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Poplar Works celebrates impact despite pandemic


Poplar Works, a home for anyone working or training in fashion and making, is celebrating its first birthday with a series of online events to mark its impact since launching at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Poplar Works is a space for fashion  on Abbott Road, developed by Poplar HARCA, London College of Fashion, UAL and The Trampery in a ground-breaking cross-sector partnership.

Poplar Works’ goal is to help people and businesses reach their full potential in the fashion industry. The scheme is part of the Fashion District and is supported by the Mayor of London’s Good Growth programme.

Opening against a backdrop of lockdowns and business in decline during the crisis, Poplar Works has focused its efforts on supporting local fashion, making and creative communities to survive and thrive over the last year.

Highlights have included:

  • A growing membership, with 39 small fashion, making and creative businesses calling Poplar Works home
  • London College of Fashion, UAL’s Making for Change initiative and the Emergency Designers Network producing masks and scrubs for local hospitals and community groups
  • A range of business support offers, coordinated by The Trampery helping enterprises to navigate through the pandemic
  • London College of Fashion, UAL’s Making for Change initiative delivered its first fashion skills training programme, in collaboration with Newham College
  • Recognition of the scheme’s architectural and placemaking impacts, winning the Working Category in the New London Awards, the Pineapple Award for Contribution to Place, and being named as a regional winner in the Civic Trust Awards
  • London College of Fashion, UAL’s Centre for Fashion Enterprise has supported 7 fashion and fashion tech SMEs at Poplar Works
  • Enterprises making a home at Poplar Works include key names in fashion Bethany Williams, Sabry Marouf and Joao Maraschin alongside a wide range of creative and community-focused organisations such as RenewEL, a social enterprise that creates gardens in East London and Share Fresh, organic fruit and vegetable boxes.

Juliet Herrera, Founder of The Reclaimery, a local fashion business based at Poplar Works said:

“Poplar Works has provided a welcoming space with a good sense of community where we support each other. It has motivated me to empower the wider community and create opportunities for them through my work.”

Raju and Saadi Rahman of Wear By Local, a local fashion business based at Poplar Works said:

“We’re residents from the local area and we’ve set up three businesses since joining Poplar Works. They’ve been a great partner, enabling us to collaborate with other members in Poplar Works and in the neighbourhood, as well as being really affordable.”

First birthday celebrations will include a programme of events open to the public, running from 27 February – 16 March.  These will include the launch of the Poplar Works local business directory, social media spotlights on business owners, film premieres, making workshops, panel discussions and seminars.

To register for events, please visit Poplar Works website.

Steve Stride, our Chief Executive, said:

“With a focus on how the local economy can recover post-Covid, Poplar Works offers award-winning affordable workspace opportunities for our local community.  It is an example of how partners can work together to create amazing spaces.  When I think back to the derelict garages Poplar Works replaced a year ago, it is with a sense of pride that our community regeneration continues to support local enterprise, entrepreneurship and employment for the long term”.

Photo credit: JC Candanedo

Poplar Works