Our home is Glasgow, a city whose shipbuilding yards were once revered the world over. Although all but a handful of yards are gone forever, the pride in the industry is still very much alive.
Finnieston Clothing tells the story of the industrial workforces of Glasgow’s past. They carry with them the names and hallmarks that pay tribute to their home city and its heritage.
The Clydebuild Hallmark of Excellence
Finnieston Clothing represents the past and the future. A meeting of the ghosts of a bygone era holding hands with the present. A love affair stronger than the very foundations of the famous Finnieston crane.
Their clothing is designed with a nod to workwear from the heyday of the City’s River, the Clyde. They have resuscitated and revived the ‘Clydebuilt’ hallmark of excellence.
When you invest in a Finnieston garment, you are investing in a durable, high quality item that has been built to last. Fast fashion has been king for so long. it’s dictatorship reigning supreme.
The effects of its rule causing chaos and lighting the fuse of a fire which needs to be distinguished. Brands such as Finnieston are fighting back, with a passion for sustainability that one day will dethrone disposability.
Their work represents craftsmanship at its finest. This isn’t a gimmick pandering to the history and heritage of Glasgow. This is hard work and determination, brought to life.
Inspiration and Industrial Heritage
Ross Geddes, is the man behind Finnieston. Founded in 2018 he set out to create a concept highlighting the heritage of Glasgow’s shipbuilding history along the banks of The Clyde, and in particular the area of Finnieston.
All their designs tell a story relating back to this industrial heritage with old shipyard logos, on their T-shirts and sweatshirts, and jackets designed in the style of industrial work jackets that riveters would have worn.
The Clyde’s credits include the Cutty Sark clipper and battleships HMS Colossus and Repulse. The RMS Queen Elizabeth and QE2 were both constructed for luxury liner firm Cunard at John Brown in Clydebank, a town which did not exist in 1861 but by 1901 was home to more than 30,000 people.
“The brand takes a lot of inspiration from the industrial heritage of Glasgow.” Says Ross. “I’m very fortunate to have a family friend who is a Clydeside historian and author, so I spent many hours with him in his attic which is like a little museum full of incredible material for me to soak up.”
It was this treasure trove of antiquities and curiosities that illuminated a passion and desire to create a concept that brought to life the ideals of a time in history when Glasgow was at the forefront of industrial revolution.
“After seeing the old shipping company logos, the dazzle camouflage ships and the fashion from the era, I knew there was something raw and untapped. My mission was to build a collection of clothing that represented Glasgow’s rich history but remained contemporary.”
A Glasgow Heritage Brand
For Ross, the journey to Finnieston began at his parents clothing company CCW. A business which they started over 35 years ago and is still in operation today, with outdoor lifestyle stores across Scotland. Ross reminisces of working on and off in the business ever since he was old enough to wash the windows in the shop.
“I ended up working in retail side of the business which I wasn’t the biggest fan off but what I loved was taking on the role of the menswear buyer for the business. Dealing with brands like Barbour, Patagonia, Fjallraven and Northface.” He adds that:
“I had a love of building collections within the stores and saw a gap in the market for a Glasgow heritage brand, so I decided to take the plunge and start my own brand. Something that we owned and didn’t have to directly compete with anyone else.”
When Finnieston officially launched in August 2020, they were working from a spare room in Ross’s sisters flat in Shawlands. It was the overwhelming support and response to the brand they had created and the desire of people to encourage an independent business that gave him the confidence to open up and establish their own concept store.
A challenge which they took on amidst a pandemic. No mean feat. But something they have tackled head out with all the grit and determination of their forefathers. It was a bold decision to bring their brand to life. But it’s one that’s been a game changer. They have created a place where they sell great quality products that need to be touched and tried on.
At the Heart of a Community
Generations have been polluted with regurgitated high street designs, indoctrinated into a world of fast fashion and cheap clothing. We now stand though, in the middle of a movement, where there is a growing desire from society to encourage independent brands rather than continuing to feed faceless corporations often motivated by greed.
Ross understands Glasgow, the community and the importance of supporting it.
“I sat and worked out not long ago that when we opened up our shop we ended up using well over 40 local businesses. Businesses like shop fitters, upholsterers, people that fit safes, window cleaners… the list can go and on. When you put money into the pocket of someone local it helps the whole local economy.”
The idea for the Finnieston Clothing Concept Store was to create a home for the brand first and foremost. They spent their first couple of years building a loyal local following, and ultimately it’s testament to the support they received that they’ve been able to realise the goal that every brand wants – their own bricks and mortar. Which sits in the very heart of the community.
Part of the identity of the brand is to use the Concept Store as a platform for a curation of local brands and products from local craftspeople, something they are keen to grow along with Finnieston Clothing itself.
They know just how much goes into bringing a brand to market, and they are wholeheartedly committed to using that experience to create a satisfying shopping experience for everyone.
Word has travelled too. They lost track of the amount of people who come through their doors asking for products specifically from those local suppliers, something they are rightly very proud of. Whether it’s Hot Sauce, Soda, Artwork, Books, Homeware or Apparel they have something for everyone in their local collection.
The Romanticism of Nostalgia
Storytelling is a huge part of the process for Finnieston Clothing. It is ingrained into the ethos of the company and it’s what makes them so unique
“We like to research the history of Glasgow, find interesting historic details or stories, then we work out how to incorporate that into our garments.”
“We give a brief to our talented designer and collaborate on the collections and start the process from there. The sampling process can be a bit long and tedious but when a garment turns out how you had envisaged it’s a great feeling.”
Finnieston is a brand encapsulated by the romanticism of nostalgia. Most of the products have a little hidden detail of Clydeside history, whether it’s their own Dazzle Camo that is derived from a geometric interpretation of two of Glasgow’s icons, the Stobcross Crane and the River Clyde, or the genuine overtime tickets they have made into labels and hidden in their jackets and shirts or their t-shirts that celebrate the old ship building companies.”
“Our John Brown, Yarrow and Govan Shipbuilding logos are particularly popular. We also support many local mills and manufacturers around our shop which set us apart from a lot of brands. We also launched our 40k away range this winter, where all the accessories, knitwear and outerwear are made 40 kilometres from the shop.”
The Next Chapter
The journey and adventure of Finnieston Clothing is a captivating story, which has only just begun. There is still much on the horizon for a brand committed to providing the best quality apparel, footwear and accessories.
If they don’t make it, then you can be assured they are working tirelessly through the night to ensure they get it for their concept store.
Whether it’s one from of the most refined Swedish mountaineering brands in the world Klättermusen or French footwear brand Kleman whose enduring legacy spans 75 years. It is this driving thirst and ambition to deliver the best that is writing Finnieston Clothings next chapter.
They also have exciting collaboration with Clydebank Football Club expected to launch in September of this year. Finnieston Clothing has teamed up with one of Scotland’s most historic sporting institutions to design a retro football top, with proceeds going back to the Club.
They will also be producing a new collection of Made in Scotland jackets, which will be in full dazzle camouflage wax. Something that Ross believes, “will look pretty out there. But you one only live once.” It is this all or nothing attitude that encompasses the brand that make it so endearing.
Once upon a time, you may have seen black and white photographs from yesteryear showing the Clyde Shipyard in all its glory, when it was at centre of the universe. What those photographs don’t show you is the vibrant hues of their surroundings and the mountainous ships wrapped in red, painted by men in workwear built to last. Finnieston Clothing has brought all of that to life again. Marrying the past with the present. So we may see it, in all its colour and all its glory.
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