Northern Clothing and Textile Network Event Roundup

March 2018

The Northern Clothing & Textiles Network event once again brought entrepreneurs, designers and creatives with an interest in the clothing and textiles sector together to collaborate and hear from renowned speakers as well as to celebrate each other’s success and achievements.

The half day-long event commenced with Terry McStea, Head of Design Network North and David Reay, Chair of NCTN welcoming delegates and introducing the agenda for the morning.
The event had speakers from Blackshore, Assyst Bulmer, Optitex and Wreckreation sharing interesting stories from their experience to date as well unveiling some of the secrets behind the success of their brands, providing some invaluable real-life examples from their experience.

Simon Middleton told us the story behind the foundation of his brand Blackshore, which started at the window table of a cafe down on the harbour in Suffolk, and talked the audience through the exciting journey it’s gone, right from its foundation until nowadays.

Taking inspiration from the fishermen and boat builders, and from their very own adventures along the coastlines of Suffolk and Norfolk, Simon and his partner Andy have created the definitive British coastal clothing brand for men who seek premium, British-made casual clothing with a timeless style. Supporting the resurgence of British manufacturing, their entire collection is designed and made in Britain.
Next up we had Geoff Ward from Assyst Bulmer, who shared some invaluable insight as to what it takes for a business to be leaders in cutting technology for almost forty years. Geoff told the delegates about their advanced cutting equipment, used on everything from textiles and upholstery to Kevlar and carpets, and together with Jamie Symon from Optitex demonstrated their design software that can take you from initial sketches to graded patterns and even a 3d visualisation showing how the fabric will drape.

Following Geoff and Jamie, Sally Smallwood, Chief designer, clothing fabricator and pattern producer at Wreckreation, took the stage to tell us the story and passion behind her brand and its mission. Taking her inspiration from sources as varied as Neitzche and motocross, Sally has created a distinctive range of custom made clothing, that inspire the wearer to ‘ reshape yourself into your ideal, through the power of your will’. She also showcased her latest range of ‘Illuminator’ jeans that incorporate flexible LEDs.

The main event was followed as usual by lots of networking, which for many of the delegates is just as valuable as the presentations, and allows them to connect with other clothing designers and manufacturers, and to explore wares for collaboration.

The opportunity to influence the direction of the Northern Clothing and Textile Network is open to everyone. The Northern Clothing and Textile Network, founded by David Reay and Design Network North, is a community of like-minded professionals, entrepreneurs and designers. Whilst aiming to raise awareness of the important issues for the sector such as product innovation, new market opportunities, advances in manufacturing processes, technologies and materials, skills and infrastructure, NCTN also aims to explore the connections between these factors and the impact on your business and the wider industry.