Fashion and Textiles Leicester: Impact for Workers – Connection and Collaboration

On Wednesday 12th June, FAB-L (Fashion-workers Advice Bureau – Leicester) hosted an immersive event, ‘Impact for Workers – Connection and Collaboration’, alongside FCFTA Leicester, Labour Behind the Label, Transform Trade, The University of Manchester, Stronger Together, Just Good Work and others. 

The core aim of this event was to shine some “positivity” on the UK’s largest garment manufacturing sector – Leicester, and to explore collective efforts on creating a supportive ecosystem for the industry and its workers.

The event, attracting garment and textile suppliers, was adamant to give garment workers a voice, highlighting strategies to advance the sector while promoting fair labour practices.

Jenny Holloway CEO and Divya Kamath from Fashion-Enter Ltd / FCFTA Leicester were on-hand to explain how they can support with essential training and courses, such as the Level 1 Award in Workers’ Rights and Labour exploitation, along with technical skills training for Made in the UK supply chains.

Jenny commented: “Thank-you for inviting Fashion-Enter / FCFTA Leicester to speak at this event, it certainly opened my eyes to some of the great work FAB-L has been undertaking on the ground. 

“Personally, I totally agree that garment workers need a voice and as Dominique Muller commented: “where there’s fast fashion there are levels of worker exploitation all over the world.” I totally believe in having an adjudicator with legal powers of enforcement for the industry.

“There are huge opportunities in the region, as it’s the only area in the UK that has its own strong fabric and trimmings base along with a skilled workforce – it’s very own circular economy! At the meeting there was a commitment to a brighter future for Leicester that needs ACTION from brands but also each company has to look within. Change is painful but inevitable for survival. 

“When the FCFTA fully moves to Phoenix House this summer we will be opening a Fashion Studio concept, a repair facility with the United Repair Centre, as well as providing specialist short courses for employers to upskill for new jobs. Leicester has 6.7% unemployment compared to the UK average of 3.7% – this has to change. 

Thank-you to Tarek and Priya Thamotheram, they live and breathe Highfields and their passion was there for all to see. Also big thanks to the team that made yesterday happen particularly Natasha Bridget – it’s a start. Let’s keep the narrative going and find new ways forward.” 

Brands supporting Leicester at this event included the likes of: Boohoo Group PLC, The Very Group and New Look. It’s time to make Leicester a special enterprise zone ready to ‘Clothe the World’ again!