Ratcatcher Yorkshire Tweed Clothing – Designed, Woven and Made in Yorkshire
I recently came across Ratcatcher when I was tasked with ordering 100 flat caps for a corporate team building event in Ilkley which involved a walk up on Ilkley Moor. As the song is about someone potentially catching their death of cold from going up on the Moor without a hat (bah 'tat) - we decided not to take any risks!
I was recommended that Jon Wall from Ratcatcher was the person I needed to speak to and upon meeting Jon, I realised there was a lot more to his business than than I had first understood. His background in textiles and his "Yorkshire Tweed" I thought warranted a bit more exploration...
Jon had gained a wealth of experience, having worked in the Yorkshire wool textile industry between 1981 and 2010 and becoming President of the Bradford Textile Society in 2005. One of his roles had been travelling throughout Europe and the Far East promoting and selling Yorkshire Wool Cloth.
In 2011, he bought the established countrywear brand Cambrian Ratcatcher which had a great reputation for quality field clothing and started selling online under the simplified brand - Ratcatcher.
When asked about the name’s origin – Jon explained that apparently, the name Ratcatcher came from the local hunt tradition of when young dogs are being trained and less formal hunting attire was worn. Hunting pinks gave way to a more dress down uniform of tweeds and moleskins. It is certainly a memorable name.
Jon gradually repositioned the company so that it started to offer mainly made to order quality tweed suits for country sports and gamekeepers, as well as offering off the peg moleskin trousers and shirts.
Gradually, realising the value of Yorkshire heritage, Jon has developed a product range which consists of his own exclusive Yorkshire Tweeds named after Yorkshire Dales, woven in Yorkshire and then made into garments sewn in Yorkshire. His tweed designs are all woven with a nod to the past and loosely based on old estate tweeds.
The brand has also designed a special Yorkshire Tweed – incorporating the blue and yellow colours from the Yorkshire Flag. I am now the proud owner of a Yorkshire tweed flat cap, which I wear with pride and my son reckons it could double as a Leeds United tweed!
In terms of future growth Jon was very positive especially with lockdowns coming to an end and light at the end of the tunnel. He is happy that the wedding scene is busy again and his made to measure tweed suits for grooms and ushers were becoming very popular.
When we asked Jon about what drives him, he explained that what is important to him is for his garments to be made from tweed woven in Yorkshire and the garments stitched here too, in contrast to brands who use Yorkshire fabric but send it to China for garment making.
Jon expanded saying “As a proud Yorkshireman, with a love of all things Yorkshire, it is important for me to keep my production in the region. We have top class clothing manufacturing in Yorkshire which is important to support”.
As a keen former sportsman (rugby union and cricket) and now avid cyclist, Jon loves to talk about Yorkshire’s sporting heritage and still remembers fondly he day he witnessed Sir Geoffrey Boycott score is 100th, 100 at Headingley in 1977.
Ratcatcher Countrywear Ltd will be attending The Great Yorkshire Show from 13th-16th July 2021, where people can view the full range of his Yorkshire Tweeds. Jon will be there with his tape measure to take bespoke garment orders!