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Relaunched UKFT aims to win government cash for industry

The UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT) has relaunched, with the aim of getting closer to government. 

The organisation, which officially relaunched this week and repositioned itself as a business network, will lobby and seek funding on issues such as credit and skills to help the fashion industry prosper.

It will ramp up its seminar and events schedule, with breakfasts for chief executives in the industry, as well as events at the House of Commons to push the importance of the industry to MPs.

The aim is to hold more regular events and seminars throughout the year to bring the industry together. The first in this schedule will be a relaunch event in London next month, with Next chief executive Lord Wolfson as guest of honour.

UKFT chairman Peter Lucas said of a recent meeting with Lord Green, minister of state for trade and investment: “Lord Green gave me a lot of time and the Government is very open to what we are trying to represent with British fashion.”

Increasing the number of seminars providing advice and insight for members to help with business growth is also part of the relaunch.

Lucas said UKFT had repositioned in order to help it react to the difficulties many businesses are facing. “This is a tough time for many businesses, but the UKFT has provided steadfast advice and support for hundreds of fashion and textiles firms for over 70 years,” he said. “The way we work is now far more streamlined and we can react swiftly to key industry issues.”

Lucas added that UKFT is contemplating launching an under-30s club to help up-and-coming individuals network with others. “We need to be bringing young people into the structure, people who are operating now in our sector,” he said.

A reshuffle of UKFT executives last year resulted in the creation of a smaller board. Lucas continued as chairman, while former deputy chairman and treasurer, John Miln, stepped up to acting chief executive, now chief executive. Chief operating officer Adam Mansell instead became a consultant.

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