Blog: The battle for British clothing manufacturing wages on

Petah Marian | 26 September 2012

The battle for the future of British clothing and textile industry took centre stage at a conference organised yesterday (25 September) by the Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry (ASBCI).

The Olympics has shone a spotlight on the best of British over the past year, and there remains a great affection and interest for this country's heritage brands and textiles abroad. 

The commonly held view has been that UK manufacturing plays an essential role for premium heritage brands like Burberry, Johnson's of Elgin or Barbour, but less so for the high street. 

However, with turnaround times becoming ever-faster, and the cost of manufacturing in China increasing, some are suggesting that a UK renaissance might be due. 

UK manufacturer Buff Clothing's creative design director, Sangita Khan, argued that her company is proof you can produce large volumes in the UK and still make a profit. Her company works with retailers like Next, River Island and Matalan, and emphasised the benefits of producing locally. 

Fashion Enter director Jenny Holloway is another backing the UK industry, with her not-for-profit group servicing between 4,500-5,000 pieces a week for companies like John Lewis, Oasis and Asos. 

However, Michael Spenley, who is director of Shop Direct subsidiary Compliance Direct, warned against companies assuming that the made in Britain sign assures products have been produced to higher ethical standards. 

He said Shop Direct has chosen not to work with certain factories after unannounced visits found one factory's entire staff was off with TB, while another was conducting business and had staff living out of a derelict school, with bedrolls and gas stoves alongside machinery in the factory. 

Yet for all the enthusiasm for UK manufacturing, there remains a number of challenges, not least the ageing workforce. 

Spenley put it best when he said: "If good intentions and positive headlines were bankable assets - the UK clothing manufacturers would be in terrific financial shape". 

This renaissance may still be a few years off. 


BLOG

Busana Apparel on an expansion drive

Busana Apparel Group, Indonesia's largest woven apparel exporter, is on a drive to expand its domestic capacity, has set up its first factory in Ethiopia, is exploring opportunities in Vietnam, and ey...

BLOG

Act now to keep receiving just-style newsletters

You may have noticed a red alert bar at the top of just-style’s weekly and daily newsletters asking you to “Act now to keep receiving the just-style newsletter.” ...

BLOG

Apparel imports into the US rose in June

Apparel imports into the US rose in June as merchants stocked up for summer and prepared for the back-to-school season, with imports from Vietnam continuing to surge....

BLOG

US retailers under pressure to grow sales as mall traffic slows

Under Armour is to close stores and cut jobs – around 2% of the company's global workforce – as part of new plans to build a stronger and smarter company with faster go-to-market speed and greater dig...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?