Corporate Clothing - director-e

Corporate Clothing - director-e

Issue 12 ~ June/July 2010

The international

magazine for the

corporate clothing,

workwear and

PPE supply chain


Editor: Catherine Christie




Check out our Brands



ecord numbers visited the Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show this April

and it’s great news for the industry - after a difficult two years, it’s now

showing signs of recovery.

Resurrecting the show hasn’t been easy. Since director-e took over its management in 2007

and put on its first show the following year, it has understandably faced scepticism and

apprehension from some companies dealing with the economic downturn. Fortunately, the

show has been able to weather the recession and come out of it stronger and better

equipped to face the future.

That’s thanks to the companies and individuals who have lent their support to the show over

the years. Without these people, this multi-million pound industry, which thrives on

innovation and buyers being able to see and touch products, wouldn’t have a dedicated

show. On behalf of director-e, I would like to thank everyone for their support and wish

exhibitors every success with chasing up their leads in the following months.

Another event that has become established in the industry’s calendar is director-e’s annual

Buyers’ Forum. This takes place on 12th July at the Holiday Inn in Milton Keynes and is

open to all buyers of workwear, corporate clothing and PPE. The free networking event will

provide buyers with the opportunity to share advice, non-confidential information and ideas

over a delicious lunch.

Last year, the Buyers’ Forum also encouraged debate on important topics including

tendering and the price wars between buyers and suppliers, and we’re expecting another

essential event this time around. To ensure you don’t miss out, email me at for your free ticket and we look forward to welcoming you!

4 News and diary dates New uniform for

Beaverbrooks; P2i and Global Armour

collaborate on G Tech Vest; Brook Taverner

parades its latest corporate collections, and

Tranemo brings its Aramid workwear to


10 Uniforms Nell Frizzell investigates the

power of uniforms over the human mind

12 Design Fashion designer Bruce Oldfield

discusses the joy of designing uniforms

14 PPE CarbonX non-flammable fabrics

prepare to ‘push boundaries’ in the fire


16 Exhibition Workwear and Corporate

Clothing Show review; top ten highlights

22 Awards The Business Manager Awards

recognise excellence; Incorporatewear and

Barclays win Business Manager of the Year

32 Conference WorkIt! Conference 2010

provides insight on supply chain issues and

new technology

36 Workwear Stay comfortable, stylish and

protected all summer in the latest workwear

37 Close-up Sue Stedman dares buyers to

experiment with colour

38 Footwear Alison Daniels consults experts

on how to find the right shoe for the job

40 Fabric Focus A round-up of the latest

work fabrics to keep you feeling good all year


42 Corporatewear NKD Clothing’s

Stephanie Yapp on building a brand through

corporate uniforms

Managing Editor:

Catherine Christie

BA (Hons) PG Dip


Nell Frizzell


Rudy Britton

News Feature Editor:

Alison Daniels

BA (Hons) and MCIM

Sales and Show Manager:

Lara Colmer

IT Web Director:

Marcus Muir

Managing Director:

Yvette Ashby

Published bi-monthly by:

Marston Consulting


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Graphic Design:

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Tel: +44 (0) 1443 819148


Regal Litho Ltd.

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The opinions expressed in this

publication are not necessarily

those shared by the editor or

publishers. Although the highest

level of care has been taken to

ensure accuracy the publishers

do not accept any liability for

omissions or errors or claims

made by contributors or

advertisers, neither do we accept

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publishers exercise the right to

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News in Brief

Read it first on, breaking news for the uniform and textile industry


■ Beaverbrooks receives new uniforms


ncorporatewear has rolled out its uniform

refresh for customer-facing staff at

Beaverbrooks the Jewellers.

The original brown uniform comprised trousers,

a long tunic with a mandarin collar, and a

camisole top for the ladies. The men,

meanwhile, wore a plain shirt and trousers with

the option of a jacket.

The refresh includes tweaks to these designs by

adding pleats to the front of the ladies’ tunic as

well as introducing new stripe shirt designs for

the men to be worn with the existing jacket and

trousers in Tootal Tintagel fabric.

Susie Nicholas, who is in charge of charity

and wellbeing at Beaverbrooks, said: “We were

so happy with our previous uniform that we

have tweaked little things. We just wanted to

inject something a bit different and push it


Since Incorporatewear began acting as

managing agent for the company in 2004, the

uniforms have acquired a more casual look.

“The secret is that it’s got to look friendly,” Susie

said. “There are also a lot of practical

considerations such as our staff getting in and

out of shop windows and kneeling down. Paula

(Cannon, head of design) understands the way

our business works so well that she is able to

incorporate all of those things.”


Phil Jepson, head of HR, said: “As our staffing

levels are quite low with sometimes only three

or four people in a store, we also like to have

one look that suits everybody. If we had three or

four choices and they all chose to wear

something different that day then you wouldn’t

have a corporate image.” ■

■ Research leads to strides in hospital clothing

Aresearch project conducted at

Germany’s Hohenstein Institute in

collaboration with Eschler Textil has

resulted in an innovation in the field of

warp-knitted working clothes.

The researchers say the new warp-knitted

fabrics have been developed for making clothes

for healthcare workers and doctors that retain

their functional properties - especially their

smart appearance and high degree of comfort -

even after industrial washing. This means that

highly functional knitted garments can also be

used in the textile-leasing business.

Until now, only woven fabrics made of

polyester/cotton have been used to make

medical clothing, because they are creaseresistant

and easy to wash commercially,

making them suitable for leasing. The

advantages of knitted over woven fabrics lie in

better management of perspiration, so they are

more comfortable to wear and offer increased

resistance to creasing. ■

The advantages of knitted over woven fabrics lie in better

management of perspiration, so they are more comfortable

to wear and offer increased resistance to creasing


New generation life protection from P2i

and Global Armour

■ Partnership creates

high performance

body armour

A‘new generation’ of high-performance

body armour claims to be lighter,

more comfortable and more

protective than any previous design,

thanks to P2i’s liquid-repellent nano-coating


The new G Tech Vest is a joint development

between two UK companies: P2i, whose

technology was originally developed to make

soldiers’ protective clothing more effective

against chemical attack, and Global Armour,

which has been at the leading edge of

product innovation in the armour industry for

over 30 years.

