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Top industrialists take seats on board of new fashion & textile association
May '09
Leading businessmen, including Simon Berwin of Berwin & Berwin, Nigel Lugg of Prominent Apparel (Europe) and Richard Craig of Margaret Howell, are among the board members of the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT), the new body that will represent the industry and succeeds the British Clothing Industry Association (BCIA).

Since taking over as chairman of BCIA last year, Peter Lucas (Baird Group) said his priority has been to develop an association that encompassed both the fashion and textile sector so that there would be “one voice” for the industry.

“We have made tremendous progress and have begun working with almost every trade association that covers the sector and the response has been extremely enthusiastic,” says Lucas. “I am delighted, too, that the new board comprises members who are passionate about their sector and want to help companies to trade more effectively both in the domestic market and overseas.”

The new board meets for the first time in June to develop UKFT's strategy, so new initiatives can be announced in the autumn.

Simon Berwin of Berwin & Berwin says, “being able to help shape the future of the UK fashion and textile industry is a privilege. I am looking forward to working closely with both large and small companies to make sure they receive the support they need – whether that be through lobbying Government or providing opportunities to assist in their day-to-day business life through the provision of expert advice and guidance.”

The Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry (ASBCI) and The Savile Row Bespoke Association, are the first two organisations to have committed to join UKFT. In addition, following discussions with the textile sector, UKFT is now running its export promotion, working on participation at major events such as Première Vision.

According to Malcolm Ball, chairman and technical director of the ASBCI, there is “great potential and synergy in working closely with other like-minded organisations to deliver a focused and unified service to our respective members and the wider clothing industry.”

Mark Henderson (Gieves & Hawkes), chairman of The Savile Row Bespoke Association, says “the British clothing industry has a strong history, in which Savile Row has played a major role, and together with UKFT and other bodies, we need to be doing all we can to continue to strengthen the industry both on a local and international stage.”

The name and constitution of UKFT and the appointment of the new board took place at BCIA's agm in London yesterday (20 May 2009). While John Wilson becomes director general of the new organisation, applications to succeed him around the middle of next year are now being sought. Elizabeth Fox, BCIA's assistant director, and Paul Alger, executive director of UK Fashion Exports (UKFE), which became the export division of BCIA last year and will retain its branding under the new organisation, were appointed deputy directors of UKFT.

UKFT will be based at 5 Portland Place, London, W1, as was BCIA, and there are plans for the premises to be redeveloped better to serve the industry.

The UKFT logo will get its first public airing at the Export Awards, which are being organised by UKFE, on 4 June at The Landmark London. This event will be hosted by Joanna Lumley and the awards presented by HRH The Princess Royal. President of UKFE.

British Clothing Industry Association (BCIA)

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