Tributes paid to founder of Telford workwear company

Tributes have been paid to the founder of a Telford-based clothing manufacturer.

Mike Worthington
Mike Worthington

Mike Worthington, who died earlier this year, founded MyWorkwear, a supplier of personalised workwear, with his son James.

As the business celebrates its 45th birthday this month, the team at MyWorkwear wished to pay tribute and remember the life of its founder.

"Mike was deeply loved by his family and friends and those who had the opportunity to work with him also feel a tremendous loss," the company said in a statement.

Mike started in business as J M Worthington, at the tender age of 23, having gained professional qualifications in product design at Wolverhampton Art College.

His first product was a combined golf bag and trolley called the Clubguard Classic. It had a patented moulding which enveloped the golf club and thus prevented damage and eased selection. The bags didn’t really take off, so Mike re-utilised the golf bag sewing machine and moved on to cycle bags.

Unfortunately, the cycle industry was particularly volatile at the time so Mike decided to look for a sector that was continually in demand, and that proved to be workwear and uniforms.

Holly Worthington, Mike’s daughter, wearing Honda workwear designed and manufactured by JM Worthington
Cycle bags being produced circa 1985

Mike’s big breakthrough came when a cycle bag customer, Halfords, required a new bespoke range of coveralls for their new car centres. He secured the contract with some unique coveralls with different coloured panels on the chest and the back. The business also went on to work with Halfords to produce a range of clothing called ‘Skyway’, BMX inspired clothing designed to look as if it had just come from the circuits of Los Angeles.

Following this, Mike and his team went on to manufacture and supply bespoke garments for the many Japanese companies investing in factories in Britain, many in Telford, in the early 1980s. The garments issued from Japan did not fit the British worker so Mike worked with companies such as Panasonic, Hitachi, Honda, Nissan and NEC in Telford, to ensure a perfect fit for their teams.

And for those who remember the famed advertising campaign ‘You can’t get better than a Kwik Fit Fitter’, Mike and the team were also responsible for a line of Kwik Fit Junior Suits – mini replicas of the Kwik Fit coverall.

When the Falklands War broke out, Mike worked with the MoD to produce Gore-Tex waterproof socks to help soldiers who were suffering from trench foot during the conflict.

Business changed quite rapidly in the sector towards the end of the 1990s with the arrival of online shopping. Not one to be left behind, Mike, now joined by his son James, grabbed the opportunity with both hands launching MyWorkwear.co.uk. The business continued to strive now focusing on the supply and personalisation of uniforms and workwear for businesses around the UK.

"The story of MyWorkwear is still being written, and the team is determined that the company will continue to go from strength to strength based on the same key principle Mike adopted 45 years ago – keeping customers happy.

"And Mike’s legacy will continue to live on through the hundreds of thousands of pieces of uniforms being worn across the UK every day," the company added.

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