Princess Royal tours UK textile manufacturers

UK Textile Manufacturers - Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal met workers at Johnstons of Elgin – image courtesy of UKFT (Angus Bremner).
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal met workers at Johnstons of Elgin – image courtesy of UKFT (Angus Bremner).

HRH The Princess Royal has embarked on a nationwide series of visits to UK manufacturers, with a combined heritage of more than 1,000 years, as president of the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT).

In recognition of the skills and talent within UK fashion, jewellery and textile manufacturers, this year HRH The Princess Royal has begun a series of visits, from central London to rural Scotland. These visits form part of UKFT’s ‘Let’s Make It Here initiative, in celebration of the country’s rich manufacturing heritage.

Her Royal Highness started in West Yorkshire at textiles company Joshua Ellis, marking the cashmere specialist’s 250th anniversary. The visit included a tour of the mill where fabrics and accessories are produced for luxury fashion houses and exported to more than 20 different countries.

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The second visit was to the largest fashion and textile employer in the country, Johnstons of Elgin in Scotland. The 220-year old business supplies the world’s top luxury brands. The preservation of traditional craft and conservation of skills are of huge importance to the company, which offers apprenticeships to people of all ages at its training centre in Hawick. Johnstons of Elgin is the largest fashion and textile employer in the country.

For the third visit, UKFT’s president is due to visit London-based designer jeweller, Alex Monroe to mark his 30 years of trading. Each piece is designed and handmade in England and stocked worldwide.

Toye & Co, based in Birmingham will be the next visit. Since 1685 the company has designed and manufactured accessories, badges and military regalia. Traditional bespoke and military specialist tailors, Samuel Brothers, established in 1830, will round off the present series, with UKFT hoping to announce further visits in due course.

UKFT’s Let’s Make It Here website allows designers and brands to search by product type, support services or location, to make it easier to source in the UK. The database covers all stages of the supply chain, including yarn, fabric, garments and accessories, as well as ancillary support services, such as pattern cutters.

The website attracts significant interest, not only from the UK but globally, with many of the enquiries coming from overseas, providing those listed with export opportunities to promote the heritage, efficiency and craftsmanship of UK fashion, jewellery and textile manufacturers.

CEO of UKFT, Adam Mansell, commented: “Britain is home to world-class manufacturers, producing everything from advanced materials to traditional fabrics used by brands globally. UKFT is delighted that our president has kindly agreed to this series of visits, in recognition of the skills, talent and heritage throughout the UK.”

It’s director of international business development, Paul Alger noted: “Her Royal Highness has always been a strong supporter of fashion and textile products made in the UK. Over almost 30 years, our president has visited and met well over 100 manufacturers.”