Bleu Anglais and Noel Chapman


Noel Chapman from Bleu Anglais, wearing a Uniqlo striped top and MHL jeans

The fashion world has gone mad for indigo and denim this season. There are some lovely things out there and I might have to write one more post on a few of the best buys. Meanwhile, you might like to know about the charming Noel Chapman, textile specialist and founder of Bleu Anglais, his small company selling absolutely gorgeous original Chinese indigo paste-resist patterned cloth.

I met Noel through TWR readers Belinda, of True Brit Knits, and found his enthusiasm for this little researched type of traditional Chinese catching. Noel travels to rural China to find the best examples of this lovely indigo cloth, which is traditionally used in Chinese clothing, often for children’s clothes and home linens. I saw some examples at the recent Selvedge Fair, where he apologised for only having a few lengths left, having just been cleaned out by an interior designer who had spent large sums securing the best pieces. After years in the fashion industry, Neil has developed a great eye and his stock doesn’t hang around long.

He’s only been selling the Chinese indigo fabric for a year or two, having found it irresistible himself. His travels as a knitwear designer for big brands meant he could pick up the odd quality piece for himself. As he said to me “Other people have sports cars, my vice is fabric, I have far too much, piled up in cupboards and drawers, which I’ll take out to admire occasionally and then fold it all up and put it back ‘ (ahem, who else has this habit? I know I do…..),

bleuanglais03Eventually he found enough time to start bringing small amounts back to sell to interior designers and collectors. He quickly found a growing market in today’s indigo-mad world and soon hopes to write a book on the stuff, as he thinks there’s much to cherish about the manufacture of the fabric. ‘The pieces I find are so beautiful, they’ve often been dipped as much as 90 times to get the depth of colour and there’s so  much symbolism in each of the designs.

I bought a beautiful small length – about 50cms – with simple flowers on for £20, which I’ve used to back-patch the distressed bits of my recent jean purchase (I’ve found I’m not much enjoying flashing flesh through all those trendy distressed bits  and worn holes). if you want to look at Noel’s collection, best email him on [email protected], but you should instantly follow his delightful Bleu Anglais on Instagram feed to see what I’m talking about.

bleuanglais02Noel’s business cards, above, are printed with assorted prints he’s found. If you are interested, Bleu Anglais will be at the Antique Textiles and Costumes Fair at Olympia Hilton Hotel, 380 Kensington High Street on June 21st and again at The Textile Society’s London Antique Fair at Chelsea Old Town Hall on October 4th.



  • Belinda says:

    Lovely Noel! I am so glad you liked his indigo, but then I didn’t really think you wouldn’t.

  • sue evans says:

    I worked with Noel many many moons ago. Wonderful to see such fabulous fabrics — would love to buy some pieces ( have to be small pieces now I am a pensioner !)

  • Sarah says:

    Lovely cloth – and great idea re: back patching!

  • Liz Shedden says:

    I love indigo so much this post makes my heart leap! Amazing fabrics – wonder if he would like to makes clothes or accesories with it to stock at b loves b?!

  • Amanda says:

    Sue, he did do small pieces too, I’m sure he’d accommodate all purses, Liz, mail him and ask! Sarah, glad you like the back patching idea, also keeps the wind from whistling around your pins in this rubbish weather we’re having. Belinda, thanks for the intro! Ax

  • Noel Chapman/Bleu Anglsis says:

    Thanks for the write-up Amanda it was lovely to meet you, and for everyone’s enthusiastic comments – Hello Sue !!!!!
    Am open to discuss your ideas Liz Sheldon, do contact me via email to talk more – thanks
    I’m actually in China now, will be back in London early next week – I’ve found some amazing indigo textiles on this trip and already posted some back to myself. . .

  • Jenny Udale says:

    Lovely to see what you are up to Noel. The fabrics are gorgeous.

  • Martha says:


  • Noel Chapman/Bleu Anglais says:

    I’ve just got back from another trip to China, where I found some wonderful indigo textile pieces including some really quite special pieces and patterns I’ve never found before. My packages have just arrived and am busy unpacking, washing and sortiing, but my BY APPOINTMENT diary is already open for private viewinga at home. Contact me on [email protected] to make an appointment.

  • Its lovely to see the interest that Noel awakes for this old practice of indigo paste-resist patterns. It was used in the 19th century when the ladies wanted different patterns to wear before the Industrial Revolution mechanised the textile industry in Middle Europe.
    Now there are about 20 Ateliers in Germany, 3 in Austria, 3 in Hungary, and 2 in the Tschech Republic left.
    For 4 years I have been trying to raise the awareness that there was once a big textile industry in Europe, that has almost disappeared. The trend away from high street sameness, to indivualised products is small but growing, and its nice to see you supporting it.
    For those who are interested, have a look at my Blog –, written in English and German.
    Keep up the good work

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