A COMPANY bringing clothes-making back to the North-East will start production in days, The Northern Echo can confirm.
The AMA Group, in Peterlee, east Durham, will make garments for designer brands, high street retailers and supermarkets.
Bosses say the venture will create more than 100 jobs, with production of items such as dresses, skirts, swimwear, jumpers and blouses slowly ramped up this year.
Last month, The Northern Echo revealed the firm was experiencing huge demand for posts, with more than three times the number of workers needed inquiring about an initial 20 positions.
The company aims to take on about 50 workers this year and more than 50 next year, and will set up a training division alongside East Durham College to develop the next generation of machinists.
The firm is run by directors Paul Watts, David and Julie Price and two other directors, with its presence a major boost to a County Durham employment landscape that once boasted clothing makers Astraka, Sara Lee, Courtaulds, Dewhirst and Ramar.
Mrs Price, who ran lingerie business Essensual Lingerie after Claremont Garments UK closed its manufacturing sites, said: “By creating jobs in the UK, families and their friends who are skilled in the industry can take advantage of the posts and earn money.
“The UK is synonymous with quality and design and we have never lost the young designers.
“They are still coming through and that's why we want to provide a vehicle to help some of them get out there and into the marketplace.
“We are in an area that has huge expertise and history in this sector and we want to be the best.”
Mrs Price said shoppers are increasingly aware of the perceptions surrounding poor working conditions in overseas textile operations, with manufacturers facing rising costs to buy products from abroad and reduced flexibility from Far-East countries.
She added: “The sector was at the heart of the North-East for years and particularly in east Durham, but when retailers started looking overseas in a bid to reduce costs, it became none-existent.
“However, we are becoming much more conscious of where our clothing comes from and that has made retailers look at their suppliers.
“Companies are becoming more astute and people are thinking about where they spend their money and how they can get value for it.”