S.E.H. Kelly, London


We spend a great deal of time celebrating traditional businesses and mourning those that pass, so it’s particularly satisfying to find a brand new operation with the integrity and the ethos of an old one. One such is clothing manufacturer S.E.H. Kelly, whose studio and shop is a short walk from our own modest premises, and where we stopped in to have a cup of tea a while ago now, back before the leaves started to turn. S.E.H. Kelly specialise in workwear for men, using only fabric and materials from the British Isles which are manufactured to exacting standards frequently in very limited runs. They operate on a small enough scale that should the fancy taken them, they can make use of finds such as a single piece of fabric that will make fewer than 20 shirts, and so that becomes the whole run. Which is something to bear in mind if you spot an item you like – this may be the last one ever made. We were particularly impressed with their horn buttons which come from a 150-year-old button factory in the Midlands, but this level of care runs throughout their business, and not just in the clothes they make and the austerely charming studio in which they labour. On any Saturday and Sunday, from 12noon-5pm, you too can explore the creations of SEH Kelly at their workshop, and meet Sara and Paul, the delightful pair at its helm. We’d say a visit is a bit like going back to a better time, but it’s better than that because it gives us all hope that good, modest businesses can prosper in the present day.

S.E.H Kelly 1 Cleve Workshops, Boundary Street London E2 7JD
Tel: 020 3397 0449

Photos are courtesy Paul, SEH Kelly

Published 28 September 2012

Our guides are printed in England on 100% recycled paper