Branding guru launches men’s clothing range inspired by life on the East Anglian coast

(From left) Simon Middleton and Andy Hilton

(From left) Simon Middleton and Andy Hilton - Credit: Archant

An East Anglian marketing guru is launching an upmarket men’s clothing range inspired by his experiences of life on the Suffolk and Norfolk coast.

(From left) Simon Middleton and Andy Hilton

(From left) Simon Middleton and Andy Hilton - Credit: Archant

Simon Middleton is best known for his motivational speaking and books on business branding but in recent years he has turned his attention to design and manufacturing.

His latest venture - Blackshore Coastal Clothing - has been inspired by his move from Norfolk to Southwold where he has spent time walking and watching the fishermen and boat builders at work. These people are based in an area of Southwold known as the Blackshore, named after the muddy tidal banks and black-tarred fishermen’s huts found there.

Mr Middleton has teamed up with business partner Andy Hinton, a round-the-world sailor from the Norfolk Broads, to design the initial collection of garments.

He says there is a gap in the market for well-made, stylish and casual clothes aimed at men aged 35 and over, and believes the brand will be attractive to discerning gentlemen.

“My take on branding is it’s about storytelling - you want people to buy into the idea emotionally,” he said.

“We wanted a style that is masculine without being macho, and that is inspired by the coast and open spaces and by men who work in old fashioned jobs with their hands.

Most Read

“We wanted something that came from a real place.”

Many items in the first collection have names relating to locations in the area, such as Walberswick trousers and Reydon shirt, and a key element of the proposition is that people who buy an item of Blackshore clothing have a lifetime repair guarantee.

Currently, the duo have had the first batch of clothes made by a number of British manufacturers and are now searching for initial investors so they can access the crowdcube crowd funding platform with the hope of eventually generating £500,000 in investment.

“We are a long way down the road, we have formed the design team and developed the website - the next stage is the investment,” said Mr Middleton who has a five-year plan to grow the business, which involves selling the clothes online before making the collection available in shop concessions. Should all go well, he hopes to sell the business after the fifth year.