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About UKFT

The UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) is the most inclusive network for fashion and textile companies in the UK. We bring together designers, manufacturers, suppliers, agents and retailers to promote their businesses and our industry, both in the UK and throughout the world.

We are in a unique position representing businesses from spinning, weaving and knitting, right through to the catwalk and aftercare.

We are headquartered in London and we have an office in the North West, as well as staff working in Scotland, the East Midlands, Lancashire, Merseyside and Yorkshire.

Our President is HRH The Princess Royal.

THIS IS UKFT 2020

 

What We Do

UKFT’s activity is focused on five key areas: lobbying, business support, UK manufacturing, skills & training, and international business (exports).

Voice of the industry

As the collective voice of UK fashion and textiles, UKFT is committed to creating the best environment for our industry.

  • We represent the entire fashion and textile supply chain
  • We promote the strategic and economic value of our vibrant industry to government and policymakers, ensuring the key issues are on the agenda
  • The key UK trade associations and organisations in fashion and textiles are Federated Members of UKFT. This strength and depth of contacts and experience gives us an unrivalled ability to comment on all issues relating to our industry

Business support

Practical advice and technical support to help companies grow.

  • We provide one-to-one assistance with business plans and strategies, market trends, marketing and PR, logistics, IP protection, labelling, standards, range planning and pricing, employment and more
  • We can help facilitate new partnerships within the most inclusive network for UK fashion and textiles
  • Through our broad network, we provide a platform for companies to share best practices and forge relationships with potential clients or business partners

UK Manufacturing

Supporting the growth of ‘made in the UK’.

  • We work with government and industry to creating the right conditions for UK manufacturers to thrive
  • We help to foster successful relationships between UK manufacturers and brands
  • We operate letsmakeithere.org: a free sourcing platform connecting UK fashion and textile manufacturers with designers, brands and retailers around the world
  • We champion the individuals and businesses that are shaping the future of our industry, highlighting the exceptional skills, craftsmanship and talent within UK fashion and textile manufacturing

Skills & training

Addressing critical skills gaps and developing industry-led solutions.

UKFT is the Sector Skills Body (SSB) for fashion and textiles in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We work with employers, training providers and other stakeholders to raise the skills and productivity of the people who work in our sector to the highest level, ensuring the UK fashion and textile industry remains competitive against global competition.

  • We promote the wide variety of careers in our industry and support the next generation of talented workers
  • We are developing new vocational and academic routes into industry that meet the needs of business

International Business

Helping UK companies reach new markets overseas.

  • UKFT is dedicated to raising the profile of UK fashion and textiles around the world.
  • UKFT’s international business support helps UK companies make sense of changing export markets, as well as to develop export strategies and new routes to market.
  • We provide grants to more than 700 companies each year through the Department of International Trade’s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP). Find out more about our current grant-supported programme here.

In addition, we also…

Run UKFT Rise, a supportive community for early-stage fashion and textile firms, uniting entrepreneurs with the passion, ambition and creativity to challenge the status quo.

Textile Scotland is now part of UKFT and promotes the unique strengths of the Scottish fashion and textile industry, with dedicated strategies for growth focused on skills and exports.

UKFT provides the secretariat for two textile trade associations, the Lancashire Textile Manufacturers’ Association (LTMA) and the Silk Association of Great Britain (SAGB).

Become a member

Who We Work With

UKFT members include some of the UK’s most well-known fashion and textile brands, heritage success stories and emerging designer labels, alongside the manufacturers and suppliers that turn those designs into a reality. Our community spans some of the most innovative spinners and weavers the world has to offer, as well as traditional businesses preserving skills that have been handed down through the generations. We are proud to work with everyone from established family businesses through to pioneering catwalk designers and progressive production units that partner with some of the world’s biggest names. Our members range in size from small and local producers up to global super brands, but what they have in common is a belief in quality, craftsmanship and a commitment to creative talent.

Textile Scotland became part of UKFT in January 2019. UKFT also provides the secretariat to the Lancashire Textile Manufacturers Association and the Silk Association of Great Britain.

