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.