Garmology S01 E19: Yarmouth Oilskins workwear – with Sophie Miller

There are a fair few companies around that claim a long and continuous history of making, some with a genuine history, others with what might, with more than a little good will be described as a “continuation history”. British makers that are still making in Britain are rarer still though, not quite of the hen’s teeth grade, certainly not at the level of rocking horse poop, but with the massive evacuation of production in favour of offshoring to low-cost countries, finding the die-hards that stuck to their guns is rare. William Lennon Boots comes to mind. Another is today’s guest, Yarmouth Oilskins in the seaside town of Yarmouth, Norfolk.

The Yarmouth Oilskin team, factory manager Sharon, head of design Sophie and brand manager Jackie.

The Yarmouth Oilskin team, factory manager Sharon, head of design Sophie and brand manager Jackie.

In this episode, I talk to Sophie Miller, designer at Yarmouth Oilskins, about how they have resurrected parts of their archived past and successfully brought them back to life, in even better shape than the originals. While the company will shortly be celebrating 125 years of continuous history within the business of workwear, their production evolved with the times and the needs of the customers, from supplying everything required by fishermen to the modern needs of the industrial kitchens. Three years ago the heritage brand was launched, remaking designs from the archives. By delving into their past of classic workwear designs, they are brushing dust off their archive and reviving enthusiasm for their history.

We talk about the history, making in Britain and being an important local business with dedicated employees, and the quite startlingly varied career Sophie has enjoyed so far. Oh, and the grail piece from their past that may or may not be remade… (Se below)

And remember, while you can listen to the episode right here on the webpage (all episodes on the Garmology page), the podcast is also available on all the usual podcast sites, like Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts etc. This is very handy for listening via your phone while walking the dog, driving, cooking, or whatever activity you do where you want to listen to people talk about stuff.


1 Comment

  • Bill Bug 10/08/2020 at 11:27

    Great podcast. I bought my first Yarmo jacket back in the early noughties when the only places you could buy workwear made in the UK was either from them or Old Town. Of course Yarmo jackets were intended for people to actually work in and Old Town was for more artsy types (like myself) who liked the look and feel of workwear. I have jackets by both and appreciate the extra care and attention that goes into Old Town though you pay a price for that detail currently around £230. So it is nice to see Yarmouth Oilskins drawing on their heritage and make something with French seams and so on that rivals Old Town but is still quite affordable. One question have they sorted out the collar? I can’t quite put my finger on it but none of the Yarmo jackets I have had sit well on the collar. It is quite thin and rides up and sideways in a way no other workwear jackets I have do. Still a great little company .


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