Carolyn Denham and Roderick Field are Merchant & Mills. They created their company in 2010 to elevate sewing to its proper place in the creative world, respecting the craftsmanship it entails. They produce a range of card patterns and really useful kits. In contrast to the pretty and flowery image of the average haberdasher, they present sewing of notions in stark and utilitarian packaging. Merchant & Mills continues to grow steadily. They keep evolving and developing as experience and ideas demand. Carolyn and Roderick now travel the world in search of unique and beautiful fabrics, finding aesthetic and practical inspiration along the way. Their products are stocked in the world’s most respected outlets.
The company also successfully collaborated with London’s V&A Museum and Alexander McQueen. As a result, new patterns and products emerge. They are never rushed to market, but slowly developed to be exemplary, desirable and pragmatic. Their ethos is to respect the roots of sewing, from trade to home dressmaking, as they inspire more people to find the satisfaction of simply making. To this end, they have published three instructive, illustrated books. They took the decision to put style to work in their presentation and packaging, as a language that would attract the very people that had hitherto overlooked sewing. Equally they were determined to include the steadfast makers and menders who had continued regardless of current trends.
In supplying patterns, fabrics and tools that allowed the creation of a desirable functioning wardrobe, they offer a viable, wearable alternative to the indistinguishable options of the high street. Carolyn Denham has a degree in Fashion design and has worked in New York, Italy and London. Roderick Field is a respected photographer with works in the National Portrait Gallery.