Companies we work with include:

AAlan Paine Knitwear  |  Alex Monroe  |  Alfred Dunhill  |  All Saints  |  Allied Textiles  |  Argos  |  ASOS  |  Avon

BBamford  |  Barbara Alan  |  Beau Homme  |  Begg & Co  |  Belinda Robertson  |  Bellwoven  |  Biondi  |  Bloomin’ Sexy  |  Bluebuck  |  Boden  |  Bonsoir of London  |  Boots  |  Bristol Uniforms  |  British Footwear Association  |  Brooks Running  |  Burberry  |  Byways

CCarrington  |  Charli Cohen  |  Cossac  |  Croots England  |  Courtney & Co

DDeeasjer  |  Dege & Skinner  |  Diamony

E   Eleni Malami  |  Emma J Shipley  |  Ender Legard

F   Fox Umbrellas  |  Frock and Frill

G   Gloverall  |  Glenevan  |  Gushlow & Cole

H   Harris Wharf London  |  Hemyca  |  Her Studio  |  Highland 2000  |  Hirsch Tailoring  |  HotSquash

I   Invista

J   Jianhui | Jo Gordon  |  John Smedley  |  Johnsons Dry Cleaners  |  Johnstons of Elgin

K   KuSan Accessories

L   Lazy Oaf

M   Mackintosh  |  Margaret Howell

P   Pantherella  |  Peregrine  |  Pincroft  |  Prominent (Europe)

R   Robert Mackie of Scotland

S   Samuel Brothers  |  Simon Carter

T   Ted Baker  |  Timpson  |  Twisk

WWilliam Reed Weaving

Y   Yawn

Z   Zaccys

Who We Are

The Board

The UKFT Board uses their skills and varied industry experience to support the organisation and ensure strategic direction, with regular meetings throughout the year.

Select a board member

Nigel Lugg | Chairman

Nigel Lugg is Group Chairman of the Prominent Europe, which specialises in clothing supply. Prominent serves a broad client base offering men’s shirts and suits, womenswear and casualwear to retailers across Europe; it has offices in Barcelona, Paris and Milan as well as London and Nottingham . It also owns the Chester Barrie brand and holds the menswear licence for Richard James Mayfair.

Originally a buyer at Liberty and then House of Fraser, Nigel moved onto the supply side of the industry in the mid-80s when he became European CEO of Warnaco. Then in 1992 he became a founding partner of Prominent Europe, setting up the business in conjunction with the Itochu Corporation.

Nigel became CEO in 2002; at the same time as Itochu took full control of the company. He has overseen the company’s development from shirt specialist to the broader role it has now.

He also led Prominent into the branded market, buying Chester Barrie in 1997. From one store on Savile Row the brand has now grown to 13 shop-in-shops in the UK and Italy and has a healthy wholesale business. The Richard James Mayfair licence began at the start of 2012 and already there are seven shop-in-shops in the UK and France.

Ian Maclean | Deputy Chairman

Having grown up with the John Smedley brand as an 8th generation family shareholder, Ian chose to begin his career within finance working for 3i plc, the UK’s largest private equity provider. Following this, Ian began a 14 year advancement through niche multi-channel retailer Orvis, leading areas across buying and sales for both the US and UK. The brand saw rapid growth during the period, expanding from 4 to 27 shops, and Ian ultimately took charge of sales and marketing within the UK.

Moving into the family brand, Ian began his role at John Smedley as a Non-Executive Director in 2000, progressing to Chairman in 2008, and Managing Director in 2010. Under Ian’s leadership the brand has consistently moved forward, not only developing its design aesthetic to attract new consumers, but also strengthening its core values as a contemporary luxury brand. Ian has led the company to increasingly profitable growth in the last few years.

Stewart McGuffie | Treasurer

Stewart joined Allied Textiles Ltd. as Chief Executive in September 2007 from Chisty Home Textiles, where he was the Director responsible for Sales & Marketing. Previously, he had performed various international roles in Courtaulds Textiles plc, including Regional Sales & Marketing Director of the Asia Pacific fabric business, based in Hong Kong.

Stewart gained his law degree at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, before qualifying as a Chartered Management Accountant.

Adam Mansell | CEO & Company Secretary

Having previously worked in the accountancy and publishing sectors, Adam Mansell joined the textile and clothing industry 20 years ago. Beginning as an Executive at the British Clothing Industry Association, he then went on to work for a number of trade bodies including the British Interior Textile Association, Silk Association of Great Britain, Home Laundering Consultative Council and British Apparel & Textile Confederation. Having represented all aspects of the fashion and textile supply chain, Adam has links to every part of the industry from design, fabric and component suppliers, wholesalers, brands, manufacturers and retail.

Before becoming CEO of UKFT, Adam was Director of Special Projects, with his focus being on increasing the membership offer, including overseeing the introduction of a new Retail Partner Programme, as well as introducing the UKFT Masterclasses and running an environmental programme, which has seen UK dyers and weavers significantly reduce their CO2 emissions.

Along with his work at UKFT, Adam is President of Ginetex, the organisation that owns the trademarked care labelling symbols and he is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters.

