Dressmakers have a ‘Dont be afraid to say no’ when it comes to fabric sourcing
Dressmakers in the United Kingdom are being asked not to buy fabric from factories that produce high-end clothing, such as Dolce & Lavender.
The industry has faced a series of high-profile cases in recent years, including the collapse of the Dolce brand in 2017 and a string of closures of high street retailers, including H&M, as well as the closure of the designer Stella McCartney’s namesake store in October.
Dressmakers are being urged to instead buy from suppliers who make more affordable garments and “do not use cheap fabric or waste that is no longer needed.”
A statement on the Dolces website reads: “We believe that quality and customer service are paramount in the textile industry and we work tirelessly to ensure that all our garments are made in the UK, where our fabric is sourced from and we meet or exceed the requirements of the relevant legislation.
We believe it is in the best interests of our customers to be able to shop from our online store, but that we need to make a choice to source from suppliers that meet our stringent standards.”
Dressmaker Denise Tuff, founder of Dressmaker Dorset, told TechRadars that the issue of sourcing high-quality fabrics was “a sensitive issue”.
“We have an obligation to the fabric manufacturers to meet our standards, to the retailers to meet their standards, and we’ve got a duty to consumers to have confidence in their choices,” she said.
“I think the more consumers we reach, the more we can empower them to have a say, but it’s a very sensitive issue.”
If you are an industry person, you have a responsibility to ensure the quality and supply chain is the same in terms of fabric suppliers.
“It’s important for consumers to understand the ethical fabric sourcing practices and where the fabric suppliers are coming from.”
So I don’t think it’s fair for consumers not to be aware of it.
“The way I see it, we can do our best to make sure that we source from quality fabric suppliers, but you can’t really control what happens to the brands that you buy from.”
Tuff added that there was a strong demand for high-value garments, but the quality of the fabrics was only as good as the supplier.
“We are seeing a lot of high end brands and designers that are very expensive and have high-maintenance costs and there are lots of fabrics out there that are made by a third party.”
And the quality has got to be as good, or better than the third party’s, so it’s really important that we do our due diligence.
“It’s not just high-street clothing that has faced high quality standards, according to Tuff.”
What we have is a number of garments that we’ve sourced from suppliers with a very low quality and high maintenance costs.””
It’s definitely something that’s been a concern.”
What we have is a number of garments that we’ve sourced from suppliers with a very low quality and high maintenance costs.
“They are very high-fashion, they are very luxurious and they’re very expensive.”
When you look at the number of clothes that are being made from those fabrics, it’s going to be a problem.
“For example, we do a lot more handbags in our fabrics.
There’s a lot in our fabric that’s made from high-priced, very expensive fabrics, and that’s a big issue.”
Tiff believes that consumers are being “fuzzy” about the quality issue.
“I think there is a real need for consumers and manufacturers to have the confidence in the quality that they’re buying, and to have more transparency about where the quality comes from,” she explained.
“People are becoming more aware of what’s going on with the textile and that there is an ethical fabric that has to be sourced from reputable companies.”
It comes as the textile sector faces growing concern about the growing use of cheaper fabrics by retailers and companies in the luxury goods industry.
In 2018, the Association of British Textile Importers (ABTI) released its annual survey of UK textile sourcing, which found that in the first six months of 2018, “most major retailers were sourcing their own fabric from overseas”.
“The number of UK-made fabrics being sourced from overseas has increased by more than 60 per cent over the past five years,” the report found.
“Over the same period, imports of British-made goods rose by 20 per cent.”
In 2017, the British Textiles Association said that “the number of British fabric imports by overseas manufacturers has risen by more then 200 per cent in a year”.
“More and more British firms are sourcing their materials from overseas,” the association said.
In January 2018, ABTI also warned that “low quality fabrics” were increasingly being used in high-cost high-volume brands.
“Low quality fabrics are becoming the norm,”