Patrick Grant Launches ‘Community Clothing’
By Sarah Jane 25 Mar 2016
Aiming to reignite British clothing and textile manufacturing, UK fashion designer, Patrick Grant has launched Community Clothing, a social clothing initiative dedicated to making clothes, creating jobs and restoring pride in the UK textile working community. Starting small with the initial goal of raising £100K on crowd funding platform Kickstarter over the next four weeks - this ambitious new company is also determined to make exceptional quality British clothing more affordable.
Community Clothing was born out of Grant’s thinking about the big structural issues that face UK clothing and textile businesses - namely huge seasonality of demand and the creation of long slack periods in the production schedules.
“In Britain we have a proud tradition of making the very finest textiles and the very best clothes. But the British clothing industry faces all sorts of serious challenges. For several months every year even the best British factories are nowhere near full. This can lead to seasonal hiring and firing, zero hours contracts, or worse - factory closures,’’ says Grant.
Community Clothing’s plan; use the spare capacity in slack periods to make great, cost engineered clothes and sell these directly to the consumer - cutting out the usual wholesale and retail mark-ups.
“By designing with simple manufacturing in mind, these products can be sewn in the same premium fabrics and with the same quality as the best high-end designer clothes.
And with our profits we will invest in programmes in those same communities where the factories are located. We will support skills training, personal development programmes and apprenticeships that help get people into skilled work in the textile and garment industry.”
Community Clothing will offer a concise range of quality, staple everyday garments. The first range will include men’s and women’s jeans (£49), a classic Harrington jacket (£79) and a cotton twill raincoat (£119). Production will begin in March with delivery to customers in July. Starting as an online store, Grant is hoping to open the first Community Clothing shop this summer.
“I believe that everyone in Britain should be able to afford to buy exceptional quality British-made clothes, and to play their own part in sustaining and creating British jobs. Community Clothing will make British clothes affordable to all. I also feel passionately that at the heart of great communities lie great employers and that at the heart of personal pride lies a great job. Community Clothing will support great employers and great workers in communities across Britain.”
Community Clothing has established links with a network of factories across England, Scotland and Wales in traditional clothing and textile making communities. The initial production run of jeans and outerwear will be manufactured at the Cookson & Clegg clothing factory in Blackburn. Established in 1860 Cookson & Clegg originally manufactured leather work-wear for coal deliverymen, quickly moving on to produce uniforms for the British Army but following the loss of military contracts to overseas manufacturers it was announced in February 2015 that the business was to be shut. Patrick Grant intervened, buying the business and stopping its closure.