A Northumberland businesswoman is working alongside some of the biggest names in fashion to support the UK’s designers and manufacturers.
Other members of the 10-strong advisory board include Kate Stacey, the head of group sourcing for the Arcadia Group – which owns high street giants and brands Topshop and Topman, Burton Menswear, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Evans – Adam Mansell, CEO of the UK Fashion & Textile Association, and Bruce Montgomery, professor in design craftsmanship at Northumbria University.
Kate’s company created its first onesie for adults in 2008 and has gone from strength to strength. Its success has been based on the quality of its products, handmade at its factory in Ashington, and the ability for customers to create their own onesie through The All-in-One Company website.
“When we started we really struggled to find machinists and cutters because the UK fashion industry was on its knees,” she said.
“To be asked to join the advisory board is a great honour and I know that all the members are as keen as I am to do all we can to encourage and promote this country’s very talented designers and manufacturers.”
She added: “In the relatively short time we’ve been in business there’s been a real change. Customers are turning away from poor standard cheap imports and looking for quality – and there are more and more UK companies supplying just that.”
Around 150 design and fashion companies are taking part in the Meet the Manufacturer exhibition on 25 and 26 May at London’s Truman Brewery in London’s Brick Lane. It will be its third and biggest event so far and the only one of its kind to exclusively showcase British designs and products.
The creation of a Meet the Manufacturer advisory board, made up of industry experts, is to ensure its members use their knowledge and experience to make next year’s event as relevant and useful as possible to the industry.
Meet the Manufacturer was the brainchild of Kate Hills, who is the founder and editor of the Make it British website – a leading source of information on products made in the UK. Kate, who was a designer and buyer for brands including Burberry, Levis and M&S, said: ‘We really wanted to get Kate Dawson onto our advisory board as she understands the textile industry from both a brand and manufacturers perspective. As a woman who has set up her own factory, with no previous experience in garment manufacturing, she is a great inspiration, and her contribution to the board is highly valued.”