It’s Fashion Revolution Week. Founded by Carrie Somers and Orsola de Castro, after the Rana Plaza tragedy, this year’s international campaign has over 1000 events raising awareness about ethical practice and sustainability within the clothing industry. Fashion Revolution’s #whomademyclothes initiative helps to encourage brands to consider garment worker’s health, wellbeing and working conditions and to be more transparent (get involved HERE).

With this in mind, it seemed like the perfect time to introduce you (or re-introduce you) to Community Clothing. Founded by British fashion designer Patrick Grant (a Savile Row tailor who you might also recognise from BBC 2’s Sewing Bee) Community Clothing is dedicated to manufacturing British-made women’s and menswear, creating jobs for skilled workers and restoring pride in our textile communities. And the company now has a fully transactional website. Hip, hip, hooray.

‘We have a tradition of making the very finest textiles and the very best clothes but the British clothing industry faces serious challenges,’ Grant explains. ‘For several months of the year even the best British factories are nowhere near full. This can lead to seasonal hiring and firing, zero hours contracts, or worse – factory closures.’ His solution? Use the spare capacity in slow periods to make affordable, quality clothing, and sell directly to the consumer thereby cutting out the usual wholesale and retail mark-ups.

We should all think before we buy. As I’ve said before I am a firm believer in considerate consumption, try to follow the buy less, buy better approach and advocate long term style over landfill fast fashion. It might sound a bit rich coming from a journalist whose job may seem to promote the constant purchase of new stuff, but I would always encourage shopping responsibly. We all know that fast fashion pushes prices down and that if you pay a few quid for a new dress, someone further down the supply chain is probably being exploited.

‘Every factory we work with receives a fair price for its goods, and every worker is paid at least the National Living Wage,’ continues Grant, ‘And by designing with simple manufacturing in mind, the products can be sewn in the same premium fabrics and with the same quality as the best high-end designer clothes’. The collections are simple, pared-back and cool. Think Gentlewoman Style raincoats, chinos, cotton shirts and shirtdresses. The cotton t-shirts (a steal for £22) and slim-cut selvedge jeans (£65) are made in Blackburn and the waterproofed cotton twill raincoats are manufactured in Rochdale and cost £129. I’ve got my eye on the indigo work trousers (£55) and collarless stripe linen shirt (£54.95); to help support the British textile industry, of course…

‘We want to create a cycle of positive value for workers and for customers – making clothes we can all feel proud of,’ Grant adds, ‘This means we don’t go on sale or slash our prices at the end of every season, we don’t need to entice you with an artificial bargain. Our clothes are made to last and they represent great value all year round.’

21 thoughts on “Fashion Revolution Week: introducing Community Clothing

  1. Thanks, Alyson! Try to shop ethically and always on the lookout for decent high-necked white and grey t-shirts and these look fab. Love the shirts as well. I’ve known Carry for years and she’s an amazing person.

  2. I’m all in favour of this initiative and of considerate consumption. Thanks Alyson for drawing this to our attention and other made in Britain outlets. One does have to pay more but there are added benefits The idea of buying things to keep and wear for a long time is one I follow Much shopping of my closet/wardrobe in the past week of summer time warmth. And discovering many attractive pieces of summer clothing and sandals and sunglasses and bags I already own. A little styling in a contemporary mix and newly cropped shorter bob looking okay but deliberate despite ombré grey and brown bits. Good to go with minimal waste.
    Do continue to promote similar projects.

  3. I’ve been mad about them since last year. Rain coat, navy chino, Breton shirts, T-shirts, shirts… I lost count how many I got.

  4. Brilliant – the clothes are lovely, and the fact they’re hiring and training people to boot is such great news. This is one of the reasons I love this blog (among so many, including reading all the commenters’ posts). While I live in the US, I certainly will keep my eye out for these folks when it comes time to replace pieces.

  5. What a great idea, good simple everday clothes – and the dishy Patrick Grant as well!! Just one small quibble – no actual garment measurements on products. Notwithstanding that, here’s a company I shall be happy to support.

  6. I’m so excited to find this company, I’ve just looked at their website and would love everything on it! The fact that these clothes are made ethically at an affordable price is a massive plus in my book. Thanks so much Alyson for drawing my attention to these lovely clothes!

  7. I’ve not come across this company before… love their clothes, and love how they’re made. Everyone should be paid a living wage for the work they do. Big thumbs up!

  8. The prices of so many things here in the US are artificially low, clothing chief among them. How great that you have domestic access to such an ethical brand. Unrelated: Sewing Bee???? Why doesn’t Netflix have this?

  9. Dear Alyson,
    On the subject of ethical, sustainable basics, Citizen Wolf is a great Sydney store that Ive used. They custom make tee’s to your measurements and will ship to the UK.

  10. Thank you Alyson! This could be really useful to know if I ever need a British manufactuer!
    I’ve been ‘doing my bit’ for quite a few years now and trying to raise awareness about sustainable clothing.

  11. I have recently discovered TNMA and am loving the articles. This one is great and have looked at the website and all that’s shown would fit into (not literally!) my wardrobe. More like this please.

  12. Community Clothing is the BEST! The fabrics, styles, workmanship and ethics behind the brand are first class and I cherish my clothing purchased from them. I have the fabbest woollen cardigan, the navy raincoat and the twill trousers and I couldn’t love them more if I tried. Definitely along the Gentlewoman Style route and infinitely wearable. Wash well and not ‘fashiony’. Myself, with Margaret Howell tastes but not the financing for her perfect clothing, Community Clothing fills that gap without me feeling hard done by!! Give Patrick Grant a knighthood or something, please.

  13. This is a very exciting concept, to keep high-end factories consistently busy. It’s a win for everyone from the factory owners, workers, manufacturers and the customer. This is the kind of innovation the fashion industry needs. The cyclical nature of fashion, and rigid store delivery dates create havoc for scheduling, making seasonal layoffs a part of business as usual. This is terribly unfair to the sewers. Sewing is an honorable job that requires skill and know-how. Its high time these people were given their due with fair wages and job security. The factory pictured on the Community Clothing website looks clean, comfortable and modern. This is unfortunately not the case everywhere. I’ve visited factories in China, that produce designer clothes, where the work rooms are without heat in the winter and without air-conditioning in the summer, while the offices and showrooms have both. Thanks Alyson for bringing Community Clothing to my attention, I can’t wait for them to begin shipping to the US!

  14. Once again, you demonstrate what an invaluable resource your blog is. Thoughtful fashion. It’s great to see more companies adopting this approach. Now to get consumers to follow suit, eh?

  15. Thanks Alison for raising awareness of this great initiative. Ethical practice and sustainability should be the way moving forward for fashion industry. On the other hand I also suspect that lots of companies are hiding behind those great initiatives and making fake claims on sustainability, fair trade, organic, etc. This issue should be addressed as well in early stages to make sure those initiatives grow they power and importance in consumer minds.

  16. Allison, even though I sometimes find their clothes a bit “norm core,” I respect and support people like Community Clothing all the way. As you well know, we have brands in the United States that are doing the same. The word is spreading: we can make quality things, ethically, in our own communities.

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