At Helen Moore we are now into our 31st year and with it 31 years of British manufacturing. We strongly believe in working with our local community but also believe that the attention to detail can only be really achieved by being able to oversee our products from the first cut of the scissors to the final sealing of the despatch parcel. Recently we have been pleased to see that the press, politicians and celebrities are also getting behind the need to design and make in the UK for our heritage as well as our economy.
According to the British Fashion Council's Future of Fashion report, fashion manufacturing employment rose from 2 to 2.5 per cent of manufacturing jobs in 2010 and based on the current rate of growth, fashion manufacture will contribute £2.1billion to UK GDP by 2015 and employ 68,900 people. This recent change has been attributed in part to the up and coming designers with more than half the designers showing at London Fashion Week this year committing to making as much as they can on these shores.
The report also looks at the challenges to British manufacturing, the costs involved but also the age of our skilled workforce. It states that 60 per cent of the workers in the textiles and manufacturing sectors are over 40 years of age. The industry needs to attract more young blood to retain its skills base and worldwide reputation.
At Helen Moore we are proud to employ skilled staff from school leavers to those well into their 60s. We also employ both men and women and have found young men to be very skilled at sewing and that the mix of gender creates a good atmosphere in the factory and healthy banter.
This was also seen in the Mary Portas knicker experiment which really showed what could be achieved through education and funding. The trial was a phenomenon, with the initial production run of 30,000 promptly selling out at retailers including Liberty, Selfridges and Marks & Spencer.
This trial was funded by Channel 4 but there are lots of organisations that are available to help British companies who want to manufacture in the UK. At Helen Moore we have found MAS (Manufacturing Advisory Service) a really useful resource as they have helped us with the flow of production in the factory. When we recently moved premises they gave us excellent advice on practical matters such as the distance to leave between the sewing machines. They provide a national service delivered locally by their advisors and can work with businesses from a strategic to a practical level.
We believe, that with a commitment to support British design and manufacturing, our worldwide reputation can be rebuilt as leaders in these fields, whilst helping to grow the economy.