John Redfern – The Tailor Designer
English designer John Redfern, operating predominately under the name John Redfern and Sons, was a widely influential designer in the late 19th century. Redfern was one of the first designers to produce tailor-made, two-piece jacket and skirt ensembles constructed in sturdier textiles such as serge and jersey, for the increasingly active women of the late 1800s who yachted and golfed. John Redfern and Sons would reach a wide audience; the house expanded to Paris in 1891, New York in 1884 and ran a successful catalogue-style mail order business. Upon John Redfern’s death, his business partner Charles Poynter, who would go by Charles Poytner Redfern, continued designing for the brand, bringing it well into the 1920s. Some argue that the House of Redfern was most successful under Poynter who became the premier couturier in Paris until Poiret’s debut in 1908. In a period when restrictive and extravagant ensembles were worn throughout the day, Redfern’s tailor-mades aided in the dress reform movement of the late nineteenth-century and these designs served as a precursor to the increasingly relaxed clothing styles of the 20th century.