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Industry Talk

UK knitwear manufacturers spearhead development of the skills agenda

David Nieper designs and manufacturers its entire women’s fashion and knitwear collections in Alfreton, Derbyshire.

11th April 2017

Knitting Industry
 |  London

Knitwear, Knitted Outerwear, Collections, Colours/​Trends

David Nieper will become Britain’s first fashion company to privately sponsor a school, a sewing academy, university scholarships and lead the UK government’s trailblazer in national apprenticeship standards. The company designs and manufacturers its entire women’s fashion collections in Alfreton, Derbyshire, including making its own knitwear using Shima Seiki’s flat knitting machinery.

Christopher Nieper, MD of the David Nieper fashion house, will be sharing this inspirational story of survival and success at this year’s Meet the Manufacturer event, organised by Make it British, from 24-25 May at the Old Truman Brewery, London.

Kate Hills with Christopher Nieper. © Meet the Manufacturer

“The greatest threat to the renaissance of British fashion is a lack of skills, which is why we’re delighted that Christopher has agreed to tackle the issue of skills development at this year’s event.  There’s a big focus at the moment on inspiring the next generation of young people to make it in manufacturing and it’s important for us to reach out and inspire them.  Meet the Manufacturer provides the perfect platform,” commented Kate Hills, CEO and founder of Make it British.


This will be one of a number of free-drop in seminars new for 2017.  Other inspiring speakers include knitwear manufacturers Simon Cotton, of Johnstons of Elgin, and Hal Watts, of Unmade, who will present on the topic of Innovation meets Heritage.

Husband and wife team, Kate and Graham Holbrook from Turtle Doves will discuss How to make a million with an old sewing machine and a design idea. Finally, Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell, of Wallace Sewell, will present on Building a good partnership with your manufacturer.

Opportunity for British-made fashion

For decades, offshoring has almost totally depleted the UK fashion manufacturing industry, but rising production costs overseas, especially in China, combined with a weaker GBP following Britain’s vote to leave the EU present an incredible opportunity for British-made fashion.

Kate Hills launched Meet the Manufacturer in 2014. It is the only sourcing event exclusively for British fashion, textiles and homeware. This year’s trade show will be the biggest and best yet with over 150 exhibitors, according to organisers. 

New for 2017 are a series of drop-in workshops and seminars, connecting manufacturers of textiles, apparel and leather goods with buyers, designers and retailers looking to produce quality British-made products plus a brands hall, giving creative businesses the opportunity to showcase their distinct and inspirational labels, including Geoff Stocker, Isabella Queen and London Tradition.

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