WORK has officially started to bring clothes-making back to the North-East.

The AMA Group factory, in Peterlee, east Durham, is now making garments for designer brands, high street retailers and supermarkets.

The plant, which has created an initial 20 jobs, will employ more than 150 workers by 2015.

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Staff will produce items such as dresses, skirts, swimwear and jumpers at the factory, which is based on Whitehouse Business Park.

The firm is run by directors Paul Watts, David and Julie Price and two directors.

Its presence is a major boost to a County Durham employment landscape that once boasted famous clothing makers Astraka, Sara Lee, Courtaulds, Dewhirst and Ramar.

Mr Watts said: “The revival of clothing manufacturing in the North-East has begun.

“After months of planning, it's very rewarding to see it start with the first production teams.

“This is very much the start of the journey for us.

“At its peak, the industry employed thousands of people in the North-East and we firmly believe the plans we've put in place could recreate that success.

“Our first 20 workers are in place and over the coming months we will continue recruitment until we get in excess of 150 people.

“We are very excited about what the future holds.”

Mrs Price, who ran lingerie business Essensual Lingerie, added: “We will be making ladieswear for a major retailer and are in talks with other companies and well-known brands.

“There is the potential to expand as the business becomes firmly established and production is scaled up.

“We know there is a genuine demand, from retailers and consumers alike, for clothing which boasts a Made in Britain label, so I see no reason why we can't recreate the success of days gone by.”