From left to right: Demelza Galica, DISC; John Miln, UKFT; Betty Jackson CBE and Paul Alger, UKFT

From left to right: Demelza Galica, DISC; John Miln, UKFT; Betty Jackson CBE and Paul Alger, UKFT

The UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT) last night (20 November) relaunched its ‘Let's Make It Here' database at London's City Hall in response to increasing demand for UK-manufactured textiles and apparel.

The initiative enables fashion designers, brands and retailers to find companies with facilities in the UK to manufacture to their specifications or own label. Pattern cutting and grading services, as well as components such as buttons, yarns, and interlinings, are also listed on the website.

Users can now search via category, key word or location and refine their search according to what they are looking for, according to UKFT.

The association worked on the relaunch alongside DISC, which supports fashion manufacturers and designers, and Creative Skillset, the industry body that offers training to people in various sectors, as well as charity CapitB Trust, which helps fund training in the UK clothing industry. 

"Let's Make it Here is designed to promote the increasing number of UK manufacturers, development and attainment of skills, and creating quality jobs for future generations," said Paul Alger, director of international business development at UKFT.

CEO John Miln added: "More and more retailers are looking to bring back production closer to home, reducing lead times and maintaining control on factory production standards.

"The Let's Make It Here database aims to make it simple for retailers to search for UK-based manufacturers that are not only geographically convenient but also reliable and efficient."

Designer Betty Jackson CBE, board member of Creative Skillset, said: "This is an exciting time for our industry. UK manufacturing is growing, our young designers are in demand all over the world, and the desire for British-made goods with all the familiar traditions, quality and authenticity, couldn't be higher."

She added: "Fashion businesses are recognising the huge benefits of manufacturing in the UK and, crucially important, the convenience of location and shorter turnaround times can be in what is a highly competitive global market."

The initiative can give companies more opportunity to source in the UK and allow manufacturers to highlight their work and specialities in a much more visible way, she said.

However, she warned: "There's a real danger of many of our skills and knowledge being lost or at risk of being lost with an ageing population in certain sectors."

"We need to work hard to change people's perceptions about the attractiveness of a career in fashion manufacturing."