The G Tech Vest employs brand-new

lightweight materials, both in the physical

armour itself (a closely-guarded trade secret)

and the fabric that forms the armour into a

garment. P2i’s technology reduces weight by

avoiding the need for bulky durable water

repellents and increases comfort by

preserving the natural airflow and drape of the

garment material.

Dr Terry McCartney OBE, chairman of

Global Armour Ltd, said: “Police, security and

especially military forces around the world are

expressing a keen interest in our newly

developed lightweight high-performance life

protection equipment. P2i’s technology will

now feature in all our future contract tenders as

an exclusive and highly valuable benefit.” ■




■ New resource for organic textile traders


he Soil Association has launched an online resource from the Global Organic Textiles Standard

(GOTS) that will allow traders to easily find textile products that have been produced in a socially

and environmentally responsible way through the entire supply chain.

The Soil Association is a leading member of the international working group, which has defined a

common certification standard for the entire textile supply chain from harvesting through to manufacturing

and labelling. Now, a comprehensive database of all certified organic textiles that have met the GOTS

standards has been launched, as part of the new website that provides information on their standards

and certification.

Sales of organic products are a fast-growing segment of the UK clothing and textiles market, exceeding

£100m for the first time in 2008 - an annual increase of around 40%.

For more information visit: ■


■ New styles from Brook Taverner

Brook Taverner has launched

its new corporate collections

and new corporate brochure

with a thrilling fashion show.

Customers were invited on 21st and

22nd April to the company’s offices in

Keighley, West Yorkshire, where they

were treated to the catwalk

performance, which according to

customer feedback is the best yet.

The trade supplier of stocksupported

corporate clothing

showcased its brand new

Performance Collection and Concept

Collection, and also updates to the

Sophisticated and Corporate Fashion

Collections, all of which are

manufactured from fabrics meeting

the environmental Oeko-Tex ®

Standard 100.

Lycra has been added to the

Performance Collection’s

polyester/wool blend suiting for

improved wearer comfort, while a

high twist yarn offers crease

resistance and exceptional

performance. A new navy stripe

design is also available in the

collection, which is fully washable.

The Corporate Fashion Collection

was shown off to full effect with

Brook Taverner’s new shirts and

blouses, and refreshes to the

Sophisticated Collection included a

new two-button jacket, a shaped

skirt with intricate back panels and

boot-cut trousers.

Finally, the entry level Concept Suiting

Collection, which is made from a

strong and durable polyester /

viscose blend fabric, has been

introduced and includes a ‘sew

easy embroidery system’, which

enables easy embroidery access.

The new products are available in

stock from May. ■

■ James & Nicholson

aim to score with


Coinciding with this summer’s

World Cup, Daiber brand James

& Nicholson has launched a

new range of football team wear

designed for the amateur team market,

from goalkeepers and coaches to adult

and young team players.

New Team Shirt (JN 386) and matching

Basic Team Shorts (JN 387) are

breathable, quick-drying and easy care.

James & Nicholson also offers the

products as Team Shirt Junior (JN 386K)

and Basic Team Shorts Junior (JN 387K)

for younger players.

Goalkeeper Pants (JN 368) and

Goalkeeper Gloves (JN 376) are also

available. The team wear collection not

only includes garments for players and

coach but accessories such as goal nets,

ball pumps and footballs. ■

The team wear

collection not only

includes garments

for players and coach

but accessories such

as goal nets, ball

pumps and footballs



International BLOG

■ Wolverine reaches higher level

of performance


S footwear specialists Wolverine World Wide, Inc. reported that

strong revenue growth, gross margin expansion and operating

expense leverage combined to generate record earnings in the

first quarter of 2010.

The group owns Hush Puppies, Merrell and the Wolverine work boots

brand. Reported revenue for the first quarter was $284.9m, an increase

of 11.6% over the previous year. ■

■ Equmen launches health sock


ustralian underwear brand Equmen has launched a new sock it

refers to as “technical health-wear for the feet”. Precision Socks

are cushioned support socks that incorporate the company’s

proprietary Helix-Mapping(TM) System.

The company claims the athletic-inspired technology wraps around the

arch for extra support while precision fit fabric applies therapeutic

pressure to help improve the flow of oxygen in the blood and remove

toxins from the muscles, thereby relieving fatigue and cramping. The

sock also channels air, wicks moisture and boasts a reinforced

construction designed to stay put. ■

■ Indian Technical Textile

Association formed


Diary Dates 2010


he Indian Technical Textile Association (ITTA) has been inaugurated

by the Ministry of Textiles in India. ITTA is expected to support the

growth of the Technical Textile Industry in India, which the

government has identified as a priority investment area for both the

domestic and export market. Technical Textiles offers a huge opportunity

in India for both local consumption and exports. Based on current usage

patterns, the Domestic Consumption market alone is expected to

exceed US $13bn by 2012-13. ■

7th-12th June


Leipzig, Germany

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16th-18th June


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30th June-1st July


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12th July


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1st-2nd September


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F: +33 (0)1 47 56 32 99


■ Nell Frizzell on the relationship

between fashion and function

Suits You, Sir

Alright, alright - it’s

time to talk

about the

elephant in the

room. I’ve been writing

about fashion and

workwear for nearly a

year now, and I still

haven’t given the suit a

proper dressing down.

I’ve barely touched on it.

