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Cheshire Bespoke faces insolvency after M&S cuts orders

Bespoke tailoring business Cheshire Bespoke and London menswear store Lutwyche will fall into insolvency next week after one of its largest customers Marks & Spencer “significantly reduced” its orders.

Lutwyche Limited, Lutwyche Holdings and Cheshire Bespoke Limited, run by Tony Lutwyche, will hold a creditors’ meeting on July 2 at the offices of insolvency practitioner David Rubin & Partners at 319 Ballards Lane, London.

One source told Drapers the business had no choice but to register for insolvency after the high street retailer cut orders for its Made in Britain collection: “It’s terrible, M&S really cut back the orders that they had promised and Tony had already geared up for them. They had no other choice.”

A spokeswoman for M&S said: “We are aware of the situation and are in contact with them.”

Robin Philpott, managing director of Cheshire Bespoke said the business was hoping to minimise or eliminate job losses following the liquidation.

“Our focus is on planning for the future and minimising adverse impacts for our employees and suppliers.”

He added that Cheshire Bespoke was “exploring the option of getting external investment”.

Another experienced menswear executive told Drapers it was “a question of when not if” Cheshire Bespoke went under. “Tony Lutwyche was courageous to go bigger scale with a British made M&S offering but big numbers isn’t always beautiful. Cash flow is king and brands cannot pay 100% upfront and wait nine months to get their goods.”

With 85 staff at its factory in Crewe Cheshire Bespoke is the last large-scale tailored manufacturer in the UK. It was developed from the rump of the old Chester Barrie manufacturing business. The Lutwyche shop is located at 15 Clifford Street, off Savile Row in London’s Mayfair. Both businesses continue to trade as normal.

David Rubin told Drapers the company has an “incredible amount of support” from its secured creditors and it is likely the business will be saved.

“There is a huge amount of goodwill and support for the business. It’s quite a unique proposition in the UK so I believe it will be saved. It is likely it will receive fresh investment and Tony Lutwyche will be used as the creative head of the business going forward.”

One menswear source said there would be “quite a number of parties” interested in taking over the business including Li & Fung as Cheshire Bespoke manufactured for one of its businesses Gieves & Hawkes. Other interested parties could include Wensum, which manufactures men’s tailoring in Mauritius and was looking at opening a factory in northern England. Also Prominent Europe, which owns the Chester Barrie brand, could be a potential buyer or investor.

Readers' comments (5)

  • Good luck to Tony Lutwyche and all his staff, you are highly respected within the industry, what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. Never give up and hold your heads high in true British fashion.

    "The Master" and Helen Duvall of Jack Moran Ltd

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  • As the old saying goes:

    'Never get into bed with M&S, as they'll always have a mistress'

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  • Never put all your eggs in 1 basket that's what we are always told! It was never going to work in M&S their customer couldn't relate to the price.
    I have a horrible feeling this will be another MADE IN UK going to fall into the hands of the Orient where quality and the label means something. Every brand the above mention own are all English Savile Row Brands but are made ?
    We shall wait and see!

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  • I wish them all the very best and am saddened to hear this. British tradition, talent and expertise desperately needs to be kept in British ownership, whilst appreciating the commercial might of overseas groups and big brands, we really must wake up to the talent we will lose in Britain if the large successful businesses don't support the real 'Best of British'. Shame on M&S. Don't start the conversation if you can't finish it and all the very best and good luck to the team at Lutwyche.

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  • Where is the Government when you need them? Why don't they realise the importance of this to the future of British Heritage and the lucrative fashion industry which pays it's taxes? There ought to be funding for these situations to support the heritage of British talent and skill before its too late.

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