How Leicester maintains its place as a nursery for textiles and fashion in the UK, while improving the image of the sector

About 30 dozen fashion and textile companies have joined forces to showcase Leicester as a hotbed of clothing design and technology.

The social enterprise Fashion-Enter gathered 30 companies at the fair in Leicester’s Athena, emphasizing the quantity and quality of products produced in the city and its surroundings.

It comes months after the organization opened a training and skills center called the Fashion Academy of Technology (Leicester) with £ 300,000 in funding from Leicester City Council, and offers apprenticeships and accredited training for people who work in, or want to work in , textile industry.

The Athena event included exhibitions by clothing factories and textile companies, as well as seven local designers, demonstrating the standards, skills and quality of their work.

There were fashion teams of brands, including Asos, I Saw It First, Quiz, Solander, The Very group, Missy Empire and Boohoo, who built relationships and connected with suppliers from Leicester.

It was also attended by fashion start-ups, independents and entrepreneurs, and culminated in a fashion show, celebrating the liveliness of talent in Leicester.

Fashion-Enter worked closely with local fashion designer Millie and Mode Collective to coordinate, choreograph and set up the show, which featured clothing from eight local companies and seven designers.

Fashion-Enter CEO Jenny Holloway said: “It’s time to be proud of the Leicester manufacturers.

“A close source is the only way forward for transparency and speed of response and thanks to the successful offer of the Council for the Government Fund for Community Reconstruction, we managed to host this factory exhibition and show the work of factories at our fashion show.

“We also want to engage with community schools to encourage students to think about how great production is and to educate the next generation about the different jobs that exist in the sector.

“Over the past five months, we have worked with a wide range of factories and performed business diagnostics to ensure that they are suitable for the supply of retail chains and retailers.

“There are really great, highly qualified manufacturers in Leicester and we are proud to work with them.

“We also recently launched Leicester Made, a fantastic resource that promotes our local clothing companies. It’s a free online directory for anyone, in the UK or abroad, who would like to purchase and manufacture clothing in Leicester. ”

Since opening in November, the new academy has hosted more than 140 students, who have achieved 99 qualifications to date.

The courses cover skills such as sewing, tailoring and tailoring patterns, as well as labor rights and labor exploitation, and are free for the unemployed. Apprenticeships are available to employers.

Located on Stonebridge Street, in the heart of Leicester’s clothing industry, the academy shares a building with the clothing company Ethically Sourced Products Ltd, which has made the second floor of its premises available for the project.

Deputy Mayor, Earl Adam Clarke, said: “Our engagement with Fashion-Enter is part of our strategic approach to redefining Leicester’s clothing industry.

“We are determined to promote what the sector is doing well and raise standards through this partnership, while working with implementing partners to drive out exploitation and mismanagement while waiting for more determined government action to be taken at the national level to address these issues.”

“The Fashion Academy is doing a great job, not only training local people to enter the industry, but also creating links between local suppliers and industry customers, ensuring that factories and brands work to the high standards we want to see.

“Shorter supply chains are certainly the way forward in making the clothing industry more sustainable, ethical and accountable.”

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