John Hanly Woollen Mills is steeped in tradition and the company is renowned for their excellent craftsmanship, outstanding quality, and beautiful products.
Established in Ireland in 1893, The mill specialises in the manufacture of scarves, throws, and fabrics in wool, cashmere, lambswool, mohair, and natural fibres.
The company has been under the management of the Hanly family since its founding and is based in Ballyartella, just outside the quaint little town of Nenagh in County Tipperary.
Before they moved their operations to Nenagh, Denis Hanly and his son John operated a number of handlooms in South County Tipperary. In 1893 they moved their machinery to Ballyartella in the North of the county where they are still located. They took over a vacant mill beside the Nenagh River and a large wheel provided the power necessary to operate the machinery.
With 126 years and counting in the textile business, the mill has developed the art of weaving using modern technology and machinery. Currently, the mill has 32 employees.
We sat down recently with Andrew from John Hanly to ask him a few questions about the design and making process of these heritage products.
Could you describe the studio to us? How many people are on the design team?
Currently, we have 2 full-time designers working on the whole collection ranging from the capsule fabric collections, for both menswear and womenswear and the interior ranges across all the qualities of wool. We produce these collections using pure yarn blends including pure wool, lambswool, merino, cashmere, and mohair.
We do not have a design studio as such, but we do have one main office which has all the design records filed away since the company started. The office houses a large window which gives great access to a lot of natural light, which is crucial when selecting colours for the designs. It has all the yarn colour cards which are divided into their individual qualities and thicknesses. It also contains many of the company’s previous fabric collections both for the company itself and its independent clients, which is an amazing resource for the designer to recap over previous trends, scales, and colours used.
The designers create every single piece of cloth using traditional pen and paper. They work out the pattern, repeat, scale and colours of the fabric by using the complicated process of matching the mathematics across the warp and weft, which varies depending on the fabric type chosen, yarn quality and individual product.
- What inspires the designs created by John Hanly?
One of our designers Kate follows fashion and interior trends across many social media platforms to stay on top of future key colour trends, both for fashion and interiors. She also attends trend forecasting seminars twice a year to see first hand where the trends are going and what is likely to be in demand for future collections. This helps the Hanly brand to maintain their balance of keeping up to date with trendsetters and influencers, adding new twists to their collections, whilst keeping their name firmly set as one of the highest quality Irish brands known to date.
As well as following colour trends, inspirations come from all around for Kate. She herself lives in a beautiful mix of being surrounded both by the sea and countryside. She takes inspiration from everyday natural occurrences that she is influenced by, your typical sea colours mixed with contrasting skyscapes of sunset or of purple heather that appears on mountain landscapes.
The designers keep a mix of the traditional, blended with the new for all aspects of the customers' needs. Some want more traditional patterns and colours and others are looking for something that little bit different, so the designers have fun with getting the balance right for the brand.
John Hanly is just one example of an Irish company whose roots are firmly planted in our rich heritage of craft and tradition. It is a company which embraces new technologies and design to ensure the brand remains current and relevant for new audiences to appreciate.
A selection of John Hanly products such as the always popular classic herringbone scarves and super soft cashmere, merino mix blankets are available to purchase here.