There can be few individuals in this country with as much passion for the UK textile and manufacturing industry than Patrick Grant. From his Saville Row tailoring company of Norton &Sons to his encouragement of amateur sewers on the much loved Sewing Bee, Patrick Grant is doing his best to bring our traditional textile and manufacturing industry back from the brink.
Now I could, and probably will write more about his other enterprises in the future but for now I want to focus on Community Clothing.
Community Clothing began in 2016 with a Kickstart fundraiser. This involved customers pre ordering the garments and by doing this raising the money needed to get the enterprise started. It was a success and fast forward to 2020 and there are now 28 UK based factories all contributing to the manufacture of a range of garments. Many of these factories are family owned with generations of experience in their specialist area, be it spinning, weaving, dyeing, knitting or sewing.
In an industry awash with at best vague and at worst totally misleading advertising Patrick Grant and Community Clothing have always been totally open and transparent in why, what and how they do it.
They want to provide the very best version of the everyday pieces found in any wardrobe and at an affordable price. If that were not enough, they want to do it in an ethical and sustainable manner whilst simultaneously creating local jobs and restoring pride in both the skills necessary for those jobs and the community as a whole where the factories are based.
Beat that for a mission!
“Sustainable clothing is way too expensive and dull”, is a very familiar reply when people are asked why they do not buy it, and yes, some of it is. However, by going against the generally accepted norms of production in the fashion industry, Community Clothing are keeping their prices fair and affordable.
The designs are simple and classic, no twiddles or frills, so minimising the sewing operations. They also use the same fabrics for multiple designs again keeping down costs. There is no advertising so consequently no advertising budget, no overheads of a bricks and mortar store, no import duties for overseas made goods and there are no professional models used in extravagant shoots. Just ordinary people in ordinary places. I know! Why is this approach not taken by more companies?
Many of the factories used are based in the traditional textile heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Once the beating heart of this industry but now sadly no longer. Both of my parents, many relatives and numerous family friends all worked in this industry and all belonged to the tight knit communities which surrounded where they worked.
Community Clothing are investing in the communities where their factories are situated once again forging that spirit of togetherness.
In a world where spin seems to be the norm, I for one can only applaud and fully support this company and as the business continues to grow it shows to me that honesty truly is the best policy!
Community Clothing can be found at www.communityclothing.co.uk
Facebook @Community Clothing UK