tallow: Saturday 6th December
The Old Gas Works, Fulham, London, SW6
11am – 5pm

The Hollywood Arms: Saturday 6th December
Hollywood Road, Chelsea, SW10
11am – 8pm

Hornsby House School Christmas Fair: 7th December
Hearnville Road, Balham, London, SW12 8RS
Sunday 7th December 11am – 3pm

The Durell Christmas Fair: Monday 8th December
704 Fulham Road, London, SW6 5SB
2pm – 9pm

Chelsea Christmas Gift Fair: 12th – 14th December
Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London, SW3 5EE
Friday 12 December 12pm – 8pm
Saturday 13 December 10am – 6pm
Sunday 14 December 12pm – 5pm

For the next few Saturdays, we’ll also be at Portobello Market (Portobello Green) and on Sundays we’ll be at The Duck Pond Market (Richmond) for the next few weekends. We’re adding to this list all of the time so come back soon to see which other events you’ll find us at in the run up to Christmas…

Look forward to seeing you then!

Yours,
The Plum Team

The Good Web Guide Awards Plum of London

The Good Web Guide is the online guide to the best sites available on the internet. Their mission is to offer all visitors a refined and carefully selected shortlist of the best sites across a broad range of lifestyle and consumer interests.

As well as this, they offer a vast array of opinions featuring guest editors and interviews including some of the most influential figures; Sir Richard Branson, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rakhee Jogia of Rakuten and Diana Verde Nieto of Positive Luxury. So, if you’re not already aware of them, we think you should take a look at: www.thegoodwebguide.co.uk

Plum of London’s website, featuring an unique and ethical range of luxury alpaca British clothing, has been listed on The Good Web Guide (TGWG) for several months and in that time, has already received both national and international recognition for its sustainable and innovative collection of alpaca knitwear. There are some really fantastic cashmere knitwear brands which TGWG feature such as Brora and Chinti and Parker. There’s a plethora of high quality retailers from ASOS, Farfetch.com and The White Company to high end fashion brands including Amanda Wakeley, Browns and Aspinal of London. Selfridges’ very own website is also listed so we are in very good company!

This is therefore the first year that Plum of London’s alpaca clothing has been viewed and we are delighted that The Good Web Guide has ‘Commended’ the brand’s website and products. Pats on the back all-round then! We quote ”Plum of London, the brand that combines an incredible range of alpaca clothing with a guilt free way to shop.”

Super Thursday: The Rejuvination of Traditional Publishing?

This year marks the seventh anniversary of the original ‘Super Thursday’. It was in 2008 when the editor of The Bookseller, Philip Jones noticed the trend for so many books published on a particular day. That year, 247 new titles were released and the number has increased every year since- 315 books are to be published today. Christmas sales account for nearly 40% of the annual book sales and Super Thursday has become known as the industry’s main protagonist in promoting traditionally published books as it toils with the ever-increasing popularity of the digital variety. It is a day in which the familiar and trusted independent bookshops can gain some momentum in the national press by promoting their unique benefits and of course, increase exposure and in turn, sales.

Supermarkets first started stocking books about 20 years ago and it is widely regarded that these supermarkets have had a negative impact on the health and well-being of our local high streets, affecting various independent retailers from stationers and sweetshops to butchers and of course, bookshops.
Book sales declined roughly 9% from 2012 to 2013 which is somewhat alarming but it pails into insignificance when hearing that the number of independent bookshops have fallen by a third since 2005. Super Thursday however has been gaining some traction and combined with the slowing eBook sales, 2014 has seen a much smaller decline of just 2 per cent.

Some may say that traditional book sales are declining for a reason and that it’s pointless to try and stem the tide, that the increasing sales of eBooks quash any notion of a hardback revival but there is hope… This year has already witnessed incredible sales in the children’s market: up almost 10 per cent so far. This is an encouraging sign and one which succinctly reminds us that there’s a whole new generation experiencing books for the first time. There’ll be another generation doing the same 20 years after that and so this cycle will continue. If nothing is done now to promote books and protect what is left of the industry, these future children may never have the chance to handle a real book in their hands, to draw inspiration from them and experience the magic that we were fortunate enough to receive at their age. Let us do what we can to protect books today, for it would be a very sad state of affairs if there weren’t any to buy tomorrow.

