Bespoke Blazer Business Moves to High Street

Another Henley business, Collier & Robinson who make high quality hand-made blazers for the rowing community around the world have decided to move to a retail unit on the high street on Greys Road (former Textures hairdressers).

The business was founded by fashion designer, Kristie Robinson in 2003 from humble beginnings to supplying over 300 institutions around the world.  They have moved from a commercial unit on Enterprise Park off Greys Road where they were for 12 years.  Before this they had a workshop in a retail unit on the Reading Road (Liz Felix Millinery’s former shop).

Kristie said, “Our lease was coming to the end and I was looking for somewhere else.  We needed to find somewhere where our machines wouldn’t disturb anyone else.  I did bid on this unit a few years ago before Lily Dry Cleaners took it for a short while.  I always liked the shop when I used to come to have my hair done at Textures.  The upstairs is really light and airy and perfect for our seamstresses to work.  Downstairs I’ve given it a lounge type feel so that customers can come and sit down in a nice relaxed atmosphere, have a cup of tea and look through all the fabrics.  They can also go upstairs and see how the blazers are made.”

Rowing blazers will continue to be the main focus of the business however special bespoke blazers can be designed and made from a large of range of British woven Savile Row materials including corduroy, moleskin, velvet and tweed.  Kristie said, “I felt our brand needed something.  We’ve grown so much.  It is good to have a presence now within the town and Henley is such a lovely community.  We were pleased to work with Grace at Relais Henley to make blazers for all their staff.  Although we have a shop front it is always good to make an appointment.”

Collier and Robinson employ 5 employees and hand-make over thousand blazers a year (starting from £200 for a club blazer up to £750 for a bespoke).  Kristie also has a network of seamstresses she can call upon when demand is needed.  Each blazer takes roughly six hours to make.  Kristie works with customers to come up with the blazer design, she comments, “I get asked to do some crazy things.  I love the imagination people have.  I do take what they want but make sure the colours sit nice together and steer them into a nice finished blazer.”

The club crests on the blazer pockets are created from a high quality jpeg digital file which is transferred on to a special embroidering computer design machine.  Kristie then programs the machine to select different colours and stitches to create the crest with a real 3D feel.  Kristie likes the uniqueness in all the blazers but if she had to pick a favourite crest it would the Hampton School one and her favourite style of blazer is the ‘Royal Blazer’ an eight button front which she named because Prince Charles always wears an eight button blazer.

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