From a coal shed to a 12,000sqm factory in Leicester, this is how CWT came to be.
When our grandad and his brother found an overlock and lockstitch machine, the resourceful pair started using it to fix their clothes. They built up their skills, honed their knowledge, one stitch at a time and eventually, they signed a lease for their own factory.
They started making jersey wear and 3 generations later we are still at it.
I’m Karendeep and I basically grew up in the factory. My earliest memory of the factory is when my mum took me. I remember walking through doors and seeing everyone put down their tools to come and say hello. My brother and I would play hide and seek in the fabric warehouse, jumping between piles of materials and watching all the goings on.
When I was growing up, work chat was all we ever heard around the dining table. My dad and grandad would talk about the day's challenges and what was planned for the rest of the week.
I spent school holidays working in the factory. I remember the trolleys that were used to carry the rolls of fabrics from the sewing machines to the pressing room; their squeaky wheels would get tangled in the loose threads that always ended up on the factory floor. My job was to cut the threads from the wheels, which would take me hours. Eventually I graduated from cutting threads to WD40’ing the wheels – I was reluctant to do the work but I do remember feeling happy knowing the trolleys were running smoothly across the factory floor.
I have vivid memories of Friday afternoons in the factory. The bell would go at 12:30pm and there would be a mass exodus. At that time, the factory was sandwiched between the Crown Hills pub on one side, and a supermarket on the other. As everyone left for the weekend, the men would walk straight towards the pub and all the women would walk towards the supermarket.
I’d watch them go their separate ways as I helped my dad to lock up the factory and then we’d both go and join the others in the pub. My standard order was a packet of crisps and a bottle of coke. I remember watching the men, pints in hand and keeping watch out the window for their wives who would reappear with bags full of shopping and looking for their husbands.
I’d say the idea to start a clothing brand was always in the back of my mind but I didn’t want to stay in Leicester. I went to London to study real-estate finance at university and at that point, I had no desire to work in textiles.
My father passed away three months after I graduated. Fresh out of university and with no job, I moved home to Leicester and went to help my brother work in our family’s factory.
I had plans to start my own brand using the resources and contacts I’d gathered over the years but I quickly realised it was a lot more difficult than it looked. Instead, I saw an opportunity to work with start-ups because there were no other factories willing to make clothes for small brands.
Over the years we’ve worked with literally hundreds of small businesses, making quality clothes that are designed to last. We’ve learned a lot about top-quality clothing in our decades of manufacturing. We know every fit, fabric, stitch, flaw and process going. We KNOW jersey wear, inside out.
CWT is building on the business our family started in a coal shed family’s ties but it’s also a way of showing how clothes can be made with care and knowledge so that you will understand their value and feel good choosing them.
Posted on February 28, 2023