I’ve been thoroughly

buttoned up. Well, no


The suit, in all its manifold

lounge, morning, black

tie, dress and frocking

variations, is like water to

the fashion world: so

timeless, clear and

ubiquitous that we just

can’t help splashing it

about and mixing it up a

bit. From the stripping

down of the Regency

military garb to the

Victorian three-piece,

from Vivienne

Westwood’s scurrilous

pirate approach to tartan,

the suit has undergone

more variations than


There are wide geographical variations - the British suits of Savile Row favour a

single-breasted, slim-line suit with fairly modest shoulder, while the Italians tend

much more towards double-breasted, structured suits with larger shoulder

pads. Just think of all those mafia films in comparison with every episode of

The Avengers to see what we mean.

Britain is also the home of the pin-stripe suit, last seen scurrying away from a

wall of paparazzi on the back of a shame-faced banker.

There are also huge period differences in suiting. From matching Edwardian

breeches to inter-war lounging to a Burtons demob suit to the Italianate 60s

mods to the 1980s power dressing, suits have been hanging around like a

parachute for years. So, where do we go from here? What can possibly be

left? Well, my friends, I’ll tell you: the short suit, the silk suit, the pastel suit, the

soft suit.

Yes, this summer, offices, schools, streets and banks will be a veritable Miami

Vice of soft, pale, chic suits. Take your lead from Chloe Sevigny in the

namesake label Chloe. You can twin suit jackets with skirts, shorts and

trousers, as well as soft blouses or even less formal T-shirts. So, release your

inner banker this summer and throw on a suit. Just don’t tell accounts. ■

From matching Edwardian breeches to

inter-war lounging to a Burtons demob suit

to the Italianate 60s mods to the 1980s

power dressing, suits have been hanging

around like a parachute for years



■ JMP Wilcox buys European Textile Recycling

European Textile Recycling (ETR) has sold its wholesale clothing collecting business to textile

collector and sorter JMP Wilcox. Post acquisition, JMP Wilcox will possess more than 2,000

textile and shoe recycling containers across England and Wales, and will offer services of national

standards to its clients.

Wilcox has also purchased all of ETR’s equipment. The whole transport division of ETR, including existing

transport management team and ETR’s vehicles with drivers, will carry on with the textile collections. It will

also continue with its door-to-door textile collection service and mobile phone recycling service.

ETR is UK’s largest commercial textile collector. It collects textiles from local authorities, in partnership with

several charities including the County Air Ambulance and Cancer Research UK. ■

■ Tranemo expands protective clothing line

The new Aramid range from Tranemo

Workwear offers a lightweight yet

functional inherent FR, antistatic and

electric arc resistant range of garments.

Particularly suited to utility companies,

contractors and all industry sectors that work

with electricity, the garments have been

developed together with large end users in

Scandinavia and offer a range of EN471 high

visibility colour options, including yellow, orange

and red.

Together with excellent long-term performance,

the range offers minimal colour fade and no

discolouring, which has been a significant issue

with Aramid garments in the past.

The range complements Tranemo’s existing

Cantex range of inherent FR, antistatic and

electric arc resistant garments that are already

used widely in this sector, and sister company

Lyngsoe Rainwear’s extensive range of windproof,

waterproof and breathable FR/AST clothing. ■



Power of the Mind

Nell Frizzell delves into the human psyche to investigate

the psychological effect of uniforms and their power to

affect our day-to-day lives

As anyone who has pulled on a new

team kit or buttoned up the jacket

on their new school uniform can tell

you, looking good makes you feel

good. That isn’t just ad-speak - it’s a well

documented psychological effect. Forget

‘you are what you eat’: from athletes to air

stewards, we are what we wear.

Wearing a uniform can encourage a sense of

collective identity, of belonging. As Dr Amanda

Visick, senior lecturer at the School of Psychology

for London Metropolitan University, puts it:

“Uniforms deliver powerful messages about what

we can or should expect of those who wear them

and how those who wear them can and should

behave and think.”

Social positioning

When we are dressed in a uniform of authority,

such as the police, we will embody that authority.

In this sense, uniforms are part of what Visick calls

“social positioning”. This social positioning is

particularly evident in school uniforms. According

to a survey published by the former education

secretary Charles Clarke in 1993, 83% of

parents were in favour of pupils wearing a school

uniform, 68% thought that school uniforms could

help improve school discipline and 66% felt that

school uniforms could improve school standards.

When schoolchildren dress in a uniform, studies

show that there is a reduction in bullying and peer

When schoolchildren dress in a uniform,

studies show that there is a reduction in bullying

and peer pressure because the clothing helps to

create a sense of social equality

pressure because the clothing helps to create a

sense of social equality. In effect, uniforms create a

sense of collective school identity, which reduces

incidents of people being singled out or picked on.

Commenting on the study, Clarke said: “School

uniforms are good for discipline and school ethos,

giving pupils a real sense of identity with their

school. They can also help us tackle bad

behaviour in the classroom. Heads who turn round

failing schools tell us that uniforms play an

important part in their work to raise standards.”

As well as the sense of identity that is afforded by

a uniform, what we wear will also have a strong

effect on our self-confidence. Knowing that you

are dressed in the most up-to-date, well designed

workwear will make you feel good about how you

look, and help you feel confident that you can

deliver the highest possible standards.

Certificate of legitimacy

Possibly the most important psychological effect

of the uniform, though, is the effect that it has on

the people around you. It’s all very well if your suit

makes you feel like James Bond, but it counts for

nothing if other people think you look like Mr Bean.

A study by Brad J Bushman at the University of

Missouri-Columbia that looked into the effect of

clothing on compliance concluded that “uniform is

a certificate of legitimacy”.

The Bushman study carried out an experiment in

which a stooge was dressed in either a uniform,

professional clothing, or casual, sloppy clothes.

