1981

Leo Workwear was established in 1981 by Peter Turner and Gwyn Hook under the name Platesound Ltd (a name generated at random).

We later named a garment

the Ilfracombe trouser!

 
established in NORTH DEVON

Leo have always been based in North Devon, mainly in Barnstaple, but it all started with a few months in Ilfracombe.

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1981

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Postcard of Ilfracombe in the 1980s

first CONTRACT

1981

First contract signed was with Boots the Chemist to supply 1200 pairs of knickers.

 
BEAR STREET, barnstaple

1981

Moved to Bear Street, Barnstaple and changed name to Leo Textiles Ltd. The name 'Leo' was chosen as it was simple and memorable.

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first HIGH VISIBILITY GARMENTS

LATE 1981

First high visibility garments were supplied to Berger Traffic Markings.

BRITISH STANDARD

1985

British Standard BS6629 introduced for High Visibility Clothing.

 
derby WORKS, BARNSTAPLE

1988

Leo moved to Derby Works in Barnstaple, leasing a part of the S&T mill.

Garments were made from scratch by our team of machinists.

 
SIMSCO

1993

Leo bought the garment client book from their main high visibility customer Simsco and started supplying directly to about 30 customers.

FIRST CLASS SUPPLIER

1994

Recognised as a ‘First Class Supplier’ by The Post Office, an award that would be repeated multiple times in the years to come.

 
European STANDARD

1995

First garments were certified to the new European standard for high visibility clothing, EN 471.

 
PRINCESS STREET

1995

Leo moved to a larger factory in Barnstaple, where they would stay for 17 years.

1 of 2 40 foot cutting tables at Princess Street.

Peter contemplating the future during building work at Princess Street!

staff THEN & NOW!
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PETER - 40 YEARS AT LEO

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LUKE - 23 YEARS AT LEO

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MATT - 18 YEARS AT LEO

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BEV - 20 YEARS AT LEO

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ALI - 24 YEARS AT LEO

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HELEN - 28 YEARS AT LEO

FIRST IMPORTS - BANGLaDESH

1998

NEW LOGO

1999

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Leo's new logo, here they established their corporate colours of blue and orange. 

 
retirement

2001

Co-founder Gwyn Hook retired in March, 2001.

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Gwyn overseeing development of the offices at Princess Street

 
six CONTINENTS

2002

Delivered to six different continents for the first time - everywhere but Antarctica!

DELIVERIES FROM CHINA 

2003

First major purchase of coats from China as most manufacturing is switched to Asia.

Leo introduced its first website.

FIRST WEBSITE

2004

10 million garments

2006

After 25 years in business, Leo had supplied over 10 Million garments.

10M

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NEW LOGO

2010

Rebrand to Leo Workwear to create a clearer identity and introduced the new logo.

WHIDDON VALLEY, BARNSTAPLE

2012

Moved to the current 3½ acre site at Whiddon Drive and focused the emphasis on the Leo Workwear brand.

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new styles

2013

Introduced 23 new styles as the range was significantly expanded

 
a+a exhibition

2013

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Leo exhibited at their first major global safety exhibition, A+A in Dusseldorf and are now regular exhibitors.

Leo Stand 2013

Leo Stand 2019

Leo proudly introduced their first product specifically designed for women, the Rosemoor Breathable Jacket. The success of which led to many more products being created in the coming years.

first women's products

2014

2015

exportS
 

Exports grew at a rapid rate, with Leo exporting to a record 43 different countries in one year.

online ordering

2018

The introduction of MyLeo, the online ordering system allowing customers to place orders directly, 24/7. Today around half of the orders are placed on this platform.

maternity

2019

Launched the first stocked high visibility maternity garments in the UK, enabling pregnant women to work more safely in appropriate PPE.

modesty

2019

Created the UK’s first high visibility modesty garments, which

allowed women to stay safe in appropriate PPE without

compromising their religious beliefs.

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2019

The first EcoViz range of polo shirts and t-shirts launched. These were fully conforming garments, made from recycled clothing. The range massively expanded over the coming years.

 

present day

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total garments

women's range

ecoviz

268

styles

15

styles

23

styles

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100M

litres of water saved

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500K

EcoViz® garments manufactured 

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1.3M

plastic bottles recycled

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27K

 trees, equivalent C02 saved

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"Leo have come a long way in the last forty years. It’s nice to reminisce about the days before computers when you could physically see the results of a busy day. But of course it is very rewarding to see the great leaps forward the business has made. Our success is due to the hard work of our brilliant employees and our steadfast commitment to creating great products and doing the right thing. In 2021, the Leo Workwear team is as strong as ever as we pioneer the future of high visibility workwear with our innovative EcoViz and Womens’ ranges. I’m enjoying expanding the business and look forward to many successful years ahead.."

-Peter Turner, Founder and Managing Director.