Autumn has landed: Alpaca to the fore!

True British summers are hard to beat in every way – most true Brits say there’s no better place to spend your lazy days than on our awe-inspiring coastline, by the lakes that glisten in the evening sun or in the parks whilst the irregular sound of leather on willow seem to echo. The land we’ve been blessed with has offered infinite inspiration to many, from Shakespeare and Worth to Elgar and Constable and then there’s everyone else in between. There’s certainly more to this green and pleasant land than first meets the eye.
As winter nears and the sun seems a little more reluctant to show itself, we feel the chill that little bit more and look to those home-comforts that make these months that much more bearable. The roaring open fires, the long bracing walks and the warmth of hot tea and crumpets are just some of the ways which we employ to comfort ourselves. Then there’s the clothing and apparel which you’ve been eager to bring out from our ‘winter wardrobes’; the recently purchased overcoat you’re keen to check hasn’t been eaten by moths, the cashmere sweater you’re sure you stored away but now aren’t so sure and the silk thermals that you hope you can get one more season’s use from but fear that you may just need to bite the bullet and purchase a new set when see them again…!
Then we have alpaca. A relatively unknown fibre in the modern-day era but one which is sure to catch on by the year’s end! Alpaca possesses an incredible array of qualities, which to some, is an infinite list but we probably know them to be finite, although it’s hard to believe! Alpaca fibre is actually thermostatic ensuring that the wearer is kept cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cool so no more packing alpaca clothing away in the summer months as our alpaca knitwear will do just fine! The true luxury, quality and softness of handle of our alpaca range will surprise you as much as it has everyone else – it’s softer than cashmere yet warmer and stronger. We’ve heard our already loyal fan-base say that you need to ‘feel it to believe it’ and when you do, you’ll be converted! Alpaca is the way forward and Plum of London is excited to be at the forefront of this new wave of knitwear innovation. There’s no need for knitwear to be seasonal ever again – Plum will look after your wants and desires from now on!

Best of Britannia 2014

We’re extremely excited for Best of Britannia to start – it’s been a long time coming! Plum of London will be joined by over 200 other brands offering everything from speed boats, bicycles and furniture to soft furnishings, jewellery and of course high quality men’s, women’s and childrenswear! BoB’s reputation is second to none as it displays the finest product range available anywhere in the world.
The Farmiloe Building in Clerkenwell (which was used in the last two Batman films and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy among many other notable movies), will again play host to what could literally be called the biggest Pop Up England has ever seen! The event will showcase all the incredible talent and creativity that Britain has to offer which is why there will also be live music, movies, guest speakers, scrumptious food and an amazing choice of drink from the classic gin to the innovative Albion Racing Club!
In association with Short List Magazine, a number of seminars will also be hosted by journalist and writer Josh Sims who contributes to The Financial Times, The Times, Esquire, the BBC, Wallpaper, The Independent as well as many others. Katherine Hamnett and Wayne Hemmingway will also be guest panellists whilst buyers from Harvey Nichols, John Lewis and many other highly regarded retailers will be touring the event. The final notable attendees will also be yourselves, the public, of which you are all invited! Best of Britannia will open up its doors on Friday 2nd October and Saturday 3rd October – we look forward to seeing you there! For more information, visit: www.bestofbritannia.com/
The next few days are set to take off and we very much hope that you’ll be part of it!
See you there!

What It Means To Be A Father

Many of our friends here at Plum HQ are having their first child which is obviously a momentous and quite possibly life-changing experience for all involved! In celebration of that, as well as our upcoming range of men’s alpaca knitwear, we thought we’d put together a series of quotes (from one or two fathers you may well have heard of!), talk about their experiences of fatherhood. Enjoy!