This person then told participants in the study to

give money to someone who needed extra cash

for a parking meter. The results showed that

people were much more likely to comply with the

order to give money when the person telling them

to was dressed in a uniform.

We see this effect most clearly with the police

uniform. In a study by Carol Sigelman and Lee

Sigelman called ‘Authority and Conformity:

Violation of a Traffic Regulation’, when an individual

wearing a police-style uniform stood on a

pavement near a corner, drivers committed fewer

violations at that intersection. Even though the

person didn’t represent a real police department,

wasn’t wearing a badge and didn’t display a

weapon, people still drove more safely: the uniform

alone was enough to affect people’s behaviour.

Similarly, a study by Steven Balkin and Pauline

Houlden in 1983 showed that, when people were

asked to rank 25 different uniforms according to

several different categories, test subjects

consistently ranked the police uniform as the one

most likely to induce feelings of safety.

As the psychology lecturer Amanda Visick says:

“It would be difficult for most people to imagine

police officers in brightly coloured uniforms

because the sobriety of police officers needs to be

visible. It is part of the ‘rhetoric’ of law and order

and the judicial system as a whole.”

Impact in sport

The psychological impact of uniform on others is

also important in the world of sport. Richard

Brand from Samurai Sportswear explains: “There

is definitely a psychological effect of a new kit. You

feel that you’ve got a new style, a new approach,

and uniforms definitely create a bond between

you. When you turn up to a rugby game, for

instance, where some of you have lost your socks,

or your shirt’s gone a funny colour in the wash, it

can be really intimidating to see the other team all

in a fresh kit.

“A uniform has more of an effect on the opposition

than the people who are wearing it. When you

watch somebody warm up and they’ve got the


Wearing a school uniform can encourage a

sense of collective identity, of belonging

best kit, and you see them all strutting about,

then maybe you feel that they’re going to be

better than they really are.”

A study published in the Journal of Sports

Science in 2008 looked into the effects of kit on

opposition goalkeepers, and backs up Richard

Brand’s point. In the study, 12 goalkeepers

watched video footage, filmed from their

viewpoint on the football pitch, of four players

preparing to take a penalty kick, and were

asked to give feedback on how likely they

thought their chances were of saving the


Two of the players wore red, and two wore

white, and either looked directly at the camera

for 10% of the film or 90% of the film. In the

results, the goalkeepers reported that they felt

least likely to save the penalty when the players

in the film were wearing red and looking directly

at the camera.

The keepers also reported that they felt the

players in red were more confident, assertive

and composed. This sort of effect in intimidating

or ‘psyching out’ your opponents can be of

huge benefit in competitive sport.

Football players that wear red are

often perceived as more confident,

assertive and composed

Scientists at Durham and Plymouth universities

found that, of the top 68 football teams, those

who wore red won more often at home. They

also found that Olympic competitors wearing

red were more likely to succeed in their event.

One explanation is that, because red in nature is

associated with danger, competitors are

intimidated. Red is also associated with

aggression, ‘seeing red’, and so may increase

the levels of testosterone in players, helping

them to run faster and recover more quickly.

The effect of uniform on others around you isn’t,

however, confined to the playing field.

Psychologists at the University of Florence

found that children reported feeling less scared

of nurses when the healthcare staff wore

unconventional, colourful uniforms. Their

parents, meanwhile, considered the nurses

more reliable when they wore these colourful

uniforms. The findings seem to suggest that the

traditional white uniforms may have too many

psychological associations with illness or pain.

Of course, what brings the psychology of

fashion and uniform together is desire - our

desire to feel good, to look good, and to feel

that what we are wearing reflects who we are.

As Visick argues, uniforms “say something to

others about our identities. Although they are a

requirement of the job, we choose that job”.

For those choosing uniforms, then, it is

important to bear in mind not just what the

uniforms say about the company but how they

will make employees feel about themselves.

Uniforms can create a subconscious but

pronounced effect, with the right design and the

right colour capable of creating the right

impression on customers and the right mindset

in employees. ■



There is no escaping the importance of

colour, but what does it all mean? Why

do people relax more in green rooms?

Why do weightlifters do their best in

blue gyms? Psychologist Damian

Hughes, of,

explains the effects.


While black can imply submission – priests

wear black to signify submission to God – it

is predominantly viewed as the colour of

authority and power. The negative side of

this is that it can be overpowering, even

making the wearer seem aloof or evil. It is

popular in fashion because it makes people

appear thinner and is also stylish and



White reflects light and is considered a

summer colour. It is popular in decorating

and in fashion because it is light, neutral,

and goes with everything. Brides wear

white to symbolise innocence and purity,

while doctors and nurses wear white to

imply sterility.


The most emotionally intense colour, red

stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing

when worn in sports. Since it is an extreme

colour, red clothing might not help people

in negotiations or confrontations. Red

clothing does get noticed, but makes the

wearer appear heavier. While red is also the

colour of love, pink is the most romantic

colour and has a more tranquil effect.


Associated with the sky and the ocean,

blue is one of the most popular colours. It

offers the opposite reaction to red: peaceful

and tranquil, blue causes the body to

produce calming chemicals, so it is often

used in bedrooms. Fashion consultants

recommend wearing blue to job interviews

because it symbolises loyalty. Additionally,

people are more productive in blue rooms,

with studies showing weightlifters are able

to handle heavier weights in blue gyms. On

the negative side, though, blue can also be

seen as cold and depressing.


Currently the most popular decorating

colour, green symbolises nature. Calming

and refreshing, it is the easiest colour on

the eye and can improve vision. People

waiting to appear on TV sit in ‘green rooms’

to relax, while hospitals often use green for

the same reason. Dark green, meanwhile,

is masculine, conservative and implies

wealth. ■ 11


Bruce Oldfield

Cause for Celebration

On the eve of his 60th birthday, world-renowned

fashion designer Bruce Oldfield talks exclusively to

Catherine Christie about his passion for designing

uniforms and his next big project

Few famous fashion designers can

boast a clientele as eclectic as

Bruce Oldfield’s. From Hollywood

actresses and royalty to footballers

and upmarket hoteliers, Oldfield has

dressed them all.

