Pongees for British Textile Week
Pongees is one the UK’s leading suppliers of silk, offering a wide range of fabrics to couturiers, designers of daywear, eveningwear, bridalwear, lingerie, costumes and interiors.
Pongees – visual board by UKFT
Slinky fabrics in warm tones, those with texture and also plains that can be easily individualised with a print or an embellishment – these are being tipped as the silks that designers will be looking for as they plan ahead.
“Within the 1,000 plus fabrics in stock at Pongees, the most requested fabrics will be the satin crepes, with or without stretch, medium ribbed twills and spotted tulles, alongside habotais which are a great base for hand painting, printing or bespoke dyeing, plus marocains and douppions that can be personalised with embroidery” predicts Pongees Managing Director Nick Moore.
Commenting on how the Covid19 pandemic has affected business, Nick continues: “Pongees investment in holding high stock levels of fabric as their business model has meant it has been able to “carry on as normal” handling orders and providing its usual high level of service. Having a transactional website has also helped considerably.
“Our business has been used to dealing with designers and brands who order little but often and that is how we see the business continuing. We are pro-actively reaching out to new prospects directly and through social media and investing time in sending out even more swatches, shades cards and sample lengths as many buyers have not been venturing out to see us in person at our showroom or at overseas exhibitions.”
At the beginning of lockdown Pongees immediately arranged for its office staff to work from home and introduced a rota system for personnel in the warehouse and sample room so that it met regulations around safety. Although Pongees moved to a new headquarters and warehouse in Kent five years ago, it retained its London showroom, which is situated in Shoreditch, surrounded by design studios, manufacturing units and some of the leading fashion colleges. The showroom reopened in July and fabric buyers, including students, are taking advantage of this.
Pongees is launching a new website in September 2020 to make it even easier for customers to see its collection and place an order. The new site better promotes the company’s features of 1 metre minimum order and stock support silks for immediate delivery. The site also provides more detail about the different silk qualities and their uses as well as educational features to solve the frequently asked questions about how to care for silk and how it is made.
“The textile industry is very much a people business and I just love the opportunity of seeing my customers both in the UK and at overseas shows. Even after 20 odd years, I still get as excited as they do about taking a fabric and turning it into an amazing design. While the current situation means that I will probably not be able to see many of them face to face, I know the relationships I have built up over the years will survive these uncertain times and bring us closer together. Greater collaboration with our customers and suppliers is the way forward.
“While scary at times, we are determined to be one of the survivors so are currently enjoying testing new ideas about how we can improve the way we serve our customers.”
UKFT’s British Textile Week is a digital showcase of the craftsmanship, imagination and innovation of the UK textile industry.