We recently spoke to David Williams, Pattern Cutter at Cookson &Clegg about his life in the Textile Industry and his current position in Blackburn. Read the interview below:
Where are you from?
What do you do and how did you get into it?
At Cookson & Clegg I am pattern cutting. I studied Dress Design and Manufacturing at Preston Polytechnic (1973) and then worked as a womenswear designer/pattern cutter. 5 years in London, 18 years in Paris, 5 years in Manchester. For the last 15 years I’d been working off shore; Morocco, Malta & Tunisia training local workers in pattern cutting and garment technology.
What are the biggest challenges facing the textile industry up north?
The same as for the rest of the UK. Lack of skilled workers, difficult to compete, price wise, against off shore manufacturing.
What's the best thing about the Community Clothing project?
Jez who works for Bootstrap the Back to Work Agency who partner with Community Clothing to run the Blackburn shop and the packing and shipping operations. And the fact that it’s offering good quality at reasonable prices.
What do you love most about where you're from?
When I was growing up in Lancashire I always wanted to get away but now I think that it’s one of the nicest parts of the UK, the people are very friendly and the beer is cheap.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that we can get to a point where they can employ more machinists and start taking on apprentices again. My own future is retirement and being able to do all of the things that I haven’t had time to do.
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
I was told to learn how to sew so that when I designed a garment and made a pattern I knew that it could be made. Another piece of good advice was to never say that something couldn’t be done without trying to find a way.