Simon Carter | Board Member

The Simon Carter story began in 1985, Simon was studying and spent his free time pursuing his interest in vintage clothing and accessories in the stylish shops of Chelsea. His first business move came in the shape of a men’s pewter brooch which he had manufacturedand sold successfully to one of Chelsea’s most innovative jewellery stores. However, the company really found its niche when Simon developed the business to include cufflinks and watches, adding new product lines as the client list expanded.

The company continued to grow through the nineties adding in new products such as luggage and ties. Around this time Simon was crowned by the press as the ‘King of Cufflinks’ for his iconic designs such as the Aspirin cufflink. Early 2002 saw Simon Carter significantly expand the product offer to include a menswear line. PB Tailoring were granted the exclusive, worldwide rights to produce suits and shirts under the Simon Carter brand. From the start, the range proved popular with both buyers and customers alike and the collection is now stocked in leading department stores around the world.

Today, the accessories include watches, cufflinks, ties, luggage, small leather goods and men’s jewellery. The collections are carried in some of the most exclusive department stores and independent retailers in 35 countries around the world including Selfridges, Fortnum and Mason, Harvey Nichols, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Takashimaya, Bloomingdales and David Jones, as well as online.

Belinda Dickson OBE | Board Member

Belinda gained a Bachelor of Education degree and began her career as a physical education teacher before going into marketing with a telecommunications company. It was whilst working in the Scottish Borders that she developed an interest in the cashmere knitwear industry, which at that time was still steeped in classic design and traditional production methods. Belinda recognised the potential of cashmere as a fashionable luxury item and, encouraged by a manufacturer Belinda designed her first collection.

Before starting her own label, Belinda worked with internationally famous labels including Nina Ricci, Michael Kors and Dior. Belinda Robertson Ltd. was established in 1992 and came to be defined by modern, flattering cashmere garments.

Over the years her efforts have been rewarded by a number of accolades including Scottish Business Woman of the Year (1999), Entrepreneur of the Year (2000), OBE for services to the textile industry (December 2001) and Designer of the Year (Scottish Style Awards 2002).

Bill Macbeth OBE | Board Member

Bill is the Managing Director of the Textile Centre of Excellence, a company that represents over 70 textile manufacturing businesses. Bill has a detailed knowledge of UK and EU Funding policies/programmes.

Between 1990 and 2000, Bill was the Deputy CEO of the Calderdale and Kirklees Training and Enterprise Council, the first ‘TEC’ in the UK. Bill established the TEC’s innovation and business support services, marketing and European operations, developing and securing funding for a range of innovative partnerships and projects in business growth and new technology fields.

From 2000 to 2003, Bill held the office of President of the European Regional Information Society Association (ERIS@), a company based in Brussels. ERIS@ works closely with the European Commission to support the take-up and implementation of new technology across education, innovation and business. Bill is now a patron of ERIS@ and remains very active in European Employment, Education and Technology policy areas.

Kate Hills | Board Member

Kate Hills is founder and managing director of Make It British. Twenty years of working as a designer and buyer for brands such as Burberry and M&S and multiple product sourcing trips overseas prompted Kate to set up the Make It British website to help promote UK manufacturing and British-made brands. Now in its fifth year, the website has gone from strength to strength, and Kate has appeared regularly on television and radio espousing her firm belief that manufacturing in the UK is thriving, cost-effective and sustainable.

To this end she launched Make It British – Meet the Manufacturer in 2014, now called Make It British Live!, a trade show and conference for the UK fashion and textiles industry. The yearly event brings together the best of British manufacturers with buyers and designers looking to have their products made in Britain.

Patrick Dudley-Williams | Board Member

Patrick Dudley-Williams is the creative director and founder of UK menswear brand, Reef Knots. Patrick started the business in 2013 after a 13 year career in the stock market at Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. Reef Knots’ core product are handmade printed silk ties inspired by the ocean and the summer. They are designed to remind the customer of life far away from the corporate grind. The brand has now spread into a wider range of menswear (most notably swim shorts and shirts) and has one store in the City of London, supporting the online business.

Patrick is also Chairman of UKFT Rise, supporting fashion startups with informational and networking events across the year.

Lorna Fitzsimons | Board member

Lorna was the founder and director of The Alliance Project, a £150m public-private partnership to bring back textile manufacturing to the UK. She is currently co-founder of The Pipeline and had become a trusted advisor to big cap companies and Whitehall on gender and developing executive female talent. She is also a board member of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and a trustee of the education charity, SHINE. Lorna is deeply committed to unlocking women’s potential at the top of corporate Britain as well as realising growth in the Northern Powerhouse.

Previously, Lorna was CEO at the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) and turned BICOM into an internationally renowned centre of excellence. She was also a visiting Fellow at the Defence Academy’s Advanced Research and Assessment Group and former Member of Parliament for Rochdale.