On 11th August 2017 Gillian Harrison wrote:

RIBA NW Inspiration series: Patrick Grant

I had a fantastic evening at one of the RIBA NW Inspiration series of lectures, in the company of (TV and Savile Row’s own) Patrick Grant. His story, one of talent, hard work and not a small amount of risk and good fortune (as well as a desire to try his hand at anything and everything), is one familiar to lots of us within creative industries. He also mentioned something about the struggle to make a profit…

Of particular note was that once Patrick’s various brands, all offshoots from the original Savile Row tailor Norton & Sons, did start to make a profit thanks in large part to Debenhams, he did not rest on his laurels. Patrick is passionate about British manufacturing and his higher end and bespoke brands use all British made cloths and manufacturers wherever possible. When one such manufacturer, Cookson & Clegg, operating in Blackburn since 1860, was in danger of going out of business, Patrick stepped in. British factories largely cater to the higher end of the fashion market and are subject to its seasonality, filling the gap between spring/summer and autum/winter by making tea towels and oven gloves, or simply laying staff off and re-opening in time for the next collections. Patrick’s strategy to turn this around was to start Community Clothing (above), an organisation run from Blackburn, using all British manufacturers, and selling to the British market at about the same price as major retailers. The difference is that to afford to use British companies, the margins are virtually non-existent – not quite not-for-profit, but almost.

I expect the range will go down well with architects – nice, simple design (and all in muted colours!); I’ve got my eye on a crew-neck jumper and maybe a raincoat!