Making clothes that make opportunities

Community Clothing
United Kingdom (London)

Long-lasting, locally made, affordable classic designs: this isn’t just a beautiful idea, but the reality of Community Clothing, the social enterprise launched by Scottish tailor and designer, and judge on BBC TV’s ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’, Patrick Grant.

Community Clothing describes itself as a clothing company – rather than a fashion brand – to emphasise their focus on quality and utility. By offering beautifully-made basics that won’t go swiftly out of style, they hope to halt the relentless push towards your next purchase.

Patrick is clear-sighted about Community Clothing’s mission: creating jobs through creating affordable clothes. In his TedX talk, he spotlights the fall in UK employment from a 1950’s peak of 1.6 million people working in the textile and clothing sector to less than 50,000 by 2018. 

In the process of kickstarting manufacturing opportunities in deprived British communities, there is also the chance to offer an alternative to the destructive practices of fast fashion. He spoke out about the need for urgent change in an interview with Intent Journal: “The best thing fast fashion businesses could do for the environment would be to shut up shop. No ‘greenwashing’ can change the fact that if you try to sell people thousands of new products every month, you’re never going to be a good guy.”

For every product offered by Community Clothing, a factory is chosen for a long-term partnership that uses off-peak production times, both of which help to keep costs down. They also offer clothes direct via their website: so no other marketing, wholesale or retail costs are added into the price. 

Cookson & Clegg – Photographed by Tom Bunning

The purpose is clear: “We want to make ethical, sustainable clothes an affordable reality so that everyone can buy clothes they feel great about wearing and play their part in restoring economic prosperity in places they care about.”

Creating a cooperative of manufacturers restoring communities and offering employment opportunities across the UK – that’s the way to make a fashion statement that matters.

Written by

Cathy Runciman, Co-founder, Atlas of the Future (02 September 2020)

Project leader

Patrick Grant

Partners

This project has been selected as part of FashionFutures, a new  content channel that maps the work of people transforming the fashion sector: the designers, craftspeople, social innovators, educators, community leaders and communicators. Atlas of the Future is excited to partner with Makerversity, with the support of The J J Charitable Trust and their network of fashion friends.

Creative Commons License

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