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Letters to March 14, 2009

The round-up of letters to the editor.

Wolsey makes British knitwear pledge

I have just taken over as managing director at 250-year-old menswear business Wolsey, and I have kicked off a search for UK-based suppliers to make top-end knitwear for us.

In common with many UK brands, we have over the years moved our sourcing overseas. I would not pretend that we can ever bring back the glory days of ‘Made in England’ or ‘Made in Britain’ on all of our garments, but I am going to really try to find someone to work with us to at least reintroduce a genuine set of UK products into our range.

It is a challenging time for everyone right now, and the temptation is to cut costs and batten down the hatches. I’ve always believed that no one ever ‘shrunk themselves to greatness’, so I will be driving a number of new initiatives aimed at creating some real points of difference, and UK supply is at the top of my agenda.

Fergus Patterson, managing director, Wolsey, Leicester

Editor’s response

Drapers has set up a forum on networking website www.linkedin.com for people working in wholesale, manufacturing and all areas of supply.

The forum will enable individuals and companies to network, discuss business trends and share ideas, as well as find out about new technologies and initiatives. To sign up, go to www.linkedin.com and search for Drapers Wholesale Forum under Groups.

UK impresses at footwear shows

By and large the 80-strong UK contingent of exhibitors at footwear trade show Micam in Milan had a good show, exceeding their expectations.

A number of designer brands were introduced to carefully chosen European agents at an event hosted by the British Footwear Association (BFA) and backed by the UK government.

Also, the BFA has responded to a government request for selected footwear brands to be represented at charity event the International Shoes and Champagne Festival in Ottawa, Canada, in May.

I am writing this at Première Classe in Paris, where a small group of upscale UK footwear suppliers have enjoyed a good show due to a global turnout of key buyers. The organisers are planning a similar show in Dubai in October and the BFA is looking at ways to help members who are interested in attending.

Richard Kottler, chief executive, British Footwear Association, Wellingborough, Northants

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