Dear sir, I write in reference to your Editor’s Comment ‘Making the most of making in the UK’ (Drapers, March 14).
I have just landed in Hong Kong from China and then I will be my way to Vietnam, where we have now started suit production because our customers find Chinese production too expensive. When I read last week’s edition, I wondered what planet we are living on.
Yes, there is specialist and designer manufacturing in the UK, but let’s not waste too much oxygen and money debating it. We don’t have the skills, the willing workforce or the required investment, nor is there any real demand for product at the prices needed for any potential manufacturer to make and retailer to sell.
Six years ago Lord Simon Wolfson [chief executive of Next] spoke at the relaunch of the UK Fashion and Textile Association and made no apologies for saying there was no longer a place for UK clothing, because the consumer does not need to and will not pay the price. He upset a few people, but he was, as always, honest and correct.
Your editorial condoned Marks & Spencer for its commitment, but I wonder, for example, how many suits made in Crewe they really sell per week. Maybe M&S should take a lesson on reality from Lord Wolfson in this (and many areas), while all these committees should recognise that volume manufacturing of apparel in this country is over.
Managing director of menswear supplier Berwin & Berwin