Miki Sekers and his cousin, Tomi de Gara, founded the company on the borders of the Lake District in 1938. Prior to coming to England in 1937, they both trained in the textile industry in Hungary, France and Germany, before forming the silk factory at Hensingham in Cumbria.
The West Cumberland Silk Mills was formed to manufacture high quality silk and rayon fabrics for the fashion trade. Between 1939 and 1945 the war intervened and the company was engaged in government contract work, weaving two million yards of parachute nylon, and subsequently only a very small part of production capacity was able to be devoted to developing fashion fabrics.
Following the war, the West Cumberland Silk Mills became Sekers Fabrics and began to be used by the great couturiers. By 1947, the company was well established in the Haute Couture markets, creating high-class fabrics. Amongst the great fashion houses supplied by Sekers were Edward Molyneux and Bianca Mosca in London and Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin and Givenchy in Paris.
At the same time they were making luxury-look dress materials within the purchasing power of most home dressmakers in Nylons.
During the late fifties, trends in the fashion world changed, moving away from the brocade type of fabrics.
Miki Sekers had an amazing flair, energy and enthusiasm for art and design. His ‘Exhibition Of Paintings For Fabric Design’ in 1959 bought these two areas together as he asked Cecil Beaton, Oliver Messel and Graham Sutherland to create paintings and drawings for fabric design.
Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret was present at the opening at 29 Bruton Street, London W1 on Wednesday 8th July 1959.
During the late 50’s the fashion world was changing and as a result the company looked for new areas of development and in 1960 produced its first range of furnishing fabrics. ‘Furnishing Fabrics good enough to wear’ Gaurdian Journal Nottingham 3rd October 1966.
Two years later, this first Collection was awarded the coveted Duke of Edinburgh prize for elegant design, with further awards in 1965 and 1973. In 1965, Miki Sekers was awarded a knighthood, and in 1967 there followed a Royal Warrant of Appointment as suppliers of furnishing fabric to Her Majesty the Queen.
In 1971, the company introduced the first inherently flame retardant woven collection of furnishing fabrics in the United Kingdom. This range of fabrics followed the famous look and style of Sekers and contained plains and semi-plains with an enormous colour range. Thus, the image of good taste was retained and at the same time the company provided safety for a market which was only beginning to become aware of the potential fire hazards that existed in public buildings.
In 1964 they moved into a glittering glass showroom in Sloane Street designed by Brett and Pollen. To get away from the nostalgic atmosphere of the past and to create a background for its fabrics in keeping with the movement of contemporary art Sekers fabrics exchanged its premises in Bruton Street for a large modern building in Sloane Street, London W1.
The new showrooms were designed by Dennis Lennon, using natural materials and showing them as nearly as possible in their original form. Kenneth Partridge, who was responsible for the presentation and display, arranged the range of fabrics in as simple a manner as possible so that a customer looking for a particular fabric or colour is able to find it quickly.
On the walls of the ground and lower ground floors, all fabrics were shown by qualities, each quality being illustrated in its complete colour range. In front of the main window, all the colours of the most important fabrics were displayed in spectromatic order and there was a display stand in the centre where large lengths of the fabrics are shown. Smaller stands then showed all stock qualities in all the colours in which they occur, and a set of 16 books which offered a further comprehensive illustration of the full range.
Bernard Nevill was commissioned to create the famous ‘English Country House Collection’, which became a highly successful collection of classical designs with outstanding colours, which had a world-wide appeal. Several were used to illustrate British designs and products at the British Embassy in Washington.
In 1980, at a time when the Middle East market was providing enormous opportunities for exports, Sekers won a £1,000,000 contract to supply flame retardant furnishing fabrics, complete with made-up curtains for a military housing project in Saudi Arabia. It was the largest contract in the Company’s history and was successfully completed on schedule.
Sekers were by now not only firmly established in the UK contract market, but exporting on a worldwide scale.
In 1998 Sekers was purchased by Mr Moir and Mr Wigglesworth. In 2006 the company was all moved to Dundee.
In 2009 Natasha Marshall was appointed to design the Sekers ranges and work with the original archive from the Miki Sekers period. With the aim to bring back the design philosophy Sekers started with at the beginning.