Variety has always been a central part of

Oldfield’s 35-year career, but even he never

expected to end up designing a uniform for

McDonald’s. “It never occurred to me when I

became a fashion designer that I would be

designing clothing for fast food workers,” he

says. “Even ten years ago, it didn’t occur to me

- but I like to rise to a challenge.”

His drive has certainly paid off in the

international fashion area. Best known for his

ready-to-wear collection and couture for

women, Oldfield is a tour de force, widely

acknowledged for having a unique

understanding of how to make a woman look

and feel her best.

Since appearing on the scene in 1975 with his

ready-to-wear label, followed shortly by his

couture label, Oldfield’s designs have been

worn by a string of high-profile clientele

including the late Princess of Wales, Joan

Collins and Catherine Zeta-Jones. His

achievements have also been recognised with

an OBE for his services to the fashion industry,

and a number of honorary fellowships and

doctorates at UK universities.

So what drove the toast of the fashion world to

design uniforms, traditionally the poor relation

of fashion?

“It’s a big leap but I like it,” Oldfield says. “A lot

of what I do is, ‘Oh, you want an extra ten

yards in your dress? OK, madam, here it is.

There is tons that I still

want to do. I’ve got

another 20 years left.

When you think of

Armani and Lagerfeld,

they’re in their 70s

these boys - spring


You want a bit more embroidery? Fine, it’s only

going to cost you another £2,000’, so it’s quite

nice now and again to sit down and really think

how much that garment is going to cost and

whether it will look decent after 20 washes.”

Oldfield knows that his uniforms will be worn for at

least three years and this also presents a rare

satisfaction. His regular clientele are “lucky if they

wear it twice”, he says.

But with the Bruce Oldfield fashion brand built on

exclusivity and luxury, how does he manage to

reconcile these qualities with the economical

and inclusive nature of a uniform? In a word, he

says, “elegance”.

Oldfield has always been known as a classic

designer who has avoided making seasonal

fashion statements. In the 1970s and ’80s, when

eccentric fashion was popular, he recognised the

need for understated, flattering clothes that

were timeless and elegant. These values, and

a life-long commitment to quality and the

technique of making clothes, have been absorbed

into his uniforms.

His first design for the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel in

Dubai was produced in partnership with Alexandra

plc. The uniform supplier approached Oldfield in

the late 1990s as part of a strategy to expand its

corporatewear business and Oldfield has worked

with them ever since. “The Burj Al Arab uniform

was a little bit iffy because if there was an empty

space on the uniform they wanted a bit of glitter

on it, which wasn’t my cup of tea, but we rose to

the challenge.”

His favourite uniform was for the hostesses at

Wembley Stadium. “They were very sharp dark red

trouser suits, and a raincoat with a fake fur collar

and cuffs - not at all what you would expect a

uniform to be.”

Each of Oldfield’s uniform projects couldn’t be

more different, with subsequent ventures including

Warner Village Cinemas and Norwich City Football

Club, where he worked closely with the club’s

shareholder, celebrity chef Delia Smith.

“Delia being Delia had it in her mind that she

wanted sexy, tight shorts for her boys,” Oldfield


“We said, ‘Actually, Delia, the look today isn’t sexy

black shorts - that was about 1965. The look

these days is grungier and down to the knee,

sloppy’. ‘I don’t care!’ she said” - Oldfield performs

a comically shrill impression - “‘My boys have to

look sexy and handsome!’


“We reached a compromise in the end and I think

the boys were pleased as well. We were using all

these slick fabrics where the rain slid off, so any

naughty tackler would just slide off another player.

“I find doing all these things quite interesting

because they are all completely different to what I

do. It doesn’t mean I’m going to start making

cycling shorts for my lady clients, but life would be

very boring if you did the same thing all the time.”

Arguably Oldfield’s most publicised uniform to date

has been the 2008 project for 67,000 UK staff at

McDonald’s. The collection includes a black and

mocha polo shirt, black cargo-style trousers, a

black and mocha baseball cap and black belt and

apron, with managers being given black suits with

white or biscuit coloured shirts, with the choice of

three ties.

“That was fun to do because it involved a wide

range of garments, from uniforms for people on

the front line frying food through to managers who

were interfacing more with the customers. But

everybody there seems to do a bit of everything -

the one who is near the fat frying can also go out

front, so the uniform had to be very versatile.”

For a man who is used to creating designs to be

worn by one client, how does he find trying to

please an entire workforce? “The problem with

uniforms is that you do have to cater to a huge

size range. It’s often quite difficult to design

something which is suitable for both a size 8 and a

24, so you have to temper what you do.

“The other issues are always the care of the

clothing and the suitability for purpose. The

business of everything having to be washable

does cause problems but there are some very nice

fabrics being made that can be washed at 60

degrees, so it’s not as bad as it used to be.”

Oldfield celebrates his 60th birthday in July. He

may be a little uneasy about the milestone - he

jokingly denies all knowledge when first prompted

- but he has no plans to slow down just yet.

“There is tons that I still want to do. I’ve got

another 20 years left. When you think of Armani

and Lagerfeld, they’re in their 70s these boys -

spring chickens.”

It’s not just talk, either. Oldfield opened a new

bridal shop in London last year and he’s now got

one eye on his next uniform project. “I hope that

more comes my way,” he says. “I would like to

do Virgin or British Airways. The last British

Airways uniform by Julian McDonald I thought was

rather nice.

“Twenty-five years ago, when I pitched for it with

Dewhirst Corporate Clothing, you couldn’t do

anything that was fitted. Everything had to be

rather loose and lumpy and not very attractive.

