That’s Not My Age Podcast Episode 7: Patrick Grant
For our first male podcast guest I am chuffed to bits to introduce award-winning Savile Row tailor, champion of British manufacturing and judge on the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee (new series out February 2020) Mr Patrick Grant. Seriously, I could not have asked for a finer man of style and substance. Grant is enterprising, engaging and down-to-earth (though known for his dapper dress sense, he answered the door in his slippers). And despite his hectic schedule – the 47-year-old runs five clothing companies, consults for top fashion labels and is on a mission to restore the manufacturing industry in the UK – he didn’t mind when our interview was interrupted by a neighbour’s noisy leaf blower. Well, he shrugged off the extra time required to finish recording and slagged off the environmentally-unfriendly gardening tool. Good man.
Grant has no formal training in fashion (he studied material sciences and engineering) and yet over the last 15 years has rescued two struggling Savile Row tailoring businesses and set up a social enterprise. Aged 33, he spotted an advert for the sale of Norton & Sons in the Financial Times, quit a career in engineering, remortgaged his house, sold his car ( he now rides a bike) to buy Norton & Sons. Next came E. Tautz, another historic London label pulled back into profitability by Patrick Grant. In 2016, after years of working in high-end menswear, Grant founded Community Clothing. The Blackburn-based social enterprise and design co-operative makes good quality basics for men and women, around the UK. Garments are sewn in Blackburn, printed in Blackpool (hooray!), woven in Leicester and knitted in Hawick (the list goes on…)
‘Of course it’s about making good affordable clothes,’ Grant says of Community Clothing when we meet. ‘But, even more so it’s about providing great jobs, and the prospect of a fulfilling future for people growing up in those towns. People who 60 or 70 years ago would have had a long, fulfilling career in manufacturing career ahead of them. That’s been taken away from them. With nothing in its place. It’s about keeping talent in those areas and helping to keep the local economy alive.’
In this episode, Patrick Grant joins me to talk about men’s style, facial hair, the Great British Sewing Bee, big pants and implementing social change. Along the way, we discuss why we should care where our clothes comes from and the importance of restoring the UK manufacturing industry. I loved this interview, it moved me and made me think about the enormous social changes that losing our factories has caused. I hope it does the same to you.
Patrick is: reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, watching: Season two of Succession and wearing a sweatshirt his nan bought from a charity shop.
Menswear from E.Tautz and Patrick Grant’s favourite footwear:
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Producer and audio engineer: Linda Ara-Tebaldi
Host: Alyson Walsh
Guest: Patrick Grant
Music: David Schweitzer
Artwork: Ayumi Takahashi
Digital technician: Tom Hole at Stirtingale
Coordinator: Helen Johnson