Time to Rebrand Leicester’s Fashion Sector says local entrepreneur29 September 2021
Local fashion and textiles entrepreneur, Saj Khan, is on a mission to rebrand and rebuild Leicester’s ailing rag trade. After 18 terrible months of Brexit- and Covid-related closures, plus damning media headlines about working practices, the sector must change its approach if it is to survive.
“Leicester has become synonymous with fast fashion, made quickly and cheaply,” says Saj. “This has led to unethical practices in the industry to keep costs down, but also to customers not valuing the clothes they’re buying and viewing them as throwaway items. This also has an effect on our environment of course.
“To change this situation, we need to move towards more value-added garments, using better quality fabrics and rebrand Leicester as a quality-with-speed producer”, adds Saj.
Saj has teamed up with the Business Gateway to offer 12 local businesses a chance to reinvent themselves as part of a garment sector that is ethically compliant, innovative, focussed on quality and environmentally sustainable. The 12 businesses chosen for the programme will discuss the future challenges of the sector; be given expert guidance on how to prepare for industry audits and be encouraged to use sustainable fabrics and other innovations to create a new unique selling point for Leicester textiles.
There will also be support in upskilling staff to produce more technical garments and discussions are ongoing about reducing costs by sharing machinery and resources. Saj anticipates that the textiles and fashion sector in Leicester will shrink from 700 to 200 businesses but, by producing high quality garments that last, they will be able to command higher prices with better margins.
Sonia Baigent, LLEP Director and Chair of the Business Gateway Board, commented, “The fashion and textiles sector remains a vital part of Leicester’s economy and we are delighted to be working with someone as well-respected as Saj, to provide the support it needs to secure its place in our future growth.”
Any fashion or textiles company interested in applying for a place on this programme should talk to a Business Adviser at the Business Gateway on 0116 366 8487.