British designer Patrick Grant has launched a not-for-profit fashion brand called Community Clothing in an effort to support the UK textiles industry.
Community Clothing’s collections will be manufactured using the spare capacity of factories in the UK during slack periods of production, creating local jobs. It will be sold directly to the consumer.
“In Britain we have a proud tradition of making the very finest textiles and the very best clothes, but the industry faces all sorts of serious challenges,” said Grant. ”For several months every year even the best British factories are nowhere near full. This can lead to seasonal hiring and firing, zero-hours contacts or worse: factory closures.”
The initial small collection of men’s and women’s wear will be produced at Grant’s factory Cookson & Clegg in Blackburn.
It will include slim-cut jeans for men and women (£49), a classic Harrington jacket (£79) and single-breasted raincoat (£119). The jacket and raincoat will be made using cotton twill from Rochdale manufacturer British Millerain.
“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,” said Grant.
“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.”
The profits will be invested back into the 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,” Grant added.
Production will begin in March for delivery to consumers in July. Community Clothing will initially be sold online, but Grant hopes to open a store this summer.
The designer has launched a campaign on crowdfunding site Kickstarter with a fundraising target of £100,000 between now and March 15 to support the initiative’s growth.
Grant owns Savile Row tailoring business Norton & Sons and is creative director of E Tautz. He bought British garment manufacturer Cookson & Clegg for an undisclosed sum in April 2015 after he was told it was earmarked for closure.
Cookson & Clegg was established in 1860 to supply protective clothing for coal delivery workers, but struggled since losing a military uniform contract in 2009. It now specialises in outerwear, jeans and chinos, supplying E Tautz, as well as brands including Paul Smith, Ben Sherman and Crombie.