A CORPORATE clothing company started from the back of a van 21 years ago is making sure staff on the leading TV talent show have the X Factor.

Workwear Express, founded by managing director Andrew Ward when he was 17, has just completed branded clothing for the upcoming series of the ITV X-Factor show.

It is the second year the firm, based at Belmont, Durham City, has been contracted to provide the uniforms for staff working on the programme.

Other recent contracts for the company, employing around 45 staff and supplying more than 8,000 customers, include clothing for Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Nokia and Britains Got Talent.

It is the latest success for the firm, which recently expanded into adjoining premises to enable it to increase production and launched a new division, Printwearstore.com, for promotional wear used by event organisers, charities and marketing departments.

Mr Ward said: "We have done it for a couple of years, we do it for a number of television shows such as Britain's Got Talent.

"We have a very varied range of customers that we work for."

Mr Ward started his business, which now has a multi-million pound turnover, in 1990 after buying an old van and travelling the UK selling workwear.

The firm won the X factor contract after being recommended by another client.

Our work is a mixture of both tendering and recommendations, with the X Factor coming to us. A lot of our customers come through recommendation, but we also have an active sales force, he said.

We have just done a massive roll out for Rolls Royce engineering around Europe and we are designing a new uniform for Aston Martin.

Mr Ward said the status of companies it attracted work from helped it to win further orders.

He said: "Without a doubt, it certainly helps when people see the calibre of the clients we deal with.

"But it is not just big firms, we do work for smaller companies as well and we treat everybody equally.

"A lot of our customers have been with us since we first started."

Despite the tough economic climate Mr ward was expecting the firm to grow again this year.

He added: "We are looking at around 20per cent to 30 per cent growth this year and creating the extra jobs that will go with that and to get the new division firmly established.

"The work wear side is very well established and has been around for a long time, but there is a lot of competition out there with everybody tightening their belts. It just makes us work even harder."