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Posted 02.02.18

Makers HQ – Reinvigorating fashion manufacture in Plymouth

By Phillip Buchan
Plymouth College of Art and Millfields Trust are jointly launching a new venture, Makers HQ, a unique and visionary community interest company created to provide cut, make and trim services to the fashion industry, with a strong focus on achieving ethical, British manufacture.

Power to Change, the independent trust supporting community businesses in England, provided £184,000 of funding to make the project possible. This is complemented by the £96,000 funded by Social Enterprise Investment Fund from Plymouth City Council.

The city of Plymouth has a rich heritage in fashion and textile manufacture, with the Millfields Trust HQ building on Union Street formerly acting as home to the Jaeger clothing factory, until its closure in 1997. Plymouth College of Art and Millfields Trust are working together to reignite the fashion manufacturing sector within the South West and reimagine how a fashion factory can drive economic and community regeneration.

Fashion students at Plymouth College of Art work in our extensive and integrated fashion studio spaces, where they have access to drawing studios, digital design workshops and media resources

Makers HQ will bring together academic institutions, businesses, designers, makers and members of the local community to create a sustainable and innovative new business model for the fashion and textiles sector in Plymouth. The company aims to drive community regeneration, initially within the Stonehouse area, through job creation, increased retention of highly-skilled graduates and training opportunities.    

250 jobs were lost 21 years ago when the Jaeger factory closed, with a large number of those skilled workers still residing in the area. Plymouth has a heritage of making and manufacturing, and Plymouth College of Art and Millfields Trust hope that Makers HQ will help to re-establish the city’s historical links to the fashion industry.

To help launch the ambitious project, Makers HQ are currently seeking to recruit a Studio Manager to establish the sampling unit and training facility. Whoever is appointed will become the driving force behind the company, so will need to have previous experience of working with fashion brands, an excellent understanding of the requirements for a successful business start-up, and a working knowledge of industrial machines and pattern cutting. The closing date for applications is Monday 12 February 2018.