Igloo adventure.

McNair shirts igloos night

We’re all about locally sourced materials and craft at McNair. Our co-founder Neil has also been known to camp out at high altitude whilst exploring the Alps. These two passions don’t really have a lot to do with each other do they?

Well, er, call him a bit daft, but at the end of last winter Neil and a few of our McNair Shirt ambassadors were invited to join Ed Leigh for an Alpine adventure. Their overnight accommodation was as locally sourced and crafted as it’s possible to get, Neil explains:

“The mission was to construct and live in an igloo base camp, comprising of 3 modules, 2 sleeping and one mess pod in a high altitude, remote, location in the Swiss Alps”

Yes, igloos. For anyone who hasn’t slept in one, (me included), igloos take a lot of effort and time, and have to be built properly to do their job (a bit like our shirts – see what we did there?).

Neil goes on:

“Our days started at 5am, hiking in the dark and riding new lines at sunrise before returning to camp for breakfast.”

The Igloo adventure will be featured in a new British Snowboard documentary this Autumn and look out for articles in the Financial Times through the Winter season.

We’ll also be sharing more shots and films over the next few months.

mcnair shirts igloo adventure lewis

igloo adventure walking

With love. McNair shirts Fortnum & Mason.

For many years Fortnum & Mason has been the royal grocer and one of London’s swankiest places to shop so we were very flattered and surprised when they asked to stock a range of McNair Shirts for the next few months. We’re part of a collection curated by the guys at the With Love Project. All the brands featured produce their wares with love (see what they did there?), we’re proud to feature alongside other businesses who are driven by ethics and craft.

So if you’re in and around London over the summer please pop in and have a look. Alongside our merino wool, corduroy and moleskin shirts are AJOTO’s stunning wallets and pens, Banton Frameworks handmade glasses frames, and Norman Walsh’s wonderful footwear.

McNair at Fortnum and masons 1

The display is at the main Piccadilly Fortnum & Mason store – details here.

Wool vs plastic fleece

fleece-nightare-mcnair

The fleece is one of the outdoor world’s most popular garments – most of us will have owned at least one. However, there’s a rather shocking truth about polyester fleece starting to emerge in the outdoor press. It turns out that each time you wash your trusty fleece jacket you are releasing thousands of tiny plastic particles into our ecosystem. Of course real wool fleece sheds fibres as well but natural fabrics biodegrade in a reasonable timescale, plastic just doesn’t.

America’s Outside Magazine have a long article on the subject here.

It seems we’re all waking up to the fact that we have to start looking for alternatives to our dependency on plastic. If only there was a more sustainable, longer term option…*cough*…

Our Great Yorkshire Shirts at the Great Yorkshire Show.

GYS-mcnair-shirts
We’re proud to work in a part of Yorkshire with hundreds and hundreds of years of wool and fabric processing expertise. Our shirts couldn’t be produced anywhere else – Yorkshire is a special place. So it makes sense for us to pack everything we own into a van again and try our luck at the Great Yorkshire Show between July 12th and 14th. It’s a chance to meet-up and chat and try on our merino wool shirts, and our new PlasmaDry™ shirts.

Here’s what the Show’s website has to say:

“The Great Yorkshire Show features the best of British farming and is England’s premier agricultural show. Held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate it gives first-hand experience of agriculture and rural life through demonstrations and exhibitions as well as a ‘not to be missed’ insight into the very latest in the agricultural industry. There are exciting ring displays, our main ring attraction for 2016 is Bolddog Lings Motorcycle Display Team and we will have more than 1,200 stands with everything from country clothing to combine harvesters.”

It would be lovely to see you there.

For more information click through to the Great Yorkshire Show site here.

Spring cleaning, and the prevention of fine dining for moths.

McNair merino wool hat washing instructions

Merino is wonderful. And with proper cleaning and care it can stay that way for years. As the weather gets a little warmer you may find you’re not wearing your McNair hat or Neck warmer quite as much – so we just wanted to remind you that our accessories are in fact machine washable. A quick spin on the wool setting, no fabric conditioner, dry flat or cool tumble dry and your merino will be back like brand new ready for next winter, or next weekend if you live in the UK.

Also, for those lucky enough to live in warmer climes who may be hanging up their heavyweight shirts until next winter – we need to talk moths. We actually like moths, as long as they stay roughly seven or eight miles away from our precious wool shirts.

There are various natural ways to prevent your McNair shirt becoming the most luxurious supper of their tiny lives. We recommend cedar wood hangers or blocks which naturally deter moths. Try to make sure that your McNair merino shirts and accessories are stored away clean. Moths are partial to the food, hair particles and skin that we happen to leave behind when our clothes are packed away over the summer months. Moths really don’t like dry cleaning fluid, so if your shirt is in need of more than a refresh we’d recommend that this is a good time to treat your McNair to a clean so your shirt is pristine for next autumn / winter.

If you unexpectedly discover moths feasting on your shirt and there isn’t a dry cleaner around you can place your garment inside a freezer for 48 hours and this should destroy any eggs or stop further damage.

