Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited the John Smedley store in Ginza, Tokyo today in her role as President of UKFT, as part of the company’s 235th-anniversary celebrations.
HRH The Princess Royal and Sir Tim Laurence were welcomed by Managing Director and 8th generation family member, Ian Maclean alongside Marketing & Design Director, Jess Mcguire-Dudley, before being introduced to key delegates from John Smedley’s partners in Japan including Mitsui & Co Ltd, the BIGI group and Lea Mills Agency.
Upon entering the store, HRH The Princess Royal was presented with details of the company’s 235th-anniversary collection featuring only British fibres. The three-fibre collection crafted from British Sheep, Alpaca and Guanaco which offers complete transparency across the entire supply chain, was extremely well received as a representation of high quality, British craftsmanship at its best.
Following this, HRH The Princess Royal and her party were led to the second floor of the store where Mrs. Kayo Saito, one of 10 ambassadors of British craftsmanship from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, that are being championed by John Smedley for the 235 campaign, was able to showcase her work as a Goldsmith via finished jewellery and insight into her craft process.
During her visit, HRH was shown several of the oldest items from the John Smedley archive including a set of Long Johns created for the Emperor of Japan and a special cardigan designed to be worn beneath a traditional Kimono both of which are from the 1930’s-1950’s period of manufacturing.
HRH was also given insight into the company’s upcoming expansion plans in Japan including the newly opened Futako Tamagawa store, and new retail concepts due to launch in 2020 across Japan including the historic area of Kyoto.
HRH The Princess Royal unveiled a commemorative plaque to honour the occasion and gave a short speech to attendees: “As President of the UK Fashion and Textile Association, I have been privileged to know John Smedley very well over the years, and I am delighted to be visiting the store in celebration of not only its 235 year history, but also the history of over 100 years of trading in Japan. The new products celebrating British craftsmanship are a fantastic showcase of the craft skills we must all fight to preserve, and their work with the QEST scholars such as Ms Kayo Saito show their commitment to other forms of British craft, which is extremely admirable.”
For more information visit: https://www.ukft.org