Patrick McDowell

The sustainability champion.

AW Hainsworth continue to show their support for emerging fashion designers, with the latest unique collaboration with sustainability-led designer, Patrick McDowell.

The Liverpool born designer graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2018 before his final year placement at Burberry where he worked with discarded fabrics, igniting his natural interest in the importance of using ethically produced materials.

Through his latest collection, Patrick has married his Northern heritage with his focus on ethical and British fashion to release his second collection; Firefighting Aunties. The collection uses authentic traditional Firefighting cloth, produced by AW Hainsworth, after supplying fabric and wool to the fire brigades of Britain for over 100 years.

His inspiration came from his father’s firefighting career and mother as well as his Great grandmother and six Great aunties who all worked in cotton fabric mills in Lancashire. As a working class Northerner, Patrick wanted to collaborate with a mill based in the North and even more so when he realised the mill’s heritage and links to the firefighter theme of his collection.

Patrick formed the basis of a coat in his collection with the remnants of modern firefighting fabric used today, giving him the opportunity to showcase his talent for creating original yet sustainable fashion that suits his aesthetic. Patrick says: “When I was introduced to AW Hainsworth, I immediately realised how perfectly suited the mill and its heritage was to my collection. From the focus on firefighting, my northern roots, to the quality and sustainability of the fabric; it made perfect sense to collaborate with them on this collection.

“I grew up with a full time working mother and a firefighting father who worked shifts and this collection re-imagines my mother and her five sisters as firefighters. As we so often see that the strong women in our lives put out the ‘family fires’ and rescue us from our troubles, I wanted to create a physical representation of the work so many women do every day around the world.”

“The mill is a fantastic supplier and really supports British designers and sustainable fashion so having the opportunity to use spare, waste fabric really suited my aesthetic and is also a great way to drive the message of sustainability and recycling. I want to produce beautiful clothing that makes people feel special, comfortable and above all content knowing that no damage was caused through creating them.”

The collection mixes pieces inspired by Patrick’s mother and auntie’s favourite outfits with strong outerwear and tailoring based around his father’s firefighting career. Sustainability sits at the core of Patrick’s designs as he strives to reinvent luxury clothing through an ecological mind set. He is also a strong advocate for reducing the fashion industry’s global impact through designing with moral practice.

Patrick showcased his collection at Helsinki Fashion Week in June 2019 – the Nordic event spotlights sustainable designers from around the world, thereby drawing an unconventional crowd of stylish locals and overseas guests.