LOCAL COLOR: Patrick Grant is on a mission to create skilled jobs in the U.K. textile and apparel industry, and he’s taking his work a step further with plans to launch an e-commerce site for Community Clothing, a label which he founded in 2016.
Grant, who owns the men’s clothing brand E. Tautz and Savile Row tailor Norton & Sons, launched Community Clothing with the aim of making affordable clothing, creating jobs and supporting British textile communities. It uses a direct-to-consumer model and offers basics for men and women, with a focus on denim and outerwear.
“We want to sustain and create a lot of skilled jobs in the textile and garment making industry. We think we can create 5,000 in the U.K.,” he said. “We’d like it to be big because the bigger it gets, the more jobs it creates,” Grant said. “The more efficient the factories become, the lower the prices, the better for everyone. We think the U.K. market for the product we make is huge, tens of billions, and most of the incumbents are failing to deliver.”
As part of his expansion plans, Grant will launch an e-commerce site early April that will also feature behind the scenes stories and interviews with British factories and suppliers.
Lucy Clayton, chief executive officer of Community Clothing, said the company wanted to celebrate the personal stories behind the people who produce the clothing. “We work with factories where families work alongside one another, where people go on holiday together, where there is a strong sense of community and where the cultural identity of a place has been bound up in what they’ve produced for generations,” Clayton said.
“The site will feature beautiful photography of many of the manufacturers in our network, an intimate portrait of modern working Britain. We’ll be launching new products — shirtdresses and field jackets and we are broadening our denim offering. For the first time, customers can buy directly from us through the site,” she added.
Prices range from 2.50 pounds for a pair of socks to 185 pounds for a peacoat. The brand is sold via an eBay store, at the E. Tautz store in London and at Selfridges. Grant said he also plans to develop a number of new products and introduce new categories.
“Twenty years from now, I would like to see Community Clothing supporting a huge array of factories,” Grant said of his vision. “State-of-the-art manufacturers, model employers, the sort of place that young people growing up nearby would kill to work at, the sort of places that would make these towns proud.”
The model, he said, could easily work outside Britain. “The U.S. has lost two million jobs in this industry since 1974. We could make Community Clothing product in U.S. factories for the U.S. market. Exactly the same applies to Japan.”