I became aware of the Community Clothing label a month or so after reading an article in Creative Review.
I was immediately drawn to their support of the British manufacturing industry and their focus on simple, high quality clothes.
Everyone should be able to buy high quality clothes, made in Britain – and afford them. It’s a real breath of fresh air to finally see a company doing just that.
Community Clothing is a “manufacturers cooperative with a simple mission; to make excellent quality affordable clothes for men and women, to create great jobs for skilled workers and by doing this help to restore real pride in Britain’s textile communities”.
It works by making use of British textile factories’ spare capacity (the times in the year where they aren’t producing ‘seasonal’ lines). In what once would have been down-time, the seven factories in the Community Clothing cooperative can create garments for the brand, which provides them with extra business, ensuring they can remain open.
The designs are kept simple, so that the clothes are quick and easy to make, with the focus more on the high quality materials, from cashmere to selvedge denim.
The clothes are then sold direct to the consumer, through the brand’s ebay store or shop in Blackburn, cutting out the retail markups and keeping them affordable.
The items on offer range from tee shirts and jeans, to Harrington jackets and cable jumpers – all quintessentially British designs.
The man behind all this is Patrick Grant, owner of Savile Row tailor Norton and Sons and creative director for ready-to-wear label E Tautz.
After discovering that the seasonality of demand across the fashion industry has an adverse effect on British manufacturing, Grant decided to create a business that could help preserve jobs and keep factories running year-round.
He set up Community Clothing as a Kickstarter campaign, which successfully raised £88,000.
The cooperative is a not-for-profit, so any surplus raised from the initiative with be invested in local projects connected to employability and skills training, which help get more people into skilled work in the textile industry.
I think this is a really positive and exciting idea because if successful, Community Clothing will create more work for the factories, which means they can employ more people and take on apprenticeships, alongside upgrading machinery.
I was interested to discover that the ‘CC’ of the brand’s logo is based on the CC41 utility range used during the Second World War – to combat the shortage of affordable cloth. The clothes in this range were all basic designs, which minimised the use of cloth, but were made from high quality materials and available to everyone. Sound familiar?
As Grant says in the Create Review piece; “The CC41 brand was obviously born out of a very clear social need – and we hope, if we are successful, we can provide some form of social benefit from doing this.”
Now that’s a mission I can get behind.
Community Clothing are hosting a Pop Up on the lower floor of the E Tautz store on Duke Street for a couple of weeks. You can see (and try on) the whole collection and learn more about the brand. Well worth visiting!