Sekers Fabric

Miki Sekers and his cousin, Tomi de Gara, founded the West Cumberland Silk Mills on the borders of the Lake District in 1938. Prior to coming to England in 1937, they both trained in the textile industry in Hungary, France and Germany, before forming the silk factory at Hensingham in Cumbria.

The company was formed to manufacture high quality silk and rayon fabrics for the fashion trade. Between 1939 and 1945 the war intervened and the company was engaged in government contract work, weaving two million yards of parachute nylon, and subsequently only a very small part of production capacity was able to be devoted to developing fashion fabrics.

Following the war, the West Cumberland Silk Mills became Sekers Fabrics and began to be used by the great couturiers. By 1947, the company was well established in the Haute Couture markets, creating high-class fabrics. Amongst the great fashion houses supplied by Sekers were Edward Molyneux and Bianca Mosca in London and Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin and Givenchy in Paris.

At the same time they were making luxury-look dress materials within the purchasing power of most home dressmakers in Nylons. During the late fifties, trends in the fashion world changed, moving away from the brocade type of fabrics. In 1964 Sekers opened a glittering glass showroom in Sloane Square, London, designed by Brett and Pollen. To get away from the nostalgic atmosphere of the past and to create a background for its fabrics in keeping with the movement of contemporary art.

It supplied material to the great fashion houses such as Edward Molyneux and Bianca Mosca in London and Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin and Givenchy in Paris. At the same time it supplied luxury-style dress materials within the purchasing power of most home dressmakers working in nylon.

The company was awarded the Duke of Edinburgh prize for elegant design in 1962, 1965 and 1973, and a Royal warrant was awarded as suppliers of furnishing fabric to Her Majesty the Queen.

In 1964, Sekers established a large showroom at 190-192 Sloane Street, London. Miki Sekers was appointed an MBE in 1955 for services to the fashion industry, and was knighted in 1965 for services to the arts. In 1998 Sekers was purchased by Mr Moir and Mr Wigglesworth. In the decline of UK manufacturing, Sekers relocated to Dundee in Scotland to focus on being a leading wholesaler for the hospitality market.

The Whitehaven silk mill closed in 2006.

Sekers Staff. Whitehaven Opening Day, 1938
Sekers Opening Day, 1938

TRENDING ON HERETOFORE

Jackie Sewell



ABOUT WHITEHAVEN
Whitehaven had been small harbour and fishing village from 13th century or earlier. Expansion began in mid-17th century with building of piers by Lowthers 1632-4 and 1679-81 and granting of market charter 1660. By the 1680s it had grown rapidly, expanding from village of c.30 households in early 17th century to a town of over 1,000 inhabitants by 1685, which more than doubled to 2,281 by 1696. Sir John Lowther had laid out grid of streets by 1680s, making Whitehaven the earliest planned new town in post-medieval Britain.

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