I think it was the influence of Virgin Airways’ red

ladies that made BA suddenly think, ‘OK, our

girls probably want to feel a bit sexier, a bit

more womanly’.”

Oldfield is certainly the man for the job when it

comes to making women feel good. Just ask

Sienna Miller, Barbra Streisand, Jerry Hall or Diana

Ross. Or, if you don’t tend to spend your time in

the company of the A-listers, you could always

pop down to your nearest McDonald’s. ■

Arguably Oldfield’s most publicised uniform to date has been the 2008 project for 67,000 UK staff at McDonald’s




Top Tips for



“Don’t underestimate your client.

Women want to be flattered, they

want their uniforms to make the best

of their bodies and they don’t just

want something loose so that it fits

everybody. They want to feel womanly

and attractive and so many uniforms

just don’t do that.

“Also, I’m not a firm believer in designing

things by committee. I think that’s always

a disaster when you’ve got too many

focus groups and too many sessions

where you have people from all areas of

the business putting in their two pence.

That’s not to say you can’t listen, but don’t

try to incorporate every single issue into

one garment because you will end up with

a dog.” 13


Turning Up the Heat

Chapman Innovations presents CarbonX ® fabrics - the flame-retardant clothing market’s

next big thing

From an early age, we learn to

associate fire with danger and avoid

it but, for millions of people around

the world, working closely with this

unpredictable element is an

inescapable part of their daily lives. They all

need to be made safe, and US company

Chapman Innovations believes it’s taken

protection against heat and flame to a new

level with its non-flammable CarbonX ®


Underlying importance

Arguably, one of the biggest developments in

personal protective equipment in recent years has

been a growing awareness of the importance of

base layers as an additional line of defence from

A burner torch demonstration with CarbonX and other

market leading FR branded fabrics

the neck to the ankles. President of Chapman

Innovations Tyler Thatcher says: “In many

splash-metal environments, such as smelters and

foundries, workers have typically worn a cotton Tshirt

and briefs, a comfortable and inexpensive

combination but one that has serious drawbacks.

“The cotton absorbs moisture and holds it close to

the skin. A cotton base layer also provides virtually

no additional protection in the event of an accident

or other unforeseen circumstances.”

CarbonX is a new generation of carbon-based

materials that have come to the rescue. Inherently

flame-retardant, it can be incorporated into the

base layer of a multi-layered PPE ensemble as well

as other products to drastically minimise burn

injury and increase the chance of survival.

Simon Walker, agent for CarbonX

Europe, says: “If the risk is more

intense, non-flammable fabrics

with CarbonX can give you that

edge: it provides superior

immediate protection, giving

wearers longer to evacuate a

hazardous environment.”

Non-flammable fabrics with

CarbonX use a patented blend of

partially carbonised fibres and

aramid strengthening fibres that

won’t ignite, burn, char, shrink or

significantly decompose when

exposed to intense flame, molten

metal, arc flash or high heat. This is

because the fibres carbonise and

then expand, eliminating any

oxygen content within the fabric.

Workers operating around fire

regularly need their workwear to

provide not only good protection

from radiant heat but also excellent

moisture transportation and

breathability so that they remain comfortable at all


CarbonX fabrics transfer heat very slowly

compared to other non-flammable fabrics, and are

breathable, comfortable and odour-resistant. The

blend also improves abrasion, wash durability and

cut resistance to allow CarbonX fabrics to maintain

strength and flexibility during a catastrophic event

involving fire, molten metal or arc flash.

Racing history

While used in a variety of fields, CarbonX

technology has its origins in the racing industry.

Chapman Innovations’ Mike Chapman made it a

lifetime pursuit to increase engine performance in

the world of motorsports, but it was his desire to

create a non-flammable fabric capable of

protecting his friends and colleagues within the

industry that led him to create CarbonX.

Partnering with some of the world’s best textile

engineers, he identified a combination of fibres

from which he was able to create a highperforming

fabric that was inherently nonflammable,

that would not burn, melt or ignite

when exposed to direct flame, was impervious to

molten metal splash and had exceptional electrical


Chapman Thermal Products began

manufacturing, marketing and selling this new

textile under the brand name CarbonX ® in 1999.

They were later granted patent protection in the

United States and Canada for OPAN-blended

textiles, eliminating the ability of potential

competitors to create fabrics capable of delivering

the same levels of persistent protection offered by



Today, CarbonX products are worn by those

working in industry, motorsports drivers and crew,


Chapman Innovations' new WeldX fabric has been

developed specifically for welders, to improve comfort and

reduce fatigue and stress

firefighters, and police and military to provide

increased levels of protection in the most

dangerous environments.

Besides long underwear, CarbonX is available in

knit, woven and non-woven fabrics in a variety of

products including non-flammable gloves, socks,

hoods, workwear, shoes and boots - all of which

conform to the latest EN standards for fire, molten

metal and arc flash. CarbonX fabric blends are

customisable, enabling each resulting fabric

construction to be tailored for optimised

performance for specific applications and risks.

Keen for people not just to take their word for it,

CarbonX has several testimonials at from racing drivers, steel

workers, fire fighters and stuntmen who have

received peace of mind or even had their lives

saved by wearing CarbonX garments.

The most harrowing is from the wife of a steel mill

accident victim. Molten slag exploded all over his

body while he was at work on 2nd February 2004,

almost completely burning off the

green overalls he was wearing.

Fortunately, he was also wearing a

CarbonX hood and underwear due

to the cold evening and it was this,

his wife says, which saved his life.


meets value

Buyers of protective clothing will

want to safeguard their wearers to

the best of their ability and in the

most economical way possible.

High performance at a good price

is where CarbonX believes it

stands out from other brands in

the flame-retardant - or FR -

market. “CarbonX fabrics are the

next big innovation in the fire market,” Simon says.

