Friends start a workwear brand that sells to women working in outdoor trades
Two friends from Cheshire are behind a new sustainable clothing brand aimed at women in the trades as well as those who enjoy more outdoor manual work like gardening or farming.
Entrepreneur Flavia Paterson and award-winning gardener Arabella Hill are co-founders of Paterson and Hill, which they created during lockdown and launched last September.
Made by textile experts Cookson & Clegg in Blackburn and Teemill on the Isle of Wight, the clothing range uses sustainable, circular fabrics and technical details to not only cater to the growing number of women in traditionally male-dominated occupations , such as agriculture, but also the large number of new gardeners and DIYers following the pandemic.
“Since the pandemic, 3 million women have taken up gardening and ONS statistics show there are growing numbers of women in skilled trades such as agriculture, engineering and construction” , said Flavia, who is also a director of Quantum Communications.
“Yet there is no sustainable clothing range that meets their needs, so they shop at big box stores or try to find menswear that fits them.”
The time for the light bulb to create a new range came from Arabella. While working on an award-winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, she was struck, as she stood in the middle of a construction site, that the men working alongside her were largely dressed in clothes that didn’t look like not to her.
She wanted flexible clothing for the type of manual work she does week in and week out that was durable, practical yet flattering and eco-friendly.
She mentioned the idea to Flavia who had spent years working in the energy and forestry industries, where she had also discovered that safety clothing was largely geared towards men.
“We talked about it one night and realized there was a void in the market,” Flavia said.
“Finding clothes for women working in physical outdoor spaces was difficult.
“I worked in the energy sector and the forestry sector for several years and found that if the men were taken care of and equipped, I had to find the smallest pair of boots or jacket that was still a little big.
“We did a lot of research and focus groups in London, Manchester and Edinburgh and the feedback was that there was a gap in the market.
“A woman was buying three pairs of jeans a year from Primark, which didn’t last long.
“For us, it was about getting him to buy a pair of good quality, durable pants that would last for years.”
The core line includes pants that have been ‘field tested to destruction’.
Not only is it high waisted, it’s made from durable yet stretchy fabric and features nine pockets that can carry everything from notepads to tools.
They also sell organic tops that can be recycled after use and reinjected into the circular economy.
Flavia added: “One of the things I love most about our range is that it’s suitable for so many different uses, you can use them in trades but also if you’re just walking the dog or dig in the garden.
“Sustainability also plays a huge role in what we do. It’s not a fad to throw away, it’s made to last and it’s made not far from our home in Cheshire”
Arabella said: “We made many changes to our designs and tested them extensively in the field.
“We want to revolutionize workwear for women who work and enjoy the outdoors, but also for skilled indoor trades such as plumbers, decorators or mechanics.
“We want to showcase the incredible women in these fields and how their clothing should not only be fit for purpose, but respect the environment.”