As Brexit negotiations wear on, UK manufacturing is once more a hot topic with many hoping for a renaissance, especially in the textile industry.
Among the hopefuls are the bosses of fast fashion companies, whose businesses are made or broken by getting clothes from the drawing board to the warehouse rack in just a few short weeks.
But those ambitions are currently being thwarted by the allegations which dog UK clothing factories, predominantly located in Leicester.
Investigations by Channel 4’s Dispatches in 2010 and 2017 found that clothes headed for high street chains were being made by mistreated, underpaid employees.
But fast fashion bosses including New Look’s Anders Kristiansen, whose business was implicated in both investigations, and Asos’ Nick Beighton have spoken out, targeting both factory bosses and the Government.
The pair are among other retail bosses due to meet Government officials in Leicester this October to discuss how to tackle the problem, which Kristiansen has labelled a “ticking time bomb”.
“Many of these factories have unsafe conditions with fire escapes blocked up, workers [are] exploited and paid far below minimum wage,” he said. “What happens if there is another massive fire, what will it take for people to wake up?”
Kristiansen is also being kept busy by US investors, who are seeking to acquire part of New Look’s hefty £1.2bn debt.
Quote of the day
“Everyone knows what is going on but no one is listening, they are turning a blind eye to it.”
New Look boss Anders Kristiansen on worker abuse at Leicester textile factories
Today in numbers
The jump in Feelunique’s full year sales
The number of Game concessions in Maplin stores
Watch out for the Kantar Nielsen grocery market share figures tomorrow.