FCFTA Supports Leicester’s Garment and Textile Industry in the Press

It was a pleasure to welcome journalist Isabella Fish to the FCFTA Leicester on Monday 12th June. Isabella is from The Times and wanted to understand how Leicester’s garment industry is coping as the cost of living crisis is challenging the industry.

Deputy CEO Jackie Bertram arranged for Isabella (pictured above) to hear from ex-garment workers that were now being upskilled at the FCFTA to understand what their aims were after training.

Following this, a visit to a local community centre – Wesley Hall demonstrated an increase in ex-garment workers using its Food Bank and Breakfast Clubs, as jobs in garment industry have decreased with factories closing as a result of falling trade. Then on to Basic Premier to meet Factory Owner, Mick Cheema, who explained how factories can adapt to the changing fashion landscape and drive on-demand. This was followed by a visit to FAB – L @ the Highfields Centre to meet the team that work with garment workers and communities to talk about the support provided to improve people’s livelihoods. Finally, Shaista Jakhura from the Garment Workers Trust explained how the Trust was supporting garment workers, however the biggest opportunity is the need for support from brands and retailers to make in UK – to take up the opportunity to make on-demand, support UK manufacturing and maintain our creative and manufacturing jobs.

Isabella’s article is due out this weekend (17th June 2023).

Last week, Drapers published an article (9th June 2023) titled: Leicester manufacturers: ‘the UK will have no textile industry soon’. Compiled by Sabina Weston the article interviews various Leicester manufacturers on the current discount demands from retailers and how local production has been out priced by international rivals.

Fashion-Enter Ltd’s Deputy CEO, Jackie Bertram is quoted in the article, she said: “What Leicester needs is business right now – we need work. If a big brand comes in and drives progression, it’s a positive.

“But it needs to be done ethically. [Fashion-Enter] can provide the support with skills and ensuring things are done correctly and that the factories are encouraged to do things the right way, so we don’t have any more scandals [linked to the poor working conditions found in Boohoo-supplying factories in 2020].”

Bertram said that brands considering Leicester for manufacturing opportunities should engage with local trade unions and promote safe working practices. Fashion-Enter is contributing to raising awareness of the latter by offering workers’ rights courses as part of its Fashion Technology Academy, which launched in 2015 in partnership with London’s Haringey Council.

Education on workers’ rights may not restore Leicester’s manufacturing industry to its former glory overnight, but are a step forward to rebuilding the reputational damage sustained in recent years. Ultimately, Leicester’s survival lies in the hands of the fashion retail industry.

To read the full article tap here.