Hiut Jeans: Re-activating a town’s skill base

Heartwarming to see livelihoods and skills being saved and reactivated. Live local, make local, shop local.

The Earthbound Report

Last year my family rented a house for a week near the small Welsh town of Cardigan. It’s a small town of 4,000 people, on the coast and kind of in the middle of nowhere. In the past it was a significant port, but that was a long time ago. More recently, it had a textiles factory, Dewhirst Ladieswear, making jeans for Marks and Spencer. It was a significant employer, with 400 staff and a production rate of 35,000 pairs a week.

In 2002, the company decided to move its production overseas. It was profitable – making £23 million that year – but wages are cheaper in Morocco. “We were called to meet the managers this afternoon,” an employee said at the time, “and when we saw their faces we realised that something was wrong.” The staff were given 90 days notice and the last jeans factory in…

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