John Smedley managing director Ian Maclean has said more workers must be encouraged to join UK manufacturing to halt rising costs.
Speaking at the Westminster Media Forum at Rutherford Theatre in London, the head of the Britishmade knitwear brand described feeling “like the proverbial dodo when walking past Primark and other [outsourced] fast-fashion outlets”.
Maclean said: “If we need linkers, seamsters or mechanics for the factory we must train them ourselves. Because of this, manufacturing costs have doubled in the last decade but our volumes have halved.”
Maclean stressed the need for more apprenticeship opportunities for school leavers.
He added that British brands should set up their own ecommerce sites, as direct sales to the consumer online capture an extra margin to counter rising manufacturing costs.
“Opening our web shop saved us,” Maclean said. “We need to see high-speed broadband in place across the country to incentivize small businesses [to sell] online.”