Meet the Manufacturer 2 – A Resounding Success
It was an action packed 2-day event at this year’s Meet the Manufacturer (MTM). Dominique and Sophie (pictured right) were kept busy on the Fashion Enter stand with a constant stream of production enquiries. While Keeley was on-hand on the Creative Skillset stand to talk about our educational and apprenticeship resources
(Alice and Keely on the Creative Skillset stand)
Jenny Holloway CEO of FashionCapital & Fashion Enter commented: “For me personally it was a great opportunity to meet up with friends and colleagues that I had not seen for a while. It makes me realise how blessed we are within the fashion industry that we have so many real professional individuals that have such expertise and knowledge.”
Jenny had previously worked as a senior buyer for the Arcadia Group and a selector at M&S and as a result can see both sides of the industry picture in buying and manufacturing. She adds: “It’s true now that I would never go back to buying…far too old anyway…but I do love the challenges of manufacturing and particularly seeing the growth of all the designers we help and support.”
(Image right, from left to right: Designer Michaela Jedinak, Jenny Holloway and Paul Markevicius)
However, Jenny along with many others feel that the manufacturing sector does not get the credit it deserves. Emphasis and credit seems to be always placed with the designer or retailer. Even Frances Card, Multi Channel Consultant, Harvey Nichols stated at this year’s Graduate Fashion Week, “Grading, fit, quality, production, deliveries – these are fundamental to whether your brand will live or die.” A notion that all fashion colleges and universities should take note of.
Jenny adds: “I sometimes feel as though the manufacturing is not respected by the big gun retailers. I heard horror stories recently of retailers reducing budget and commitment on orders with manufacturers because of unsustainable reasons; such as the retailer is having a hard time and missing planned sales, that there is over stocking at the warehouse, that they are finding faults with the garments and therefore have an excuse to cancel. Half the time the manufacturer is too “scared” to complain incase they loose the entire account. This can’t be right. There has to be a partnership and an element of trust as with any company providing goods and services.”
Jenny along with many other UK-based manufacturers at MTM feel as though the time is right for a mini revolution. “There has to be more respect and consideration for the suppliers and manufacturers of stock because it really is a complicated process to make a garment from scratch. I realise now what a weak buyer I was not to fully understand all facets the garment construction process.”
(Clients ‘No Fixed Abode’ with Dominique and Sophie on the Fashion Enter stand)
Meet the Manufacturer trade show and conference had so much to offer because it brought together a consortium of like-minded business people, and credit to Kate Hills for all her hard work and commitment to coordinate such a powerful group of manufacturers. As Paul Markevicius Senior media representative at FashionCapital concisely added: “I love this event. Small but perfectly formed, oozing goodwill.”
Judging the amount of activity and interest displayed at this year’s MTM the demand for UK production is clearly there. The question now really is what’s next? A manufacturer’s association that could be available to help and support garment manufacturers?
“What an amazing turnout to this year’s Meet the Manufacture event, this year it was bigger and better than we expected. Myself and Dominique took to behind the stand were we promoted the varieties of production available at Fashion Enter, everyone who did not know about the company could not believe that they had not come across us sooner. We also spotted a few of our own clients who also sang our praise, you would have thought they worked with us too!
With pages and pages of client emails and a huge number of business cards we decided we needed to hold an open day in the next couple of weeks. We look forward to seeing all of the designers at our open day held on the 16th of this month!” Sophie Reding – Fashion Studio Assistant
(The Factory and Fashion Technology Academy will be holding an open day in the next two-weeks for prospective clients and students to review the facility, the date will be announced on the weekly newsletter. To subscribe to the weekly newsletter click here.)