Retail guru Mary Portas is to head up a new clothing factory in Middleton, Greater Manchester in a wider move to promote the UK manufacturing industry, the story of which is set to feature in a new Channel 4 series, yet another boost to Drapers Save Our Skills (SOS) campaign.
Drapers launched its SOS campaign in March, which aims to promote and support UK manufacturing. The campaign was launched due to the lack of manufacturing skills in the UK as clothing production in recent years has moved abroad.
According to reports Portas is to set up her own clothes factory in Middleton, Greater Manchester, with the aim of staffing it with locals struggling to find work.
Channel 4 production staff have secured empty factory Warwick Mill in Middleton and are now on the hunt for people to work there and produce a clothing line. Those successful will be given a 12-month contract and taught manufacturing skills. The products made will then be sold to high street multiples.
Production company Endemol is to film Portas’ progress as part of a new documentary series on Channel 4 about the British manufacturing industry called Mary’s Sweatshop.
The series will see Portas attempt to raise awareness about the UK clothing industry and convince shoppers to buy British.
Channel 4 said: “Mary will explore what lead to the UK clothing industry’s decline and attempt to set up a production line with an ailing factory.” The series will look at whether she can she make clothes cost-effectively, find a retailer prepared to stock them, and then convince shoppers to buy British. The series is set to air in 2012.