Southsea Clothing Co was founded by Jacob Thomas when he moved to study at the University of Portsmouth. Wanting to focus on a business idea that supported the fashion industry in a sustainable way was important to Jacob he said “Our ethos is to provide simple yet stylish apparel for fair prices as well as thinking about the environment.” So I interviewed him to find out a little more about this clothing company that relaunched itself in 2020.
Hi Jacob, can you tell our readers what made you want to start this clothing company?
I felt Southsea was a rather unique area with a strong identity that heavily supported independent businesses. Having wanted to start my own business for many years I decided I would like to start a company that capitalised on this vibrant area and related to the sea. When I moved down here I really did love Portsmouth and decided to stay here after university. I put the business on hold after my first year of uni until I had graduated as I had little time to spare between going to university full time and working in between. In December 2020 I relaunched the company with new designs and ranges, including womenswear, kidswear, and expanded menswear plus I stock additional accessories now.
Can you explain what makes Southsea Clothing different from other retailers?
All our clothes are organic and produced locally in a renewable energy powered factory just over the water on the Isle of Wight, this was something that was really important when setting up the business. I wanted it to be sustainable and to have minimal impact on the environment.
Recently our range has expanded further to include products made from recycled clothes – we have a recycled beanie, recycled t-shirts, and hoodies. I feel this is key as both part of the brand and to the sustainability of the business, in the current climate many people are conscious of their impact on the world and of their fashion. Factories typically get a bad reputation for their impact but ours is powered by renewable energy, producing our clothing using organic cotton which our farmers get a price for which is guaranteed. All our clothes and raw materials (as well as our production) is sa8000 certified which is a social accountability audit and is also Gots certified (global organic textile).
How do your products help the environment?
All our products are produced only when ordered to minimise wastage. Plastic waste is another big issue and our orders are always mailed without plastic, instead using a rip and splash-proof bmmail bag made of paper and larger orders come in a cardboard box with paper tape, all fully recyclable. This was a really important ethos for me and also many of our customers who want to get away from fast fashion and move towards sustainable brands.
What is the project about planting a tree for every tee bought?
This promotion is 1 tee one tree, where a tree is planted for every t-shirt which is bought. It is my way of giving something back to the environment and has so far proved to be a success.
Where would you like to see Southsea Clothing grow from where it is now?
My plans are to open a physical shop in the future when the pandemic has lifted and we are all in a much better place as far as the economy goes! Until then people can check out Instagram and online to place orders.
What have you found most surprising since starting your business?
The thing that’s been most amazing from a marketing perspective is the amount of local small businesses and people who are willing to help promote your brand. I feel it’s this community spirit that has made me love Portsmouth and its many independent businesses in areas like Castle Road, Elm Grove, and Palmerston Road.
Found out more about Jacob and Southsea Clothing by visiting his SM and website below.