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Hackney Revival: We’re in touch with our roots

For most people visiting Hackney Wick for the first time (especially for out of towners), the area may look like a cluster of old warehouses and factories, adorned with graffiti and left abandoned. But if you stay for a while and take in the area, you’ll start to discover the creative buzz that is hidden within each building. Open one door and you’ll stumble across a micro-brewery, open another and you’ll see an art studio. Performance spaces, fringe theatres and a Michelin star restaurant are just a few of the ventures that have brought what was once a skeleton of the industrial era, back to life.

When you come down Wallis road, and acclimatise yourself to the breath-taking murals on display, you’ll find us nestled in the middle of what is now considered one of London’s most creative neighbourhoods. But it is not only the present day that shapes our identity. The history of Hackney Wick has a heavy influence on who we are and what we do.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Hackney Wick was a hub for the textile industry, with numerous factories producing everything from woollen goods to silk ribbons. Many of these factories were built along the River Lea, which provided easy access to the waterways and canals that were used for transport at the time. Our very own factory backs onto this river where you will frequently see house boats making their way to and from the River Thames.

During World War 2, the area was heavily bombed due to its heavily established stronghold on British manufacturing. Below you can see a bomb site of the Clarnico confectionary factory which would have stood opposite our premises.

Hackney Wick during the war

But the resilience of Britons was strong and in the latter end of the 20th century, the garment industry in Hackney Wick bounced back and became more focused on producing ready-to-wear clothing, such as dresses and suits, for the mass market. Many small-scale garment manufacturers set up shop in the area, often working out of small workshops or even their own homes. In the 1970s and 1980s, the garment industry in Hackney Wick experienced a decline due to competition from cheaper imports from overseas. Many factories and workshops closed down, and the area fell into decline.

However, in recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in garment manufacturing in Hackney Wick, driven in part by a growing demand for sustainable and locally-produced fashion. Today, there are a number of small-scale garment manufacturers and fashion designers based in the area, producing everything from bespoke suits to eco-friendly streetwear. The yearning for British made goods combined with our factory situated in a lively creative area is the perfect cocktail for producing clothing that is quintessentially British that benefits from the inspired community around us.

Present Day Hackney Wick