About the Brands
Owen Barry have been producing sheepskin and leather products from their traditional workshops in Street, Somerset since 1948. Still, today, each item is lovingly cut and made by British craftsmen, using the finest British and European skins.
Five generations of the Barry family have been involved with skin tannage and manufacturing developing Owen Barry into the unique company it is today.
Founded in 2003 in Scotland, the Samantha Holmes label is one the longest established lifestyle alpaca clothing brands in the UK.
The company is still owned and run by Samantha Holmes from her home on the west coast of Scotland. Originally an Art and Languages graduate from Edinburgh University, Samantha found her first inspiration for luxury fabrics and traditional craftsmanship in Nepal from where she imported cashmere from a small hand weaving cooperative. But it was on discovering alpaca, that she found her niche. Samantha travelled to Peru to make contact with small producer groups, most of whom she still works with now and together they continue to produce an exclusive collections of handcrafted fashion accessories, using only the finest micron baby alpaca wool.
What is Alpaca?
Alpaca is a species of camel. Like Llama, but smaller, Alpacas are gentle and inquisitive by nature from thousands of years of domestication. They have a fine, heavy fleece which occurs naturally in over 22 shades ranging from black, charcoal, silver, sand, brown and ivory making Alpaca wool ideal for Alpaca clothing. Alpaca wool clothing and other alpaca products are made from this pure natural fibre.
There are two types of Alpaca, the Huacaya and the Suri. Huacaya is the more common of the two and the fleece has a denser, fluffier appearance. Suri Alpaca wool / fibre is longer, flatter and silkier.
Why is Alpaca Wool Special?
Once treasured by Inca Royalty for its unique strength, lustre and slippery softness, Alpaca wool (or alpaca hair as it is also called) has a hollow fibre which renders it uniquely light and up to 30% warmer than the same weight of merino wool.
Alpaca wool has no lanolin content which together with an absence of the 'prickle factor' associated with ordinary wool makes it ideally suited for babies and sensitive skins. It is up to 4 times harder wearing than merino wool and does not tend to pill or ball. An alpaca sweater for example can last longer than a lamb’s wool or cashmere sweater. It also comes in at least 22 natural colours.
Alpacas are not killed for their fur. The Alpaca fur is mainly from baby Alpacas - or “cria” - which have died of natural causes as the weaker animals often perish in the harsh Andean winter. Alpacas can live for 20 years, promising a lifetime of shearing potential of far greater value than a single pelt.
Clare Hawley Jewellery
Clare collects leaves from Sherwood Forest and use them as templates to make this collection of jewellery. She will stick the leaf on to sheet silver and hand cut around it. Each leaf can only be used once making every piece of jewellery a one of a kind. After the leaf is cut out, she hammers the texture on them and then solders the vein down the middle. Each piece of jewellery has the tree species stamped on the back.