Fine fabrics from the past to the present
The Christy story stretches all the way back to 1850 when their Manchester cotton mill began weaving the softest bath towels the world had ever seen.
From that day to this, Christy has been filling homes with unmistakeably British products, designed with love and made to last.
Christy is still a Manchester institution, based in Cheadle, and as its 170thbirthday approaches, Confidential got in touch to find out what makes Christy products as covetable today as they have always been.
If they were good enough for Queen Victoria, then they’re good enough for us. Although things have changed since her Madge towelled herself down and we wanted to find out more.
Lucy Ackroyd, Head of Design at Christy, explained how she spends her day with her team gathering inspiration for new products and collections.
‘We’re lucky it’s really varied. There’s always something new. As a team we work on everything, from getting inspiration from artists, films and exhibitions to seeing products through the design process. Our initial designs are hand-painted here in Cheadle.’
‘We work closely with a product development manager who has the technical expertise to consider things like yarn quality for our designs. Once the digital artwork and detailed specifications are complete, the product goes off to be made.’
Lucy shared some of her favourite recent designs with us, which have taken inspiration from looking at botanical forms as there’s a big trend towards natural living at the moment with trailing plants in hanging pots all over Instagram. Lucy’s job can involve sketching plants from pictures or sketching flowers in the park.
‘My favourite piece from our SS2020 bedroom collection is called Prairie. It has beautiful colours – flashes of teal and burnt oranges – and floral stems which were hand-painted by Heather Hackett, a senior designer.’
Prairie is available now but you can also look forward to another of Lucy’s favourite pieces in the AW2020 collection.
‘I love Falling Leaves. It sounds lovely and it is, with gorgeous leaf shapes falling down the bed in sophisticated colours.’
Christy has changed a lot since 1850. It’s a global business that sells internationally but the initial designs are still hand-painted in Cheadle. It all started with softer than soft terry-towelling, which was first produced to scale by Henry Christy on a machine devised by his inventor brother. Bedlinen is a more recent focus for the Christy brand, but it still remains famed for some of the most luxurious towels available.
About 20 years ago, Christy started to do a standalone design collection which took its previous sheets and pillowcases to the next level. A new Christy collection is akin to a new catwalk collection. Think of them as the Dior of duvets.
After all, if you can be brilliant at making towels, you can be brilliant at making bedding; the technical expertise is all there.
You might think Christy is all about heritage, and to some extent it is, but also continues to innovate and we asked Lucy how Christy keeps up – and in fact forges ahead.
‘The company has access to all sorts of innovative yarns and fabric constructions. Even in the design team, we continue to innovate. There’s more emphasis on digital printing rather than screen or rotary printing which is technically very innovative but also, there is less waste dye produced which is good for sustainability.’
‘Christy is also moving towards changing its packaging, looking for ways to eliminate plastic although this is a work in progress as keeping a crisp white sheet crisp and white is quite a challenge.’
That’s Christy, always looking to the future even though it has 170 years of history and quality behind it.