Day Two at TLTF
As well as looking at textiles and fabrics there was a sections catered to accessories. In this section there were a range of businesses which exhibited buttons, zips, labels, badges and other kinds of components. An interesting labelling company, Tessilgraf Corporation Srl, from Italy who made labels for luxury brands such as Prada and Leather Collection. Their focus in on fashion labelling, with a range of labels, trimmings and tape.
Lace & Textiles Ltd
We got the opportunity to speak to Andre Foston about the lace business and what is popular in this sector. He said there is ‘a lot of production work, mostly in China’ for their fabrics. Most prevalent demand is for ‘sheers and lace’, some of which are beautifully embroidered. A lot of demand ‘changes with seasons’ depending on trends that are more current or foreseeable in the future. However, some of the lace textures are ‘highly priced’, but a majority of customers are concerned with ‘current trends’ therefore will stock up on luxurious and valued fabrics. The Lace and Textiles Ltd company is on ‘good form with customers.’ A main factor about popular fashions is that there are a range of fashion trends, so ‘a lot of people do not know what they want’. In particular attending the events such as The London Textiles Fair is a chance for ‘people to gain inspiration’ the company also ‘feeds off mainstream fashions from stores such as River Island and ASOS’ because they are popular. ‘Chantilly’ is a favourite textile for its ‘light weight and embroidered design’.
G.H Leathers Ltd
Barry Francis who has been ‘working in leather trade for over 27 years’ was happy to talk to us about the leather business and stated that he ‘really enjoys it and has met some great people, as well as having seen some amazing leather garments being produced.’ Working for G.H Leather, Barry gave us an insight into the history and trends of the leather world.
G.H Leathers is ‘based in Northamptonshire, and are traditional British leather merchants. ‘We hold stock of over 1.5 million square feet’. They have all types of leathers from ‘lamb napper, shearling, cowhide, pig skin and vegetable tanned leathers’. The leather is used for garments, shoes, accessories upholstery and many other raw leather goods. ‘We have the biggest stock of varied leathers in the country and are one of Europe’s leading leather merchants’. The company has been ‘established since 1998, so has been going for over 15 years’. With a combination with ‘a few members of staff and the owners – there is over 40/50 years of working experience of leather’. ‘All of our leathers come from all over the world, from France, Spain, Italy, South America as well as the Far East’.
G.H leather were exhibiting in the fair, ‘targeting small designers, some major store groups and students. We offer a service to all students to help them to develop and encourage them and expand their knowledge of material and leather in particular, to try and help them progress with some kind of future to start up a business in design or production. There is many other services we offer – advice with leather fashion, use of factories as well as trimmings. We have an extensive price list and offer a free swatch service. We try to help as many people as possible, trying to work on new products too. So for a stake of £300/400 we can develop brand new articles for people, which is what we do for major store groups.’ The most popular selling leather fabric is a ‘lamb napper which originates from Italy’ where it is also dyed and finished. It’s used for your ‘traditional type of leather jackets – which is sold by various highstreets etc’.
Barry’s personal favourite are the ‘more natural antique leathers with more of the natural scarring using wax leathers which have more characteristics. Antiquey rustic type looks and finishes is what I find most attractive in a leather.’ He said, ‘we sell a minimum of one skin, and even give out free samples.’ He finished off by saying that ‘everyone is welcome to contact us and we’re more than willing to help’.
By Shivanee Tailor