Former Newcastle United footballer from South Shields launches 'sustainable' clothing line
An ex-professional footballer from South Shields who started out his sporting career at Newcastle United has launched a clothing line marketed as ‘environmentally sustainable’.
Richard Offiong, 37, also played as a centre-forward for Gateshead, Doncaster and Scottish Premier League side Hamilton in a decade-long career that ended at Blyth Spartans.
Now, the South Tynesider is looking to lead a different kind of line, having co-created the Jackson James clothing company.
He told The Gazette that one of the core values guiding the menswear brand was an ‘environmentally-sustainable’ approach to production and the sourcing of materials.
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"Our Unique Selling Point is that our clothes are made using just wind and solar power-generated energy,” he said.
With a long-held enthusiasm for fashion, having previously worked as a blogger and model, Mr Offiong finally launched the business in December 2020.
He explained: “I had quite a few bad injuries during my career and decided to retire relatively young.
"With the fashion blogging work I was then doing, I’d already worked with a number of brands and had seen how the industry worked from the advertising perspective. As time went on, then, I realised it was something I’d like to do myself, but from the other side.
"All of our fabrics are 100 per cent organic and we make use of recyclable materials, so our clothes don’t all just go to landfills.
“We want to provide stylish clothes that are ethically made. We didn’t want to just be another brand that didn’t do this side of the operation the correct way.”
According to Mr Offiong, the monochromatic and minimalist design of the Jackson James garments is partly a reflection of his own fashion taste.
He says he hopes to one day open a headquarters in the North East and see the project become a significant job creator for the region.
"We’d love to be able to provide as many jobs as we can for people here,” he added.
"Often we can get overlooked in this part of the country and the economy is unstable at the moment. But it’s a key ambition of ours, to help give something back.
“The whole thing’s been a steep learning curve. It’s been tough, but it’s something we’re persevering with and we’re really happy with the way things are going at the moment.”