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History Of Carr & Westley's Catalogue

Carrandwestley-jacketBy now, you will be accustomed to the natural lifestyle photographs featured in our catalogues. Photography like this is a great way to show off new products and emphasise how they can fit into modern living. However, using photograph like this has not always been possible. In the past we had to find more cost effective ways to showcase a new collection.

Pre-Catalogue Days

You may have seen some old posts on our blog about post-war Carr & Westley adverts. During the 1940’s and 50’s these one-off advertisements where how we sold our products to the general public. Each advert would include an illustration of the product and a wealth of detail about the style and fabric of a particular garment.


By the 1970’s, we were promoting our products in simple catalogues consisting of only a few pages. It is also important to mention that around this time we began catering nearly exclusively for women. Alongside classic everyday women’s wear we included some specific clothing like nuns habits.

Into The 1980s and 90s

The rise of the modern woman in the 80’s was reflected in a new style of catalogue. To accurately portray the attention detail in our garments we employed highly skilled textile illustrators to produce drawings.

Back In The HabitMuch like they are still today, the clothes were diligently designed in the Carr & Westley factory, then prototypes were made up. These were then sent off to individual illustrators based around the country, where they were hung on mannequins and carefully drawn to show off the style, fit and details.

We know of one particular illustrator who was responsible for many of the beautiful black and white drawings which we have stowed in our loft here at Bourne Mill. She was so dedicated to bringing our garments to life that she worked for us well into her 80’s.

Black and white was slowly replaced by colour, then in turn, when photography became possible, by simple white background photographs. These were the days of film photography, making the whole process more complex than we take for granted now!

A new century

catalogue-autumn14As we moved into the 21st century our catalogues began to reflect contemporary living. Around 2010 we took the step to photograph our products out and about in real-life scenarios. Suddenly, the classic functionality of our clothes was brought to life.

Over the last few years we have given the location of the photo shoots increased thought and attention. We have thoroughly enjoyed soaking up the sights and atmosphere of picturesque locations such as Bath, the quaint seaside town of Rye, Royal Tonbridge Wells, pretty Bourton-on-the-Water and the Regency town of Cheltenham Spa. This has added another angle to our collections and promotes the association between Carr & Westley clothing and an active lifestyle.
We would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for potential future photo locations – so drop us a line if you have any ideas.

One thought on “History Of Carr & Westley's Catalogue”

  • Sue Btrown

    I would like to see the current Spring 2015 catalogue online. I have given you my name and address in the catalogue request section of your website but have not received a catalogue this year. I enjoy looking at the catalogue because it helps me to choose which outfit to buy.

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