“They are pushing boundaries because they offer

the highest level of resistance against fire, metal

splash and arc flash - competitively priced for long

term savings compared to other premium


According to statistics from Chapman Innovations,

leading FR fabrics burn at approximately 315°C,

Inherently flame-retardant, CarbonX can be

incorporated into the base layer of a multi-layered

PPE ensemble as well as other products to

drastically minimise burn injury and increase the

chance of survival

CarbonX long


provides an

additional line of

defence from the

neck to the ankles

for workers


around fire

begin to shrink while charring, then crack and

decompose - all in about ten seconds.

CarbonX disburses the heat energy and will take

about 60 seconds before the heat will start to

penetrate the next layer of fabric. It will not ignite or

burn even when exposed to temperatures

exceeding 1400°C for over 120 seconds.

Flame resistance is commonly measured by the

limiting oxygen index, or LOI (achieved by finding

the lowest oxygen concentration required to

support and sustain burning, within a controlled

atmosphere). The higher the LOI rating, the more

thermally stable the fibre. CarbonX possesses an

LOI of 55, which is the highest LOI rating of any

FR fabric available.

Future innovation


Well-established in the US, CarbonX is now

looking to make greater inroads in the European

fire market. Innovation is a constant within the

company and its latest products are for the electric

arc flash sector and also WeldX for the welding

and molten metal industry.

Finding ways to reduce ‘body burden’ is a key

challenge within the PPE industry and WeldX

fabric provides improved wearer comfort and

increased productivity. Developed specifically for

welders, WeldX fabric uses a CarbonX woven

fabric with a high performance treated surface.

When incorporated into garments and products,

WeldX is half the weight of a typical leather

garment, with a cooler and more comfortable

garment design to reduce fatigue and stress.

President of Chapman Innovations Tyler Thatcher

says: “It will allow you to perform, unhindered,

providing improved productivity safe in the

knowledge you have CarbonX providing protection

to EN ISO 11611 and 11612.”

Competition drives innovation and the importance

of both within the flame-retardant clothing market

can’t be overstated if professionals are to be given

unquestionable reliability and the highest level of

protection against threats of fire, metal splash and

arc flash.

Armed with impressive test results and

testimonials, CarbonX is keen to give that

assurance. ■

Chapman Innovations will be exhibiting its range of

CarbonX products at INTERSCHUTZ 2010, 7 to

12 June, Leipzig, Germany on the Eagle Technical

Products stand.

For more information on any CarbonX

fabrics or products contact Simon Walker:

CarbonX Europe

Sitex Protective Fabrics

Tel: +44 (0) 773 773 2446

CarbonX is

available in knit,

woven and nonwoven


in a variety of


including nonflammable

gloves, socks,



shoes and

boots - all of


conform to

the latest EN

standards for

fire, molten

metal and

arc flash



The 2010 Workwear and Corporate

Clothing Show proved to be a

significant event in the industry’s

calendar. With market leaders

Dimensions and Alexandra both exhibiting for

the first time in years and visitor numbers up

by 27%, it raises hopes that we’re through

the worst of the recession.

Over 1,900 visitors came to do business with 68

exhibitors on 13th and 14th April at the show’s

new home, the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. It’s a clear

sign that the exhibition is growing as last year, at

the height of the economic downturn,

approximately 1,500 visited the show at

Birmingham’s NEC while the previous year had

seen around 1,600 visitors.

Visitor attractions

The show has not only evolved in terms of footfall

but in its international scale. This year, it welcomed

its first guest of honour country, Tunisia, and a

delegation of the country’s manufacturers.

Mrs Hager Denguezli – director of CEPEX, the

government body in charge of promoting Tunsian

exports abroad – officially opened the show. At the

end of the event, she expressed her hopes for the

Charles Redd from Clubclass

offers individuality and prestige

to customers

Here to Stay

The Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show announces its highest

visitor numbers ever as the event goes from strength to strength

Visitor numbers

continue to grow and

we feel that there is

scope for greater

growth next year and

for years to come

future: “This is the first time that we have partnered

with the show but it won’t be the last.

“All of the Tunisian firms have made good contacts

and we hope to forge a long term partnership

between the UK and Tunisia.”

The show’s featured attractions, the WorkIT!

Conference and the dazzling fashion catwalk

show, also lived up to visitor expectations. The

conference, which focused on supply chain issues

and innovation, took place on the first morning

and was well received.

A delegate from Bristol City Council said: “The

conference is an excellent balance of trends,

insight and speakers from different areas and,

unlike some events, there’s no sell, sell, sell.”

Robert Kaiser from PPSS said: “WorkIt! is very

informative. About 80% of what you hear is

interesting and the other 20% is genuinely

business-changing – very powerful.”

The thrice daily fashion show caused a stir with

state-of-the-art special effects and inventive dance

routines showing off surprisingly colourful

corporate clothing and workwear collections at

their very best.

Charles Redd by Clubclass Corporate Wear

opened the performance. Striking black-and-white

tailored suits with red flashes in the lining and

stitching illustrated just one distinct combination

that customers can create by choosing their own

design, features and fabrics.

High quality tailoring from Jermyn Street Design,

Incorporatewear, Dimensions and Alexandra also

cut fine figures on the catwalk, while sporty

influences resounded in Staffwear’s scene for the

betting sector.


Tunisia was the guest of honour country for 2010 and a delegation of their finest manufacturers exhibited at the show

Uniforms for TUI Travel by Alexandra bring style to the skies

Dickies brings proper protection and feel-good fashion to the workplace

Staffwear’s sporty range for TOTE was recently launched at the

Cheltenham Festival

Spa, health

and beauty

wear from


that can fulfil

“all your





FE Engel and Workzone present workwear that you’ll be

proud to wear in and after work

The trend for funky and functional workwear

exploded across the stage in scenes from F. Engel

and Dickies workwear, and myriad uniforms for the

catering, hospitality, banking and beauty sectors

showed that style, garment design and fit are all

top priorities in today’s workplace.

