Abigail Fields is a proud Middlesbrough resident and has lived here all her life. After experiencing some tragic family events, Abigail created an inspirational social enterprise company which helps recovering addicts learn the basics about the fashion and the textile industry so they can go on to have a bright future in the industry. She has even created her own patent fashion label – Katwalk Kimberleys! We caught up with Abigail to find out more.
What is Katwalk Kimberleys?
“Katwalk Kimberleys is a social enterprise with a strong social conscience to train and employ recovering addicts and ex offenders. Katwalk Kimberleys consists of a training academy teaching inmates in prison and people in the community how to draw and cut patterns, and using industrial sewing machines to make a garment. The learners gain a Level 1 certificate enabling them to work in alteration shops, factories or even to set up their own business. Katwalk Kimberleys is also in the early stage of developing a factory, this is the real heart of Katwalk Kimberleys and we will be able to employ local people.”
What inspired you to set up business
“I have lost two family members from substance misuse my nephew in 2008 and my sister in 2010. Although a heart-breaking time for all of my family, it inspired me to want to help people who have misused drugs but then become clean and are willing to turn their lives around. Some people feel that they will never get the chance of employment due to their criminal convictions (in particularly women), as a result they can end up back on the drugs and potentially back in prison. We want to prevent this by filling in their days positively, learning a trade and getting paid for it!”
What does Katwalk Kimberleys do for Middlesbrough?
“Katwalk Kimberleys is going to be brilliant for Middlesbrough as it is bringing back a trade that currently doesn't really exist in the town. It is helping to cut unemployment rates and potentially substance misuse and crime. We would like ethical fashion companies that are wanting 'Made in Britain' in their clothes to get in touch with us so we can look at manufacturing for them.”
What type of clothes do you sell make and where do you get ideas/inspiration from
“We have our own patent fashion label which is Katwalk Kimberleys! We will also have one for males which is 'Recover'. Our aim is manufacture jeans and hoodies using our own fashion labels. I love skinny jeans and I don't think they will ever go out of fashion. I have some ideas that other labels haven't thought of, so I suppose the inspiration came from myself! We are also in negotiations of making high visibility t-shirts for the construction industry, which is an idea I will keep close to my chest at the moment” (she laughs).
What do you love most about Middlesbrough
I love the different parks we have, the museums, the nice restaurants. Middlesbrough is quite economical in comparison to other parts of the country and I feel it’s a good place to live and the business people can make it even better.
In your spare time what do you get up to in Middlesbrough?
“I'm a Christian so I attend church on Sunday and take part in other Christian events throughout the week. I am about to start modern jive classes with a couple of friends, so we will see how that goes! I also spend time with my family which is important to me.
I'm passionate about Middlesbrough but more passionate about helping people less fortunate than myself. I'm a firm believer in if you’re doing well in climbing the ladder turn back and reach out your hand to help somebody to climb too.”