Supporting veterans – and UK manufacturing

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By Richard Thackray, CEO and founder, Patria, a luxury clothing company

We set up Patria to do two things. First, we want to help contribute to the resurgence in UK manufacturing. Second, we want to support UK veterans. In every sense, we want to be ‘for one’s country’ or, in Latin, ‘Patria’.

Why support UK manufacturing?

In 1912, the British cotton industry was at its peak, producing eight billion yards of cloth.  By 1958, Britain had become a net importer of cotton. During the 1960s and ’70s, a mill closed in Lancashire almost once a week.  By the 1980s, the textile industry of North West Britain had almost disappeared.

Britain’s industrial heritage is littered with similar stories where lack of investment and innovation saw the decline and even disappearance of on-shore manufacturing. But there are signs that a different sort of manufacturing is now emerging.

English Fine Cottons (EFC) was established in 2013 to create a state of the art cotton mill in Lancashire.  It is the first new cotton mill to open in the UK for 60 years. EFC uses Supima cotton from J.G. Boswell, the Californian farms of one of the world’s foremost growers. Every bale of raw cotton comes with its own unique number.  It can be traced from the day it was harvested and the very field it came from – guaranteeing its quality and provenance.

EFC’s mission is to produce British spun cotton yarn of outstanding quality to service the growing global demand for British luxury goods. Patria is now working with EFC to expand our range of cotton, heirloom pieces – items that are built to last and could be inherited.

Common across all Patria’s products is that we use the best materials and best construction. Take the Patria sweatshirt.  We knit a cotton jersey that is 80% heavier than the average, meaning a softer and more luxurious product.  Every step of manufacturing takes place in the UK. The result is, in our view and our customers’ views, the softest, most luxurious and best made sweatshirt available anywhere today.  Possibly, the world’s best sweatshirt.

Supporting veterans

As important as our support for UK manufacturing is our support for UK veterans. The British Armed Forces have been involved in dozens of major operations – from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan to anti-piracy operations around the world.  They have also been involved in many more smaller scale actions and spearhead the UK’s response to disaster relief.

At the centre of this are the servicemen and women who often make huge sacrifices for us – from missing Christmas with the family to sometimes life-changing injuries or worse.

Supporting these servicemen and women are the three major British Armed Forces Charities – the RNRMC, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.  These charities do essential work caring for serving men and women and for the children, families and veterans.

Supporting veterans through these charities is why we founded Patria. It’s why we give 10% of our profits to them. It’s why we make luxury products using the best UK manufacturers.