link.png Support to high-end manufacturing could create more UK jobs.← Back

A new report commissioned by the BFC, Marks & Spencer, Creative Skillset and the UK Fashion & Textile Association, highlights the imperative need to support high-end manufacturing in the UK. Entitled ‘High-End and Designer Manufacturing, the report aims to define the challenges currently faced by the UK's luxury fashion industry.
Like the Alliance Project, the report addresses the issue of reshoring the manufacturing industry: “Investment and Government support is essential to enable UK manufacturers to continue to create designer and luxury products that support high-end designer businesses, that together drive a global reputation for excellence that supports international export opportunities for British fashion brands.” The primary reasons cited are that it would strengthen growth, reinforce the UK’s global reputation as well as create jobs.
The British Fashion industry is valued at £26 billion, employing over 800,000 people. The report highlights that last year alone, 5000 jobs were created in the industry and that this figure could rise to 20,000 by 2015. The high-end manufacturing sector, in particular, employed 8,750 people in 2013. These statistics were used as a base to predict how the industry might evolve – in a baseline case employment in the sector could drop by 2.4% by 2018. However, on the upside, almost an additional 1,500 workers could potentially be recruited, bringing the overall number of employees in the industry to 10,000.

The report indicates that manufacturers are mainly small businesses and that, consequently, there is little framework to unite them and they are invisible to designers. In addition manufacturers are facing the problem of an ageing workforce and that there isn’t enough structure in place to help businesses provide training and apprenticeships. Luxury label Mulberry, is cited as an example, which, by choosing to base production in the UK, hires 700 craftsmen in Somerset, as well as John Smedley, a company that employs as many as 400 people local to Derbyshire and South Yorkshire.

The report concludes that “there will be organic growth in the sector but that growth has the potential to double in the next five years.” Action needs to be taken to protect the high-end manufacturing industry as well as provide support to help it develop in order to promote growth and create more UK-based jobs