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UKFT member produces winning collection on The Apprentice


UKFT member Intimate Apparel Samples worked with swimwear designer Sian Gabbidon to produce a reversible bikini that saw her crowned winner of the BBC’s The Apprentice 2018 by Lord Sugar.

London-based IA Samples worked with Sian and former Apprentice colleague Khadija Kalifa to create the final design of the bikini at its design and technical development studio in Wembley Park.

Lord Sugar said although it was a “crowded market” Gabbidon was “an expert” in her field.

It is Lord Sugar’s first investment in a fashion business in the show’s history.

After securing £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar for her brand, Sian said she plans to produce her swimwear collection in the UK with local factories.

IA Samples was founded by Maxine Wells, a designer who boasts a degree in BA (Hons) Fashion and Contour from De Montford University.

The company specialises in the development of lingerie, swimwear and athleisure, producing samples and tech packs from its London studio. It has expanded into small-scale production this year in order to meet the demands of its client base, offering all design, technical and production services under one roof.

Maxine has utilised the services and support of the UKFT London Manufacturers group to help her grow, train new staff and understand the legal requirements of operating a UK-based manufacturing company. The company is set to double in size in 2019, thanks to a growth in demand for quality sampling and small production runs.

Maxine is passionate about working with emerging brands like Sian’s and frequently works with new designers and more established swim/lingerie labels, establishing long-lasting relationships.

She is a firm believer in developing the design and manufacturing skills in the industry, offering dedicated, professional training for those starting out in their careers.

UKFT consultant Alice Burkitt, who established the UKFT’s London Manufacturers group, said: “Growing businesses like IA Samples play an important role in supporting new and existing labels to develop the best products they can, offering flexibility, experience, quality and low minimums.”

To find out more about IA Samples, click here.

For more information on UKFT’s London Manufacturers, click here.