Coastal clothing firm 'coming home' with new town centre store - as Lowestoft workshop closes
PUBLISHED: 15:35 14 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:35 14 October 2019
A clothing company inspired by the east Suffolk coast is to "come home" with the opening of a permanent store, while also offering customers a rare insight behind the scenes.
Blackshore Coastal Clothing will open their doors on Southwold High Street to combine a retail area with a garment-making studio.
Months after opening a workshop in an old fishing net factory in Whapload Road, in Lowestoft, the company have set their sights on a new store to better showcase their products, closing their former workshop in the process.
Founder and managing director Simon Middleton said: "Our few months of manufacturing in Lowestoft were a fantastic start for the business, but we were located in an industrial area so it didn't get us in front of customers.
"When we held a pop-up shop in Southwold in the summer, it was obvious how much people love the clothes and our story when they can get to see and touch products and talk to the makers.
"Coming home to Southwold, where the business was conceived, allows us to give a unique experience to shop visitors: actually seeing their clothes being made.
"It's the old fashioned approach, and the opposite of soulless and unethical fast fashion.
"We think it's unique in Suffolk.
"We loved being in Lowestoft but to make it fly we need to get in front of the people who buy our clothes. It was in the face of trying to make a shop and a workshop work that inspired us to have it in one place."
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The store will showcase the company's coastal-workwear inspired clothes, while made-to-order products will usually be ready within 14 days.
Backed by two full-time garment makers, the store will open on October 26.
Mr Middleton said: "Our garment makers are highly skilled and experienced. They've made everything from wedding dresses to flying jackets and from jeans to carpet bags.
"Now they're making beautiful Blackshore clothing."
The company will also stock items from a small number of other made-in-Britain brands, as well as its own-design knitwear made in small factories in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and the Channel Islands.
Mr Middleton said: "We are looking at other brands to find complementary products, but the essential criteria are that they must be of the highest quality, with real character, and they must be made in the UK.
"I set up this business because I believe in small-scale, sustainable, UK-based making.
"I want to make great products and to create good work for local people too."
Prior to the opening, the company will hold another pop-up shop at the Adnams Cellar and Kitchen Store from Friday, October 18 to Sunday October 20.