“Fatherhood is the best thing I ever did. It changes your perspective. You can write a book, you can make a movie, you can paint a painting, but having kids is really the most extraordinary thing I have taken on.”
– Brad Pitt

“What do I do well as a father? I’m there all the time. I give unconditional love. And I have a lot of skills in terms of getting them to express themselves. I’m good with handy hints — if they can tell me what their problem is — ’cos I’ve had a lot of problems in life myself. I make an effort to expose them to things. I want them to have a deep, inner feeling that it’s alright to be happy, that you don’t have to be constantly manufacturing problems that you don’t really have.”
– Jack Nicholson

“Nothing can make one so happily exhilarated or so frightened: it’s a solid lesson in the limitations of self to realise that your heart is running around inside someone else’s body.”
– Christopher Hitchens

“I’m very at ease, and I like it. I never thought I would be such a family-oriented guy; I didn’t think that was part of my makeup. But somebody said that as you get older you become the person you always should have been, and I feel that’s happening to me. I’m rather surprised at who I am, because I’m actually like my dad!”
– David Bowie

“I’ve done a lot of dadding. Whoo, I tell you what — it grows you up pretty quick when that little bugger starts waking up. Suddenly, there’s this little cute ball of stuff yelling its head off — boom! Snap to! Oh, man, I better take care of this. Daughters are far easier to bring up. My first [child] was Marlon, my son, and he gave me a good fight, man. He would drag my ass sometimes, before I could talk to him and instill the wisdom of not doing that. I occasionally borrow pot from my kids. They do a little weed occasionally. ‘Here, Dad,’ or more likely, ‘Dad, have you got any?'”
– Keith Richards

“There’s something comforting in a house full of kids. It surprises me, because I usually like being alone, but I’m really loving it. Kids take you outside your comfort level because you ask yourself, How do I answer that question for them? You think back to your childhood, and it’s like: I don’t want to give them that, I want to give them this. My life is my children.”
– Patrick Dempsey

“Children teach you that you can still be humbled by life, that you learn something new all the time. That’s the secret to life, really – never stop learning.”
– Clint Eastwood

“The greatest mark of a father is how he treats his children when no one is looking.”
– Dan Pearce

“A new father quickly learns that his child invariably comes to the bathroom at precisely the times when he’s in there, as if he needed company. The only way for this father to be certain of bathroom privacy is to shave at the gas station.”
– Bill Cosby

“You’re tired? Have a baby, then come back and tell me how tired tired is. There’s no handbook for parenting. So you walk a very fine line, civilising these raw things.”
– Gary Oldman

“By the time a man realises that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.”
– Charles Wadsworth

“Men should always change diapers. It’s a very rewarding experience. It’s mentally cleansing. It’s like washing dishes, but imagine if the dishes were your kids, so you really love the dishes.”
– Chris Martin

“I have found the very best way to advise your children is to find out what they want to do and advise them to do it.”
– President Harry Truman

Prince George Celebrates 1st Birthday

Prince George, the first son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge or to those who are on more affectionate terms, Prince William and Kate Middleton, has celebrated his 1st birthday and there’s no sign of his popularity wavering!

Those who work alongside the Royal family have apparently disclosed the young Prince has received more than 4,000 gifts since his birth ranging from the more usual presents for babies including clothes, toys and blankets to some which may require a little more of an acquired taste, such as Aston Villa paraphernalia and a fattened bull?!

Of course, being a future King brings about its own responsibilities for other members of state and Royalty throughout the world as they recognise the importance of his birth and subsequently, his first birthday with some unusual gifts to say the least! A crocodile has been named after the Prince which has been given by the chief minister of Australia’s Northern Territory. Due to the complications involved in transporting such hostile presents, it now officially belongs Prince George and remains in Australia. The fattened bull which given to the Prince the Samburu people of Kenya who donated it along with a goat. The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy has said that the bull will be used to start a new “royal herd”.

Prince George’s Clothes

The vast majority of gifts the Duke and Duchess receive for Prince George are passed on to children’s charities especially toys, whilst some of the clothes Prince William and Kate are given for George are kept. We, at Plum of London very much hope that our signature piece, the Royal alpaca cardigan along with the Royal alpaca basket weave V-neck sweater will be amongst those clothes which they’ve received and would like to keep for Prince George. After all, we’re extremely proud of our British knitwear heritage which when combined with what we feel is the best quality yarn in which to clothe children, Royal alpaca is a force which can’t be matched let alone surpassed.

http://www.plumoflondon.com/childrens-alpaca-clothing.php

The trip in aid of Prince George’s birthday which his parents treated the young Prince to was quite an inspired choice too – a visit to the Natural History Museum of which the Duchess is patron. Aside from a lucky escape a blue morpho butterfly experienced, the trip was a great success. We do though hope that unlike the morpho butterfly, the young Prince will have no similar experiences as he rises up to the challenge of becoming King.

