Cutting edge fashion enterprise is to be launched in Plymouth

Plymouth College of Art and Millfields Trust are 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, complemented by £96,000 funded by the Social Enterprise Investment Fund from Plymouth City Council.

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 re-imagine how a fashion factory can drive economic and community regeneration.
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 recruiting a studio manager to establish the sampling unit and training facility. Whoever is appointed will become the driving force behind the company and will 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.

About Power to Change
Power to Change is an independent trust, whose funding is used to strengthen community businesses across England. At a time when many part of the UK face cuts, neglect and social problems, we are using our £150 million endowment from the Big Lottery Fund to help local people come together to take control, and make sure their local areas survive and stay vibrant. Follow Power to Change on Twitter at @peoplesbiz and visit our website for the latest community business news.
About the Big Lottery Fund
– The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
– Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. Every year we fund 13,000 small local projects tackling big social problems like poor mental health and homelessness.
– Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.

Plymouth College of Art is a specialist independent Higher Education Institution (HEI) run by artists for artists. Founded in 1856, the college, which is a Founding Associate of Tate Exchange, offers a range of Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Pre-Degree study across Art, Design and Digital Media – combining over a 160 years of history with up-to-the-minute thinking and cutting-edge facilities. Our two city centre campuses are also home to the public Gallery and Fab Lab Plymouth, and we offer a range of short courses, masterclasses, and National Art & Design Young Arts Club. The college is a UK Advisory Council Member of the Creative Industries Federation, a Member of the Crafts Council Advisory Group and a Steering Group Member of the Cultural Learning Alliance. In June 2017, Plymouth College of Art was awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark by Social Enterprise Mark (CIC). This is the only internationally available social enterprise accreditation scheme, enabling organisations to prove they are in business primarily to create benefits for people and planet, providing a guarantee of a commitment to creating positive social change.

More than 2,500 students study at our campuses in the heart of Plymouth. Expert tutors share their expertise, while encouraging students to develop their own creative strengths. We continue to invest heavily in specialist resources and facilities – for digital media and technology, as well as fine art and handcrafted traditions. Our college has strong links with the creative industries and wider community. So our students have the opportunity to connect with a range of artists and potential employers from day one.

The Plymouth Continuum of Creative Learning and Practice
In 2013 the college founded the city-centre all-through free school for 4 to 16-year-olds Plymouth School of Creative Arts. Together the school and college have established a radical and progressive continuum of creative learning and practice in the region that extends from early years to Masters level study. The school’s award-winning landmark building The Red House was formally opened by Tate Director Sir Nicholas Serota who hailed the opening as “a historic event in the history of education in this country”.

In response to the ongoing drive to marginalise the creative arts in mainstream education within the UK, Plymouth School of Creative Arts was established in an art school ethos of an approach to learning-through-making in all subject fields, through experiential and performative education, working with the intrinsic motivation of learners towards the practice and application of their knowledge and creative intelligence. Through its emphasis on making, the learning ethos of the school draws upon and develops intrinsic motivation, and every learner is thus involved in an open research inquiry they themselves direct through making.

Among UK presentations including UK Government Cabinet Office and HEFCE, Plymouth College of Art has been invited to present the creative learning continuum project internationally at Confindustria Veneto; OECD; Beijing Design Week; Révélations (Paris, Grand Palais); Loheland Stiftung (Germany); Ateliers d’Art de France, Cheongju International Craft Biennale; Shanghai University; and the 4th KEASS Sino–British (International) Creative Education Forum in Chengdu (China).

Films about Plymouth College of Art
Henry Ward (dir.) Thinking Making (2017) Freelands Foundation:
Clare Hughes (dir.) The Red House (2016) Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios:


First published in the Plymouth Magazine – March 2018

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