Behind the scenes at the clothing business bringing fishing flair back to Lowestoft
PUBLISHED: 08:52 11 July 2019 | UPDATED: 08:52 11 July 2019
A clothing company which pays homage to Lowestoft's rich fishing heritage has begun operating in the town.
Blackshore British Coastal Clothing has moved into its new premises on Whapload Road, once the beating heart of Lowestoft's historic fishing village.
Founded in 2017, the company prides itself on helping to revive garment manufacturing and using materials that originate from within the British Isles.
With production under way in an old fishing net factory, co-founder Simon Middleton says he is eager to bring a growing fashion trend back to its spiritual home.
"We're going to be making men's casual wear, what's known as work wear," said Mr Middleton. "It's the sort of clothing people would've worn on the docks 100 years ago.
"Initially we were going to make clothing around the country, but doing it locally is in line with what we're trying to achieve and renting an old fishing net factory gives us somewhere with a story.
"Our products are beautifully made and some have been shipped out for delivery, so we're officially up and running. It's a small operation at the moment, but potentially a really exciting one."
As Blackshore salutes the industry which once helped Lowestoft thrive, there is a desire within the company to give something back to the town.
"Our first machinist has started but we're looking for more," added Mr Middleton. "Ultimately we want to create jobs and eventually open up a shop.
"Sustainability is very important and there are no plastics involved in production - even the packaging is made from old sails.
"We're based in the Heritage Action Zone and the people behind that have been very supportive. In fact, everyone in Lowestoft has been really positive and welcoming."
In addition to accommodating his own company, Mr Middleton envisages the factory space becoming an artistic hub for local talents.
"The factory is too big for what we need, so I'm trying to find local craftspeople to rent little studio spaces," he said.
"If possible, I'd like to create a little arts community for those who want to get out of their back bedrooms and instead work alongside like-minded people.
"I'm also on the hunt for another investor, someone to really get things off the ground, someone who is all about creating jobs and sustainability."