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A.M. Custom Clothing is an ethically sourced clothing company, run by alumni Alex Franklin (2012) and Michael Williams (2014). Alex, who studied Graphic Design, founded the company in 2012, alongside Michael, who studied Business Management and Entrepreneurship, after discovering that they shared a passion for producing ethically sourced clothing and making Fairtrade garments. The company continues to go from strength to strength – last year, they were recognised by the American business magazine, Forbes and featured in an article.

Alex joined us for a chat about his career since graduating and the part A.M. Custom Clothing are playing in supporting other businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic…

“I grew up in a tiny little village in Bedfordshire called Flitton; upon completion of my A-Levels, I decided to go to the University of Chester. It was the perfect combination, small enough not to be overwhelming, but big enough to provide an escape from village life! I started university in 2009 and studied Graphic Design. It wasn’t a subject I was really passionate about (although I’ve grown to love it), but something I was pretty good at, and more importantly a course that had no exams; I have a terrible memory making exams my nemesis…

“The course was brilliant, and from what I’ve seen, it was far more dynamic than design courses at other universities. There was a great focus on research and development, meaning design work that served a purpose as well as looking awesome; something I feel has served me well following university. There was also a business module in my third year, which I really enjoyed; this combined with my dissertation on how being green was good for both the planet and profits contributed to the direction I took my career.


“When I graduated from university, I had a brief stint starting and running an eco-fashion brand. It was there that I became acutely aware of the huge impact the textiles industry was having on people and the planet. I came to discover cotton was one of the dirtiest crops in the world, with the fashion industry being the second most polluting industry after oil, and responsible for using more water than any other industry minus agriculture (source).

“The employment practices of manufacturers in less developed nations often come under scrutiny in the press, but this often focuses on retailers and fashion brands. However, no one seemed interested in the millions of units produced every year for merchandise, workwear, uniforms, promotional wear. With this in mind I felt I could likely have a bigger impact if I shifted gears, into the far less glamorous world of custom printed and embroidered clothing. Supplying brands, bands, universities, charities, agencies and of course retailers. This would allow us to have a far greater impact across the entire textiles industry (fashion included).

“With a supply chain for environmentally and ethically sound production in place from my work in fashion, and a co-founder with experience in business management (Michael Williams, a fellow University of Chester graduate), it was a relatively easy shift to make. It was at this point A.M. Custom Clothing was founded, since then, we’ve been proud to have worked with some of the most forward thinking brands in the world.


Speaking at a World Merit Event to Young Change Makers

Image courtesy of World Merit.

“We now produce merchandise, workwear, uniforms and promotional wear, for clients such as Yoox Net-A-Porter, up and coming restaurant chains like Ekachai, alongside fast-growing challenger brands like Starling Bank, Castore and more. We’ve been fortunate enough to have grown to become one of the fastest growing suppliers in our sector, and now produce thousands of printed and embroidery t-shirts and other clothing items every week. The business has allowed me to not only have essentially created my own dream job, but has also resulted in a number of opportunities that I never thought would have been possible. We’ve been featured in Forbes magazine, and many other reputable publications, we’ve spoken in the Houses of Parliament about the Sustainable Development Goals, and have made a number of friends in our industry.

“That being said, at this point in time during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re currently looking to support some of those industry friends, with a campaign designed to support both our friends and competitors in the industry. We’ve rolled out an online shop with a selection of specially designed t-shirts (that design degree came in handy!), each will be made by a different print company, spreading the revenue generated to as many businesses as possible, and in turn protecting as many jobs as we can.

“I’d highly recommend starting up your own business, either in University or after, it’ll likely open many doors for you, and will be an awesome addition to your CV if you do wish to eventually get a job. In an increasingly competitive world it might be that something special that allows you to stand out. Or you may be bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, and end up sticking with it.

“If you start your own business and need some awesome branded clothing, you now know who to call! You’ll find us at”

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