Royal seal of approval as UKFT expands
HRH The Princess Royal was in London this week to meet with the growing team at UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT), which is expanding as its scope of activity increases.
HRH The Princess Royal has been the President of the association for more than 35 years but UKFT has transformed in recent years to support the dramatic changes within the industry it supports, spanning the entire UK fashion and textile supply chain.
She was welcomed by UKFT Chairman Nigel Lugg and introduced to the various members of the team, who look after areas of activity covering lobbying, business support, international business, skills and training, and UK manufacturing.
Most recently, Faye Williams has joined UKFT to develop its network for early-stage fashion and textile businesses UKFT Rise, alongside Purdey Lines, who is building on UKFT’s social media, marketing and communications. Celia Thornley also joined the team in a full time role in July as skills and training manager after working with the association as a consultant for the last year.
UKFT was formed in late 2009 through the merger of two long-established trade bodies, the British Clothing Industry Association (BCIA) and UK Fashion Exports (UKFE). In 2017, UKFT became Sector Skills Body (SSB) for fashion and textiles in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and is addressing the industry’s critical skills gap by opening up new routes into the industry.
Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, said: “HRH The Princess Royal has been a passionate supporter and champion of the UK fashion and textile industry for years so it was a great opportunity to introduce her to some of our latest plans, including enhanced promotion for textile companies at overseas trade shows and an ambitious three-year plan to promote careers in fashion and textile manufacturing to young people across the UK.”
UKFT is the collective voice of UK fashion and textiles, representing the entire supply chain from spinning, weaving and knitting, right through to catwalk and aftercare. We promote the strategic and economic value of our vibrant industry to government and policymakers, ensuring the key issues for our sector are on the agenda.
We provide practical business advice and technical support to help companies grow, covering areas such as business plans and strategies, market trends, marketing and PR, logistics, IP protection, labelling, standards, range planning and pricing, employment and more. Through our broad network, we provide a platform for companies to share best practices, forge relationships and even meet potential clients or business partners.
We are committed to creating the right conditions for UK manufacturers to thrive, helping to foster successful relationships between UK manufacturers and brands. We also run www.letsmakeithere.org: a free sourcing platform connecting UK fashion and textile manufacturers with designers, brands and retailers around the world.
In our role as Sector Skills Body, we are focused on addressing critical skills gaps and developing industry-led solutions. Our most recent work centres around promoting the wide variety of careers in our industry and supporting the next generation of talented workers, as well as developing new vocational and academic routes into industry that meet the needs of business.
Our international business support helps UK companies reach new markets overseas, as well as making sense of changing export markets, developing export strategies and new routes to market. We are dedicated to raising the profile of UK fashion and textiles around the world, providing grants to more than 700 companies each year through the Department of International Trade’s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP).
UKFT Rise is a supportive community for early-stage fashion and textile firms, uniting entrepreneurs with the passion, ambition and creativity to challenge the status quo, while UKFT Scotland promotes the unique strengths of the Scottish fashion and textile industry, with dedicated strategies for growth focused on skills and exports.
Picture credit: Ben Broomfield www.benbroomfield.com