Northern Clothing and Textile Network launch a roaring success

The launch of the Northern Clothing and Textile Network, a collaboration between David Reay of and Design Network North, was nothing short of successful with nearly 100 attendees and positive feedback from all involved.

Katie Olvanhill, speaker at NCTN launch. ©Burns-Rowatt Photography and Design Network North
Katie Olvanhill, speaker at NCTN launch. ©Burns-Rowatt Photography and Design Network North

The day-long event had speakers from Berghaus and the Manchester Fashion Institute, as well as some local entrepreneurs, and ended with workshops on e-commerce, social media, virtual reality and finance. 

The day also included the official launch of the Northern Clothing and Textile Network website, and is the first of many similar events that will happen over the next year.

Design Network North, who hold the ever-popular monthly networking event, Rise and Design, had originally teamed up with David Reay for a ‘Clothing and Textiles’ themed event back in June. Not only was the event a success, but many of the guests expressed an interest in exploring the potential for a dedicated northern clothing and textile network, leading to creation of the network and its launch.

The launch event, described by attendees as "inspiring and forward-looking", was also attended by the 20 founders of the network, having contributed their ideas and thoughts on important issues such as product innovation, new market opportunities, advances in manufacturing processes, technologies and materials, skills and infrastructure, along with other guests from across the region.

David chose to work with the team at Design Network North, the obvious collaborators on the project, as they host a highly successful design network for the region.

David said: “Design Network North is respected in the region as the go-to place for the design and creative industries. Successful collaborations, projects and profitable business relationships have started there. I want the members of the Northern Textile and Clothing Network to benefit from the same approach.”

Both parties are looking forward to seeing how the Northern Clothing and Textile Network can benefit the region and encourage growth in the sector.

 “This is a great way for us to start the debate about the opportunities and challenges facing the clothing and textile industry in the North of England” said David.

“I want the network to be a source for great business as well as a source for great knowledge.”

Design Network North’s Network Manager Terry McStea said: “Supporting and encouraging local creative businesses is exactly what we were set up to do and, with David’s extensive knowledge and expertise in the fashion sector, we can help get clothing and textile businesses from around the region together for collaboration and to share ideas.

“This is a sector that is enjoying significant growth and we want to support it in any way we can”

©Burns-Rowatt Photography and Design Network North
©Burns-Rowatt Photography and Design Network North

David Reay has 35 years of experience in the clothing and textile industry, and has held senior posts with J Barbour & Sons, Jockey International and many other well-known international brands. David hails from the North East of England and is committed to furthering the renaissance of the clothing and textile industry in the North.

Design Network North, a project delivered by RTC North, was established in 2007 with the aim of increasing the contribution that design makes to the economy. They firmly believe that great design can improve any product, service or business. They support local businesses and their design projects in a variety of ways, through funding, workshops and one-to-one support.

The next Northern Clothing and Textile Network event is in February 2017. Would you like to be involved? Get in touch




Design Network North is part of RTC’s new programme called ‘Designing Better Business’ – launched in 2016 - which will provide support for north east businesses looking to continue to innovate and design better world leading products.
RTC was founded in 1989 with the sole purpose of helping businesses innovate and create new higher value products. Today, the business operates out of offices in Sunderland, Gateshead, Leeds and Daresbury and specialises in helping companies develop new products, embed new skills through training and access funding for innovation.
Designing Better Business’ is part funded by European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020