Young entrepreneurs put Manchester on the fashion map with men’s clothing brand Advocates


The designers hope to represent Gen Z with their approach and style and spoke about the challenges of starting a business.

Two young Manchester fashion designers founded men’s clothing brand Advocates

The founders of a new menswear brand in Manchester hope to represent the values ​​and ideas they hold dear while putting the city on the fashion map.

Advocates is the brainchild of Jack Lloyd and Elliot Stephen, 26-year-old fashion graduates and businessmen, who had the idea of ​​creating their own brand for several years before making it a reality.

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They spoke of overcoming the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic to climb the corporate ladder.

And they described how Manchester has deeply influenced their work and the clothes they hope to put on shelves in the UK and around the world.

Who is the duo behind Advocates?

Jack and Elliot are longtime friends of Ramsbottom who share a passion for the arts from a young age.

Both studied at university level, Jack doing styling at Manchester Metropolitan University while Elliot completed his product design course with a master’s degree in fashion marketing in the city.

They explained how they turned the ideas they nurtured for several years into avocados and why the brand bears this name.

Elliot said, “Advocates is a way of expressing ourselves. We want to be strong advocates of creativity as a whole, Generation Z in fashion and now young entrepreneurs too.

“As a career path, fashion is very despised and we want to represent it. “

An image from the ADVOCATES lookbook

Jack said: “From an early age we were both very interested in the arts, graphics, photography.”

Elliot added, “We’ve been talking about fashion brands since we were 16 and we knew it was something we wanted to do with a living.

“The five or six years leading up to the brand’s launch was all about coming up with ideas, learning about the industry, deciding what we wanted to represent and finding out who we were as creatives.

“I think most people never really have a direction they want to go in later in life, but we came up with this idea in college.”

What types of clothing does Advocates make?

Advocates says their first collection (although Jack and Elliot prefer to call them “chapters” to reflect how they see each set of clothing as part of the brand’s ongoing story), which is called Stomping Ground, pays homage to the classic clash of Mods vs. Rockers.

However, they say they don’t particularly want to take sides and instead combine elements of each.

ADVOCATES is a Manchester-based menswear brand

The business is all about creating hybrids, fusing seemingly disparate ideas such as high-end tailoring and biker clothing.

The clothes are designed in Manchester by Jack and Elliot and then made in Italy, the duo traveling the world to find the right fabrics to bring their designs to life.

How did Jack and Elliot find out about starting a business?

Despite their obvious enthusiasm for their chosen field, Jack and Elliot admitted that gaining a foothold in the fashion industry from a small town just outside of Manchester wasn’t particularly easy.

And the set-up and operation of Advocates hasn’t been very smooth either, with the global Covid-19 pandemic not helping.

Jack said: “When I first tried to find a job in fashion it was really hard to consolidate anything. One day Elliot said he was ready to launch the brand and we decided to take it seriously.

“One of the biggest challenges we have faced has been trying to find manufacturers in the UK. We would go down to London every weekend, leave at 3am, get down there and sleep a few hours in the parking lot before our first date at 9am.

“So we found someone and we were ready to start production of blocks but they could no longer place the order.

“We had to move everything very quickly and that shut down all of our other supply chains.

“The good thing was that we found a manufacturer overseas in Italy that was just perfect.”

Elliot said: “Everything that could have gone wrong on an initial launch has happened.”

However, the duo say they now view those difficult first steps as a vital experience as it made them think more like businessmen and reminded them of that side of managing lawyers with more creative work.

How important is Manchester to lawyers?

Jack and Elliot say the city where Advocates was founded is an extremely important part of their work, mainly due to the city’s continued reputation as a place where people can pursue creative ambitions.

Elliot said: “We are happy and proud to be a Manchester brand. We always stress that we are from Manchester, even though our aim is to be a global brand.

“Manchester is teeming with creative influences everywhere. There are artists, other designers, photographers, videographers. I have the impression that the creative community is very tight-knit here and it gives us opportunities to collaborate and easily learn from a city in the making.

Advocates, a menswear brand founded in Manchester

“Everyone has a spark here in Manchester. There are a lot of little niches and any of them are easy to fill.

“There are entrepreneurs everywhere here too and that allows us to learn, connect and maybe even teach people. Everyone wants to start their own business and represent who they are. You see it in the northern quarter, with the influence and creativity of this specific part of town.

“We have started to realize that we are not alone here.”

And they said they would like to see a growing number of ‘made in Manchester’ companies and products.

What’s next for lawyers and would they advise other entrepreneurs to follow their dreams?

Jack and Elliot are currently focused on gradually building their brand awareness, gradually expanding across the UK and then planning to make inroads into Europe.

They’re also working hard on creating Chapter Two of Advocates’ clothing, saying they want to focus on community and lifestyle.

Oddly, Jack suggests that they want to move away from a specific outfit for different activities (like going to a restaurant, working out in the gym, going to work, or relaxing at home) in favor of something more versatile.

They also dabbled in podcasting as a way to connect with like-minded people and share it with their audience.

When asked what advice they would give to aspiring business owners, the main thing they learned was the importance of patience.

Elliot said, “Building a brand that’s worth it takes years. You have to explore what you want to represent. It won’t be the first thing you think about.

“Treat the brand like your baby, don’t be afraid of failure and work on it every day. You have to build your community one brick at a time.


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