Updated: Wednesday, 3rd June 2020 @ 3:06pm

Made in Manchester: Iconic military-inspired clothing brand Private White VC's historic and heroic story

Made in Manchester: Iconic military-inspired clothing brand Private White VC's historic and heroic story

By Mancunian Matters staff

We’ve all seen the likes of Cheryl Cole and The Libertines sporting military-style garb in music video shoots.

But Manchester is home to the one of the most iconic clothing manufacturers in the UK, having adorned both celebrities and royalty, and their designs hark back to a very real story steeped in military history and heroism.

Just over the Pennines, in 1896, a genuine military hero and proper English gentleman was born in Jack White.

Jack was only 18 years old when he shipped out to Gallipoli with the King’s Own Royal Regiment, and was the deserving recipient of the Victoria Cross a couple of years later when he single-handedly saved his entire regiment, towing the boat bearing his injured comrades to the safety of the shore with a telephone wire.


THE MAN BEHIND THE BRAND: Jack White VC meets the Mayor of Manchester, 1931

Private Jack White became a founding father of the factory in Manchester which now serves as the base for the clothing company which bears his name.

After being awarded the highest of honours on June 27 1917, he was in active service until the end of the war, then returning to Manchester and starting work as a trainee pattern cutter.

He rose through the ranks at the factory, beginning as an apprentice and then retiring as General Manager, before passing away too soon at the age of 52.

That very factory began making the military inspired clothing of Private White V.C.; from boots and accessories to Private White designer shirts and jackets; not too dissimilar from what Jack himself would have worn.


A MAN OF MANCHESTER: Jack White with Salford residents

The brand is fiercely proud of its Manchester heritage as well as its eponymous hero, and went to great lengths to acquire Jack’s factory in 1997. The company is run by Jack’s own grandchildren, who strive to honour the spirit of Private White in the high quality garments that the city of Manchester is famous for making, since long before even Jack’s time.

The factory itself houses what is perhaps the UK’s largest collection of vintage clothing – over 5,000 pieces, most of which dates back to Jack’s 1920s heyday.

With such inspiration all around them, Private White V.C. has never been short of ideas, and with any luck this means that Jack will live on in their clothing for years to come.

Pictures courtesy of Private White VC, with thanks.

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