Makers HQ appoints Sophie Glover to reinvigorate fashion manufacture in Plymouth
Plymouth College of Art and Millfields Trust have jointly appointed Sophie Glover to the role of Studio Manager for new venture, Makers HQ, a unique and visionary community interest company created to provide sampling facilities to the fashion industry and emerging designers, with a strong focus on achieving ethical, British manufacture.
Sophie has a BSc in Clothing Product Development from Manchester Metropolitan University, and has worked as Senior Technologist at Topshop, Head of the Technical Department at ASOS, and Head of Garment Technology at Finery London. She has also worked for brands including GAP and M&S.
During a career in fashion that has taken her all around the world, from Europe and North Africa to China, Morocco and Tunisia, Sophie has been involved in the manufacture of garments worn by fashion icons including Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama and Kate Moss. She has been interviewed by the BBC and Financial Times as an authority on UK fashion manufacturing.
Sophie completed a PCGE teaching qualification during her time at Finery London, acquiring invaluable skills that will help in her mission to reignite the fashion sector within the South West and use Makers HQ as a platform to increase fashion and textiles training and employment opportunities within the region. Additionally, in collaboration with Fashion Enter, Sophie set up the UK’s first National Apprenticeship in Garment Technology during her time at ASOS, where she also established the ASOS Stitching Academy to offer ABC accredited stitching skills qualification at both Level 1 and 2.
Sophie Glover said: “I was born in Brixham, Devon, and always intended to return to the South West eventually, so I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to come back with so much experience of the fashion and textile industries, so that I can share the things that I feel most passionately about, with a part of the world that I love so much.
“I have a huge amount of experience that will help me to ensure that Makers HQ is a success. From my role as Head of the Technical Department at ASOS, managing around 30 Garment Technologists and around 60 people in our Quality Control Department, to specialising in denim at Topshop’s head office and even setting up fashion brands from scratch, I’ve specialised in clothing product development and textile manufacture my whole life.
“My intention for Makers HQ is that we’re going to offer a commercially-viable, functioning sampling unit, alongside education and training facilities that can help to reinvigorate the fashion industry in the South West. My first priority will be to make a success of the sampling unit, which at its simplest level is here to support anybody interested in starting their own clothing brand. To do that you’d need a range of samples to take out to wholesalers and show to clients, essentially to allow them to make a choice about whether to stock your collection or not. And we’ll help to create those samples."
A joint venture from Plymouth College of Art and Millfields Trust, establishing Makers HQ was made possible through £184,000 of funding from Power to Change, the independent trust supporting community businesses in England, and £96,000 from Plymouth City Council’s Social Enterprise Investment Fund.
The city of 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. 250 jobs were lost when the Jaeger factory closed in 1998, 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.
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.