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FEL Founder Talks Technical Recession to ITV News


New figures reveal that the UK fell into recession in the second half of 2023. The UK’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) shrank by 0.3% in the last three months of 2023 – October to December. The latest data shows a technical recession that is measured by total value of goods and services produced by all sectors of the economy, and that includes manufacturing. The news doesn’t look good for the government who had pledged to “grow the economy” in 2023.

In light of this news Fashion-Enter Ltd was asked to be filmed and interviewed for ITV and this took place on Thursday 15th February at FEL’s HQ in Haringey.

FEL Founder and CEO, Jenny Holloway comments: 

“At the end of 2022 FEL had their best year ever, we had a turnover of 5.2 million and this was very much supported by the PPE contract whereby we made 20,000 garments a week for a nine month period. How lucky were we! How fantastic it was that we had that PPE contract for single-use scrubs via Private White for the NHS service. What I don’t understand is if we can do that at a time of crisis for the NHS why can’t the government support garment manufacturing today? It’s wholly inappropriate that we are used in times of crisis, we stand up to the challenge, and then we are ignored and forgotten about. 

Our resulting situation with manufacturing is that we are 50% down on the year. Whilst the team have been fantastic and we have pivoted to new areas, such as education being 500% up, having a printing service thank to Kornit Digital, a one-piece flow cutting service thanks to Zund, and we’ve just had a new 300k suite with Style3D for fashion AI. This is not enough and we need support on the garment making side. We’ve moved our production towards higher value items so the Fashion Studio is extremely busy along with the repairs we now take for United Repair Centre for Patagonia have been fantastic. 

Due to the volume of production decreasing by 50% we’ve had to close one unit in London and we mothballed Wales while we prepare to open a Fashion Technology Academy with Powys County Council and NPTC Group of Colleges. Having ITV here today to discuss how there is a technical manufacturing recession, I think they are right, I think the sector is generally down and we really need to bring back garment making to the shores of the UK which has so much to offer with proximity sourcing and speed of response.”

The interview with Jenny Holloway at the FEL factory in Haringey features on the ITV News today, 15th February 2024 at 1.30 and 6.30pm

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