 

 

The Incredible Attributes of Alpaca Fibre

Why Alpaca?

Alpaca fibre has an almost infinite benefits and advantages over all other yarns;

Alpaca is hypoallergenic

Unlike sheep and goats wool, alpaca fibre does not contain lanolin (a natural oil that sheep and goats produce to improve water resistance). Plum of London’s knitwear range is made using pure (100%) alpaca ensuring that our collection is especially good for babies, children and those with sensitive skin.

Alpaca is extremely durable

Alpaca is truly phenomenal and almost indestructible: woven alpaca clothing has recently been found in almost perfect condition in Incan ruins dating back over 2,000 years. Alpaca is stronger than mohair and only second in strength to silk.

Alpaca is as soft yet finer than cashmere

Royal alpaca (which is used in our knitted clothing range) is the world’s finest alpaca yarn and boasts a micron count of less than 17. This results in alpaca knitwear that handles just as softly as cashmere but possesses so many more benefits.

Alpaca is naturally antibacterial

Thanks to no lanolin being present in alpaca fibre, pure alpaca clothing and garments repel dust mites and other organic matter which might trigger allergies.
Alpaca lacks the ‘prickle factor’ associated with wool
This risk is eradicated in our collection because we use only Royal Alpaca in our knitted range. It has been said that those who can’t even wear cashmere can wear alpaca.

Alpaca possess excellent thermal qualities

Properties which protect and insulate the alpaca at heights of up to 5500m and in temperatures varying from -28c in the winter to +27C in the summer mean that pure alpaca clothing (as used in Plum of London’s knitwear range) keeps the wearer not only cool in hot temperatures but also warm in cold conditions. Alpaca fleece is actually 3 times warmer than merino and better insulating than goose down, when required.

Alpaca is machine washable!

Some fabric experts suggest alpaca has a lower tendency to shrink than both cashmere and wool, which in part, is thanks to alpaca ffibre being water repellent. Due to alpaca lacking any lanolin content, Plum of London’s knitted garments don’t require regular cleaning, but when required, they are easy to clean and more importantly, machine washable!

Alpaca wicks away body moisture

Therefore improving the comfort of anyone wearing alpaca clothing and ensuring that the wearer maintains a constant body temperature at all times.

Alpaca is resistant to stains

Alpaca fibre is impermeable to oils which mean spills are easy to clean up before water saturates the fibre which otherwise would allow stains to develop. This therefore supports the claim that there is no better yarn in which to clothe babies and children.

Alpaca is resistant to odours

Thanks to its antibacterial and water resistant qualities, alpaca fibre successfully resists odours much better than other similar fibres.

Alpaca does not retain water

Alpaca clothing maintains its thermal qualities even when wet as tests have shown that alpaca is virtually water repellent. This also improves the cleaning and stain resistant qualities of our alpaca range.

Alpaca is not prone to ‘pill and ball’ unlike cashmere, wool and other yarns

All animal fibres contain ‘scales’ which are visible on each individual strand but the scales that are found on alpaca fibre are much shorter than on any other. This improves the wear-ability and lifespan of alpaca clothing and products as they are less likely to interlock which creates the ‘pilling’ and ‘balling’ effects.

Alpaca is lightweight and has lustrous handling

Mainly thanks to the ‘hollow’ qualities of alpaca fibre, Plum of London’s garments remain remarkably light when compared to other similar animal fibre (including merino, wool and cashmere) as well as other synthetic clothing.

Alpaca is resistant to wrinkling

Consequently, this helps alpaca garments to hold their shape and look new even after years of wear which is thanks to the natural drape, lustre and durability of alpaca clothing.

Alpaca is fire resistant

Whilst it can catch alight, alpaca will not support a flame and so will not melt or stick to the skin unlike synthetic fibres. Alpaca does not have to be treated to become flame retardant and it has been found that it is more flame retardant than even merino wool.

Alpaca is resistant to solar radiation

Which will protect your baby’s, child’s or indeed even your own skin from harmful UV rays by providing the wearer with a natural sun block.