Poplar Works started with a conversation in 2014. Poplar HARCA, London College of Fashion, UAL and The Trampery wanted to create a new space that would bring fashion back to its roots, and help the industry fulfil its true potential.
The idea for Poplar Works emerged from a discussion between local housing association, Poplar HARCA, and London College of Fashion, UAL back in 2014. Poplar HARCA wanted to push the boundaries of what good local regeneration can be, and London College of Fashion, UAL were keen to develop meaningful links in East London in anticipation of their move to Eastbank in the Olympic Park in 2022. When The Trampery came on board after being priced out of their fashion incubator site in London Fields, Poplar Works in its current form was born.
The idea was to bring fashion back to its spiritual home in East London by building a hub that would help small businesses to grow and create employment in Poplar. We wanted East Londoners to benefit from the growth in the fashion industry taking place on their doorstep. Poplar Works was built on the site of under-used garages on the Aberfeldy and Teviot Estates in Poplar, utilising a difficult site to create much needed space for work and culture.
After 3 years of planning, building work began in 2018 and we are opening our doors to the first businesses and trainees in November 2019. The project has been built with financial support from the Mayor of London and the London Economic Action Partnership via the London Regeneration Fund and Good Growth Fund.
Looking to the future, Poplar Works is the beginning of a longer story. East London is changing and no more so than in Poplar. New buildings are going up, and things are beginning to look different. For new developments in London to feel genuinely socially and economically beneficial, they need to give space and opportunities to local communities. As these developments in Poplar go up, we want to create a wider range of spaces so that fashion can become a major local employer, and return to its role at the heart of life in East London.
If you want to know more about the details of the project you can see our FAQs page.