Some of the brightest minds in the clothing and textile industries are heading to the North East to inspire design enthusiasts in the region.

The Northern Clothing and Textile Network (NCTN) event, on 14 June, will see influential figures who are shaping the future of clothing and textile share their insights at the Northern Design Centre in Gateshead.

NCTN is a partnership between prominent industry figure David Reay and Design Network North, a project delivered by innovation and business support company RTC North.

Delegates are travelling from across the North to this Great British-themed event, and to celebrate a year since the founding of the network. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from top industry experts and representatives of the best in British brands.

Among several key speakers will be Kate Hills, founder and CEO of Make it British and a former designer and buyer for major brands such as Burberry and M&S.

Kate regularly appears on TV extolling the virtues of British manufacturing and, in 2014, founded Meet the Manufacturer – which brings together buyers and designers looking to make products in Britain.

She is joined by Simon Middleton, brand adviser to Harris Tweed Authority, creator of the Shackleton menswear brand and one of the country’s best-known brand strategy advisers; having worked with the likes of British Airways, Aviva and Pret A Manger.

He has also published three business and personal development books including ‘Build A Brand In 30 Days‘​, an Amazon No.1 bestseller in its category, described as “invaluable”​ by Director magazine.

The NCTN event will also feature a talk by Noelle Hatley, a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Manchester Fashion Institute.

Noelle previously held positions with various suppliers and worked as a designer, before moving into account management in a career that has taken in work with numerous with high street brands.

Terry McStea, Network Manager at Design Network North: “NCTN is a brilliant example of what can be achieved by simply bringing people together to learn from each other, share ideas and collaborate. When we held our first event last June, we had no idea how many clothing and textile companies there were in the region, and it turned out to be the best attended event in seven years.

“Since then we’ve seen lots of examples of people supporting each other and working together to grow their own business, and to grow the network. Clothing and textiles are almost forgotten industries, but there are lots of really talented designers and manufacturers in the region. We’re really excited by what we can achieve by working together.”

David Reay, who has held senior posts with Barbour, Jockey International and many other global brands, said: “In recent years, as I travelled round Britain visiting major high street brands and talking with early stage bespoke designers and manufacturers I sensed the first signs of a renaissance in British clothing and textile design and manufacture.

“Forming the Northern Clothing and Textile Network here in the North East is the culmination of that sense and my own personal commitment – to see the label “Made in Britain” displayed on top quality goods up and down the land.

“The North East is home to many up and coming designers, brands and manufacturers as well as longer established firms. The future for the industry in our region could be great. With the right support and nurturing we could, once again, see a healthy clothing and textile industry.”

Design Network North, delivered by RTC North, was established in 2007 with the aim of increasing the contribution that design makes to the economy. Design Network North is part of the Designing Better Business programme, which is part funded by European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

The NCTN event, which runs from 8.30am to 12 noon, is free to attend and open to all but places must be booked via www.northernclothing.org.uk.

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