All About Us
Our garments are Made in Britain and always will be
Our roots deep in the textile industry in the North West of England and we are passionate about maintaining clothing manufacture in the UK.It is industry that made our nation great and now we very excited to see a return to great design and manufacturing in the UK. This is what we do and it’s what we do best
How and Why life&heritage was created
Steve has lived and breathed fashion from the age of 12.
1970-Steve was introduced to the rag trade at the tender age of 12, when he started helping out at the local mill, in Stockport, where his mother was a machinist. He spent more time at the mill than he did at school and truly learnt the trade from the ground up. He was an extremely ambitious and enterprising young lad and his first foray into business was buying seconds from the mill and selling them to friends for a good profit.
1972-He started in the inspection & packing room, moving on to laying up the fabric by hand, and by the age of 14, much to his mother’s anguish, he was cutting out material with an Eastman knife. He was well liked there and by the age of 16 an opportunity came up as an apprentice cutter with a menswear manufacturer in the same mill. Eager to learn more about patterns and how the garments fit together, he took a cut in his wages and moved two floors up in the mill to work in fashion. It was during his teenage years that his love for fashion was born. He was not satisfied with clothing he could buy in the shops, and so started making his own garments, inspired by the style of David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust. He always wanted to stand out from the crowds and be different.
This ethos has underpinned everything he has done in his career to date and remains at the heart of life&heritage today.
1974-A matter of weeks after starting his apprenticeship, the main cutter was let go and Steve was on his own running the cutting room.
He worked late every night to keep up and had to learn fast how to grade patterns. His boss 'Herb' was a great help and took the time to show Steve all he knew about patterns, he also spent time with the machinists watching and learning how they put garments together. After six months, a new cutter arrived and Steve took the opportunity to apply for a significant promotion at another mill. Steve moved on but stayed friends with Herb and helped him out most evenings after finishing a day’s work at his new job.
1975–Steve was now one of four cutters and soon earned the respect of his colleagues, despite being the youngest, at just 17. His new Boss, Mr Ashton (known as 'Father') took him under his wing and taught him his ways of pattern making. He was the best at lay planning and his methods saved the company a fortune on fabric usage. Never one to overlook a business opportunity, he asked if he could have all the small remnants that were being thrown away. At the height of the punk rock era Steve started to make punk jeans for kids.They were an instant hit and his boss stocked them in his own outlets.
1979-After several years of working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, Steve collapsed of exhaustion. At the age of 21 he decided it was time to go it alone. He found a work room, and two machinists and began designing children's wear. He showed a wholesaler his first designs and got an order for 5000 per style. He told the wholesaler it would be difficult for him to fund such a big order and he would have to employ more staff. The wholesaler said “do your best, deliver every day if that is easier and I will pay you on delivery”.This is one man that Steve will never forget -Shami who went on to become the founder of Joe Bloggs.
This is one man that Steve will never forget -Shami who went on to become the founder of Joe Bloggs.
Soon afterwards, Steve learned that a cutter from the old mill was also planning to set up a factory. Rather than compete, the two joined forces and built up a team of 30 machinists making children's clothing under the brand Moody Blues. Over the next 2 years, Moody Blues made children's wear and started to make mens & ladies clothing for wholesalers and independent retailers like William Hunt.
Steve enjoyed working with Willy, and took inspiration from the original detailing that he put into his garments, to make them stand out from his competitor.
Steve became dissatisfied working as a partnership and had itchy feet to go out on his own and do something different.
He walked away from Moody Blues and started True Blue, designing and manufacturing denim shirts. These were very popular with the wholesalers in Manchester, particularly Pennywise, which later became Joe Bloggs. Steve designed garments for them and many other wholesalers under various labels, all the time increasing his output, but unfortunately leaving him with no time to develop a brand of his own.
One of the team at Joe Bloggs approached Steve to supply his retail outlet. He had excellent industry contacts and in order to grow the factory Steve teamed up with the retailer. Steve started designing shirts that were daring and different. They proved to be too different for Joe Bloggs but a rival wholesaler placed huge orders. This spurred Steve on to invest all his profits in growing the production capacity of his factory from 600-1000 shirts per week to 8000 shirts per week.
Steve’s old boss Herb was retiring from the rag trade, so Steve bought the old factory where he worked as an apprentice, giving him a ready made factory, with staff he knew and trusted.Steve’s reputation for unique designs and quality garments grew and orders were coming in thick and fast, including from major high street retailers. Steve began contracting work out on a regular basis, using around 8 factories to help with production to meet demand. Steve’s designs were frequently seen on TV personalities and soap stars.
At the height of his success, Steve suffered a major setback. His partner defrauded the company and he lost everything. Steve had orders to fulfil and customer’s relying on him. So he took out a large loan and started again from scratch. He worked hand to mouth with one of his best customers, who stuck by Steve and his unique designs by paying above the market rate per garment to support him through this difficult time. The garments continued to speak for themselves, they were ahead of current trends, and were worn by pop stars of the moment. A notable moment in these tumultuous times, was when he took his daughters to a Boyzone concert andthey came on stage wearing his shirts.
1992- After 18 months of working closely together, this customer started to mess him around with payments. They let him down badly, owing him a lot of money. Disillusioned, Steve decided to take a break from shirts and try something new. Steve branched out into knitwear.Steve’s penchant for unique detailing and quality garments soon translated into orders for 1000’s of jumpers each week. However, with manufacturing costs soaring and foreign imports flooding the market, it became a struggle to stay afloat. Many of Steve’s competitors turned to the import market, however this was one bridge too far. Steve gave up his factory and started doing anything he could to make a living and support his family.
After a 15 year break, Steve was frustrated that his talents were being wasted, so he started to make his own garments. Immediately people were asking where he bought them from, they were like nothing they had ever seen before. They couldn’t believe that he had made them himself. Everyone around him was telling him that he must get back into the trade he knew best. People were getting bored of the drab menswear on sale in every high street store up and down the country and this gave him the confidence that there was a market out there for his unique design.
Not content with producing garments overseas, Steve scaled down his ambitions and focused on designing shirts and establishing links with a local factory where his garments could be produced to an extremely high quality.
Steve hand makes all the samples and a small number of limited edition shirts, and continues topush theboundaries of fashion with his fabulous designs