BURY St Edmunds made the first moves this week to establish its reputation on what might be considered the high-class fashions map of Britain.
It comes with the opening of a new business, Workhouse, in St Johns Street, which is promoting the ‘Englishness’ of its garments, aimed primarily at the male market.
They are designed in Bury, made in England, from materials sourced in England, with some semi-bespoke work even carried out in Bury.
Driving force behind the business, which held opening evenings on Tuesday and Wednesday, is former Thurston school pupil Peter Leverett, who spent four years at the London College of Fashion and then went on to learn his craft in the East End garment trade, as well as operating on Camden Market.
Peter, 47, is being supported in the venture by his wife Ryoko and his assistant Jeremy Clegg.
Mr Leverett said: ‘Our knitwear comes from Nottingham and our cloth from Yorkshire and Somerset.
‘We did not want to go outside this country for our materials. We are promoting the Englishness of what we sell – it is our unique selling point.
“A lot of people do care about where things are made.”
Garments are very traditional and British and include coats, trench coats, knitwear, hats, gloves and heritage-style jumpers.
Main manufacturing base is in Hackney, in London, although some smaller works can be carried out in St Johns Street, where there is manufacturing machinery.
Garments are being designed by Mr Leverett, who includes comedian and TV personality Alan Partridge among recent customers.
The business has the facility to make small changes to its original designs, known within the trade as semi-bespoke.
‘We want to nurture the reputation of the Englishness of what we are doing,” stressed Mr Leverett.
The building in St John’s Street was a former slaughterhouse, although obviously not considered a good name for a business.
As well as a showroom, Workhouse also contains a studio where people can visit to learn more about how items are made. Only this week it received a visit by fashion students from the West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds.
You can call Workhouse on 01284 488978.