A stitch in time for UK fashion manufacturing
As a nation we've lost our way with the needle and thread! There is absolutely no doubt that consumers are showing a much greater level of interest in products that are Made in Britain and it's increasingly apparent that more and more retailers want to return production back to the UK.
The sentiment is great but the realities are more difficult, yet despite the considerable challenges the number of UK clothing manufacturers is on the increase. However many factories are reporting that it's proving difficult to find British staff with the right skills. It seems incredible that as a nation we've been able to lose these skills in a generation. Thankfully we now have the chance to re-learn these skills. One enterprising initiative, the Stitching Academy, has been launched by the online fashion giant ASOS at their factory in Haringey, North London. Here students can learn a range of stitching skills and production methods during an intensive six week course. The course will contribute toward delivering part of the next generation of textile workers and will introduce young adults to the growing British manufacturing sector.
Large fashion houses have to respond swiftly to new trends and demands so having an increased manufacturing capacity in the UK will greatly help their turnaround times. At PJ Pan we find having a UK based factory enhances communications and gives us the ability to respond to special requests. It also, quite simply, feels right. We are lucky to have great British seamstresses working on all our nightwear, but we know that training is required to ensure the skill remains and grows within the workforce, to meet current and future demand.
Projects like the Stitching Academy may just prove to be 'a stitch in time' and provides us with good reason to feel optimistic about the future of the British fashion manufacturing sector.