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Top UK exporters win UKFE prizes

London womenswear brand Orla Kiely and designer Joseph Ettedgui, founder of premium women’s fashion brand and retailer Joseph, scooped the top gongs at last week’s 2008 UK Fashion Export (UKFE) Awards.

Orla Kiely, a finalist in the womenswear category, took the Gold Award for what the judges called its “positive targeting of specific overseas markets”, which has seen it grow its export sales to 60% of its turnover.

Founded in Dublin, Orla Kiely boasts a retail empire including new stores in Paris and Hong Kong while its website attracts shoppers from 14 countries.

Ettedgui landed the prize for Export Personality of the Year for helping to create what the judges described as a positive perception of the UK fashion industry.

Amoralia, a luxury maternity lingerie specialist, won the Lingerie and Beachwear Award for growing its distribution from 18 stockists in the first season to more than 100 in 16 countries.
Winner of the Men’s Accessories Award was Denisonboston, which supplies more than 200 stockists, with Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and the US among its strongest markets.

Jewellery brand Sam Ubhi, took the Women’s Accessories Award, while Ariella, a leading name in the UK for cocktail, evening and special occasion wear, took the Womenswear Award after its export sales tripled in three years.

London bag brand Chris & Tibor received the New Exporter prize. Now in its fourth season, the company has 30-plus stockists in Europe, the US and the Far East, including Barneys, Printemps and Takashimaya.

Emile et Rose, the gift-oriented babywear company launched in 2002, was the recipient of the Children’s Fashion award, while top prize in the Ethical Fashion category, awarded for only the second time, went to Scottish knitwear company Eribé.

In a poignant moment, knitwear brand John Smedley dedicated its victory in the Men’s Fashion category to former managing director Drew Walker, who died last year.
Paul Alger, executive director of UKFE, said: “British companies are having to be even more creative both with their collections and their marketing to grow their exports year on year, but our winners and finalists demonstrate it can be done.”

The awards were presented by HRH The Princess Royal, and the judging panel included Drapers editor Lauretta Roberts, WGSN managing director Steve Newbold, Jill Harden, global sales manager for FedEx and Nick Cook, event director of Moda Menswear.

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