Thursday, 3 April 2008

It's lined with hamster and it costs how much??!

It's easy to be cynical about companies like Purdey charging huge amounts of money for clothing and accessories. OK, they do make exceedingly good guns - but does that justify paying three or four times the normal price for a hat, coat, etc?

At least, that's what ran through my mind when I walked in to the famous South Audley Street Long Room for a sneak preview of the new Purdey range for this season. A plain woolly hat caught my eye - it looked nice and cosy for wildfowling, ferreting and the like. I picked it up and looked inside - and nearly fell over at the price tag of well over £100... for a woolly hat??!

But then in walked Rori Thompson from Purdey's product development department. We got chatting, and things began to fall into place. He is clearly passionate about the clothes: not just the designs, but everything that goes into them, from the smallest button or stitching.

His line is that the Purdey name is associated with the very best in guns. They make guns the way they should be made, not down to a price. And that's how they approach the clothing. Which may take them to the Isle of Mull to track down the best traditional tweed for a particular coat. Or persuading an oldfashioned leather worker to come out of retirement to produce some special item for the range. Or in the case of the coat pictured at the top of this post, sourcing traditional hamster fur for a lining. What a fascinating job!

So now I feel I understand why Purdey gear costs what it does. Sadly, however, I am no nearer to spending £100 on a woolly ferreting hat. But then I don't think I was ever their target market anyway!

In case you're wondering, the coat pictured costs £650. The lining is extra, at £1,220! See the new range from September at


The Suburban Bushwacker said...

just out of idle interest- did he say how many hamsters?
Speak soon

James Marchington said...

I did ask, but he wasn't sure. Looking closely at the pattern, I'd say they were bigger than your average petshop hamster - each skin was probably 9ins x 6ins. which would make each one around the size of a small rabbit. The whole lining probably contained something like 30 skins. It was very soft, and incredibly warm.

Anonymous said...

James, do they offer a more cost effective jacket based on Derbyshire Rat ?