You may know Patrick Grant from The Great British Sewing Bee and E Tautz, but he’s also the man behind the British-grown sustainable fashion label Community Clothing.
On Wednesday March 15, Patrick is heading to Selfridges for an exclusive free launch event for the store’s Community Clothing pop-up. Hosted by Fashion journalist Rebecca Gonsalves, Patrick alongside Community Clothing’s CEO Lucy Clayton & British milliner James Keeble will be shining a light on the evolution of the British textile industry, and how fashionista’s across the world can work together to build a more sustainable future.
I caught up with Patrick ahead of the event for a quick-fire Q&A session to discuss his thought process behind Community Clothing, why it’s important to support the British textile community, what inspires him and why he strives to keep clothing home grown.
What are the key characteristics in creating clothing for Community Clothing?
At Community Clothing we make great quality, stylish staples – it’s the stuff we all wear, the perfect white t-shirt, jeans, knitwear, raincoats – for men and women. They’re all classic, simple designs made with pride.
You launched Community Clothing with the intention to create jobs and clothing made solely within the UK textile community, why is the UK textile company such an important area of expertise to you?
I knew from working with many UK factories that there were big gaps in the production schedule. I also knew that people in the UK would like to buy British made clothes but that price limited their choice – it’s often just too expensive. It seemed obvious that if you took these two things and put them together you could create value for customers, and the factories and their employees. And by creating and sustaining jobs in wonderful factories, we can help them thrive.
Do you think it’s important to keep clothing home grown?
We have incredible manufacturers here in the UK and we work with some of the best. That’s something to celebrate. We want to make Made in Britain garments affordable so that more people can play a part in creating jobs for skilled workers, right here. In just one of our factories we already created over 2,806 hours of skilled work – that’s about 1.7 man years and counting. And we’re currently working with 7 manufacturers and 6 key suppliers in across England and Scotland with more joining in all the time.
What made you decide to open your Community Clothing store in Blackburn?
We work closely with two Factories locally so lots of the Community Clothing range is made in Blackburn, it’s a natural home for us and we’ve had great support from the council and the local community there. But it’s brilliant to be working with Selfridges and touring the stores in Manchester and Birmingham as well, we’re meeting such a wide audience.
You were a judge on Great British Sewing Bee, did you take any inspiration from the contestants?
I learn so much from everyone on the show. My background was engineering before learning tailoring on Savile Row. And the world of sewing is so much bigger than that. The contestants have shown me firstly about the joy that sewing at home brings to so many people. And their creativity, especially on the alteration challenge, throws up so many interesting ideas. May and Esme and all of the technical team that work on the show have taught me an extraordinary amount about so many aspects of clothes and clothes-making that I’d had almost no experience of. And from Claudia I learned to play Boggle.