Saving a Welsh town through top-end denim
On the far western edge of Wales is a small town that was once home to the biggest jeans factory in Britain, employing 400 people in a town of 4,000. It turned out 35,000 pairs a week for three decades, but in 2002, production was outsourced to Morocco, and the town of Cardigan was left bereft until a knight in selvedge denim jeans came to the rescue.
"I want to get 400 people their jobs back," says David Hieatt, the Welsh-born entrepreneur behind Hiut Denim, the company he hopes will create these very jobs. His words are accompanied by the reassuring clatter of sewing machines at Hiut Denim's modest factory on Cardigan's outskirts. The company, which is on course to double its sales this year, was launched three years ago by David and his wife Clare. Their remit is to do one thing well: make high-end jeans from the world's best Japanese selvedge and organic denim using the expertise of Cardigan's skilled workforce.
This piece was written for Redwood, on behalf of Mazda. It was first published in Zoom-Zoom magazine in April 2014.