On Wednesday evening Patrick Grant founder of Community Clothing joined CEO Lucy Clayton, and British milliner James Keeble at Selfridges & Co to talk about sustainable fashion and why bringing the British textile industry back to its former glory is so important.
“It all started with kids jumpers” – who would have known that it was this topic that opened the night and the starting point of Patrick Grants launch of Community Clothing. Patrick continued to explain his statement by the audience that it was his nephew’s school jumper that opened his eyes to the decline of the Knitwear industry in Britain.
“When I was in school I owned hand-me-down jumpers made in Scotland and when you purchased one of these items you knew it would last you a lifetime. I have clothing that belonged to my father and grandfathers; they have a story, they get better with age, they give a sense of pride to be wearing something and know where the fabric has come from and where it’s been manufactured. These days there is just too much ‘stuff’, that one ‘made to last’ garment is much more interesting than buying six things that are average that you throw away to keep up with fast fashion. It a waste of water, electricity and people’s time.”
When asked if the panel thought that people need to be educated or if there is already a knowledge of sustainable ‘made to last’ clothing Lisa Clayton explained, “We are all guilty of buying fast fashion clothing and not caring about where the clothes come from, but now there is a definite appetite to know where the clothing is made, we aren’t demonising fast fashion we are simply saying there is something that is part of a growing accessible alternative.”
Patrick went on to say that these days £50 spent on an item is actually like paying £7 for an item, most of that money goes on to paying for shipping cots, VAT, adverts, photos and campaigns to get you to buy the ‘stuff’ that won’t be worth anything soon. “When I was younger you got one piece of editorial a month and that was it, now there is so much going on social media and adverts bombarding you on busses and on the tube that it overwhelms you, and I just think when it is going to stop? I’m bored of all this expensive marketing for cheap, worthless clothing – Community Clothing isn’t like that.”
Community Clothing works along side British Millerain who have been munufacting and developing fabrics for six generations. M.D of British Millerain James Keeble said that he’s “seeing a demand in UK-made clothing; it’s the story of the fabric that people are attracted too, it’s promoting the textile industry and that can only be a good thing.”
British Millerain offers apprenticeships to individuals, showing them that there is potential in the British manufacturing industry and that it’s on the increase, and having the skills to be a part of this is invaluable.
Patrick added that “it’s important that Community Clothing keeps the costs of manufacturing down. By eliminating anything that isn’t necessary, like a pocket or an extra button that means that manufacturing is more efficient, and by stocking less fabrics the clothes can be made quicker, with high quality.
“All this will keep costs down and if we make good clothing people will come back and we are seeing an increase. People care about where their food comes from and now finally people are conscious about the fabrics and the welfare of the workers that create their clothing; It’s the stories that the clothing has that people are falling in love with.
It’s great to see such passion for British-made clothing, and Community Clothing is already totally dedicated to this, even though it’s only five months old. The brand is able to lower costs but keeping the quality as it keeps things basic by hiring and training skilled workers in its factories, not to mention it keeps everything home-grown. And as Patrick said, it gives you a real sense of pride to know that the jacket you’re wearing was made in Lancashire, by a skilled worker that genuinely loves their craft, and it’s made from fabrics that have been developed to be life-strong.
It’s very easy to be swept up in fast fashion, I get caught up in it myself. But more and more of us are thinking about sustainability and this is why Community Clothing is such a great brand, it strips everything back to the basics, creating clothing that people need and will have forever. it’s better value for money, its better for the workers as they don’t have to constantly change the designs and fabrics to keep up with what every other brand is doing. It’s refreshing but also something that Britain has in
It’s better value for money and it’s better for the workers as they don’t have to constantly change the designs and fabrics to keep up with what every other brand is doing. It’s refreshing but also something that Britain has in its blood. Homegrown is making it’s long awaited come back and more designers and brands are endorsing this work ethic, and I’m excited to see what comes of this great British industry.
Homegrown is making its long-awaited comeback and more designers and brands are endorsing this work ethic, and I’m excited to see what comes of this great British industry.