Heritage knitwear brand revived in Darlington

Heritage knitwear brand revived in Darlington

Former Barbour designer Andrea Freeman has brought a knitwear brand from 1785 back to life in a contemporary fashion range, which is now selling globally.

Born and raised in Darlington, County Durham, entrepreneur Andrea was always fascinated by the Patons and Baldwins knitting wool factory, where many of her family had worked.

This enthusiasm led her to collect some “Beehive” memorabilia, and now she’s revived both the 230 year old brand and the Beehive trademark, and has designed collections of menswear and womenswear knits from her studio in Darlington.

This range of knitwear is made from British wool and manufactured in the UK.

The first production run of the Men of Action collection, taking inspiration from wartime heroes and the original brand’s history, sold out online. Recent export trials have also been successful, securing the likes of Japanese retailer Journal Standard.

Andrea said: “It seemed very natural at the time to come home to the North East after 15 years in the industry to start my own label.

“I’m passionate about doing business here and proving fashion doesn’t belong to London.

“The Men of Action collection has attracted great interest in Japan, where the English gentleman look is very popular so it’s important we capitalise on this trend and strengthen our new partnerships in Europe and Asia.”

The Beehive offering includes great British fairisles, argyle and cable knit jumpers and fine gauge twinsets.