Why the things you can’t see sometimes matter most

For many years, the majority of waterproof and water resistant jackets that you see out on the hills have relied on a secret ingredient. And it’s not a very nice one. Long chain fluorocarbons are a key part in what is often described by manufacturers as Durable Water Repellent finishes. This is a chemical coating that causes water to bead up on the outside of the fabric. Ironically it’s not durable at all, it washes off and gets rubbed off easily by rucksacks, ropes and the like. But the real problem with these long chain fluorocarbons is what they do to the planet. Rather than us ranting about it, here’s what Greenpeace have to say.

Proof is now overwhelming that these are harmful to the environment. And governments around the world are in the process of banning them.

Our treatment is called PlasmaDry™ and it’s the result of years of development and millions of pounds of investment. The laser surface enhancement creates permanent structural change to the fibres in the weave to provide a unique, durable water repellency and stain resistance, reduces the need for fluorocarbons.

It’s a new chapter for McNair and also a new life for Moleskin and Corduroy, converting them into genuine performance fabrics.

It’s time to meet your maker

Beautifully Made Here – April 9th 2016

We’re opening our doors on Saturday April 9th from 11am to 5pm so it’s a chance to see where we make the shirts on, try one on, maybe get measured and have a brew. In fact the whole of Upper Mills are hosting an event “Made Beautifully Here” which will showcase world-class skills, and products made locally. Friends from other British companies are joining us including Alpkit who will be selling their bike packing gear and giving demos on fully loaded touring bikes, Walsh Sports will be there with a brilliant range of trainers made in Bolton and Ajoto pens will be explaining their manufacturing process and selling beautifully designed pens.

Olicana Textiles, who make fabric for amongst others Liberty of London, will be selling directly and sharing their space with talented friends who make soft furnishings using their fabrics. Hand-crafted soft furnishing items will be available to buy on the day.

We will be sharing our space with Khunu, who make beautiful yak wool knitwear, Anna Lisa Smith contemporary soft furnishings and HebTroCo makers of handcrafted moleskin trousers from Hebden Bridge.

On the top floor Sgt. Smith will open their doors so you can buy their fun range of kids T-shirts and gifts.

And to keep your energy up there will be delicious treats from the fabulous Hand Made Bakery, craft beers from award winning Empire Brewery and locally roasted coffee from Dark Woods Coffee.

The address is Upper Mills, Canal Side, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield, HD7 5HA.

For up to date information follow “Made Beautifully Here” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Beautifully Made Here

How Nature Inspires Better Clothing Design – Co-founder Neil McNair speaks at the Do Lectures

We were lucky enough to be invited to speak at last year’s Do Lectures.

If you have a spare 30 mins please grab a brew and watch Neil explain our thinking.

We’ll let the Do Lectures introduce the film:

“Neil wants you to stop bringing plastic into the mountains. Living and working in the mountains for the last 18 years has meant that he’s worn just about every conceivable ‘technical’ fabric in the wildest weather. Cocooning himself in fabrics designed to create a barrier against the elements simply doesn’t work in the long-term. McNair’s clever, enhanced Merino keeps you comfortable and still in-touch with the elements. Plus it’s natural, sustainable and effective. It’s the unplastic jacket.

Neil has been a British Snowboard Trainer for over 12 years and during this time he has held the elected position BASI Snowboard Director for 2 full terms. McNair shirts is a passion that co-exists with his Snowboarding. He was born and raised during his informative years in Scotland, home is now the French alps with his daughter.”

(Content originally appeared on the Do Lectures site).

How our enhanced merino keeps the weather out

 

It’s easy to make a really soft fabric and it’s easy to make a really protective fabric. Making something really soft and really protective calls for a little witchcraft.

McNair is in the little village of Slaithwaite for a reason. This old village is in the heart of Yorkshire’s wool country and within a mile or two of the finest wool finisher in the world.

And it’s during the finishing also called milling where the magic happens. After our lambswool merino has been woven, the fabric is gently turned by giant wooden paddles in warm water. This gradually pulls the fibres together, shrinking the fabric and producing a weather proof seal. And to further help the soft part of the equation the fabric is steamed and raised on the inside. This raising also boosts the warmth, trapping tiny pockets of warm air inside.

It might be possible to copy these crafts and build the same machines on the other side of the world but what is unique to this Yorkshire valley is the softness of the water and the gentle filtration provided by the ancient gritstone and shale. It’s this natural advantage that allowed the textile industry to initially flourish and generations of experience to grow. Without the unique skillset and the natural resources of our area the McNair Shirt would feel much more like other felted wool jackets. Heaven forbid!

The result is dramatic. As recent McNair convert Austin Healey explains, “I skied deep powder all day with just a t-shirt under the McNair Shirt, best piece of clothing I’ve ever bought!” Wow, thanks Austin, we love you too!

 

Milling machine – Slaithwaite, Huddersfield

 

Milling – Slaithwaite, Huddersfield

 

Austin Healey in his McNair Moutain Shirt