Launch pad

The exhibition itself featured a number of

impressive stands: early 20th century America

came to town thanks to BTC activewear, which

recreated the iconic scene of construction workers

eating lunch on a girder while erecting the Empire

State Building. Laurel and Hardy impersonators

were also around to entertain visitors with comedic

asides and a spin in their vintage car.

The show provided a launch pad for a succession

of innovations and company refreshes – Sig-UK

even launched their company at the show. “We

wanted to make an immediate impact,” managing

director Richard Merrills said. “Our products

here are new and innovative – the public has never

seen them before – so you can’t ask for a better

platform to say, ‘We’re here, we mean business

and here are our products’.”

A rail engineering company by trade, Sig-UK has

used its expertise to bring two unique products to

market. “In the rail industry, you have to wear

orange over-trousers, but they’re cumbersome to

put on,” Richard said. “You have to put them over

your shoes or you have to take your shoes off, so

we have invented two products that helps rail

workers put trousers on quicker.”

The Hi-Vi Zippas are a pair of trousers that you

wrap around your body and zip up, while the Hi-Vi

Leggards work on the same premise but are more

like gators that provide waterproof and hi-vis

protection below the knee.

“We’ve had such positive feedback – from

wholesalers to distributors and buyers – that we

might need to recruit some more full-time staff to

chase these up,” Richard said.

Vortex also received a positive response to its new

products, branding and range restructuring, which

encapsulate the biggest refresh it has made to its

collection in seven years.

“There are new prints to the blouses including

abstract stripes, and we’ve added two more

colours – berry and cornflower,” Lucy Woodward

said. “The cardigans have done well and so we

have extended the knitwear to include a tank top

for the first time.”

With the range continuing to grow, Vortex has

divided it into three areas to make it easier for the

Immaculate finishing and fashion-led

design characterise the collections at

Jermyn Street Design

Incorporatewear’s bold

uniform for Ribby Hall, a

prestigious holiday centre,

brings splashes of colour to

the catwalk

customer to navigate: Signature, Classic and

Essentials. “We’ve classified them by their colour

and functionality,” Lucy said. “The Signature range

is bold and vibrant – intentionally eye-catching; the

Classic range features more traditional working

blouses; and Essentials uses hard-wearing fabric

for those whose jobs involve a lot of wear and tear.

They are all of the same quality, though, and can

be mixed and match together as a whole range.”

Elsewhere at the show, F.Engel officially launched

its partnership with Johnsons Apparelmaster, while

Jermyn Street was celebrating 30 years in

business. Dimensions was also keen to reinforce

its position as market leader and promote its

rebranded and refreshed catalogues.

Head of sales Julie Lindsay said: “We’ve had a

lot of interest from banks that are going out to

tender and it’s been a good opportunity to meet

some buyers who are new to their position.”

The show was the setting for Alexandra’s

comeback with new branding, new products and

a new direction. Kelvin Heaney, head of

marketing and innovation, said: “We’ve had a lot of

positive feedback to our preview catalogue and

our fresh new look. The show has provided us

with a good opportunity to launch our new

branding and we’re excited to see what happens

over the next couple of months.”



A main pull of the Workwear and Corporate

Clothing Show is its ability to attract buyers who

are serious about doing business.

Philip Page, sales and marketing manager at, said: “It’s been a good

show based on quality rather than quantity.”

Arjan Piet, managing director at Tranemo, added:

“We launched our ladies FR underwear at the

show and we have placed orders on the stand.

“In a recession, it’s difficult to put an event such as

this on, but I’m glad that we did it because we

have had about 50 good leads.

“We have also had several of our dealers visit the

stand and see our new products, which saves us

time visiting them individually afterwards.”

Quality customers arrived over

the two-day event to do business

The show also worked well for Burlington

Uniforms. “This is the first show we’ve done for

about ten years and we’ve been pleasantly

surprised. We’ve had some good enquiries from

big clients including several buyers from the

police, fire and also retail,” managing director

Adrian Hewitt said.

Returning exhibitor Ian Bradford, from badgemaker

Fattorini, was also enthusiastic: “We’ll be

back next year. Being the only badge company at

the show has been great and we’ve got some

good leads.”

Visitors also seemed happy. Marjut Kotomen

from Lindstrom Oy had flown in from Finland. “This

is one of the best fashion shows I have ever been

to,” she said. “I’ve been here four hours now but

I’m not tired because the exhibition is so



“There are more uniforms and corporatewear than

at A+A and Expoprotection, so it has certainly

been an education.”

James Mehew, visiting from Meltemi, added:

“The exhibition is definitely a good thing for the

industry and a great opportunity to meet


While some visitors said that they looked forward

to the show growing in size, others liked the

current atmosphere. A sales representative from

Alexandra said: “Some visitors to the stand have

told us that they find it less intimidating than other

exhibitions. You don’t have to go through eight

halls to find the stand you’re looking for – there is a

friendlier feel.”

This year’s increased visitor numbers represents

welcome news for the organisers. Corporate

Clothes Show LLP took the difficult decision of

cancelling the inaugural Totally Trade Expo for

trade-to-trade business earlier in the year after

deciding to focus their efforts on the one show, but

it has paid off.

There is still room for improvement next year, of

course. Some exhibitors felt that the footfall could

have been higher had the show not taken place

during the Easter Holidays and at the same time

as the Infrarail Show and the Sign and Digital

Show at the NEC. This feedback has been taken

on board and the organisers welcome any other

suggestions from visitors and exhibitors about

what they would like to see at next year’s show.

At present, there are plans to expand the

conference to encompass two days of free

seminars to enhance the visitor experience and

offer greater variety and flexibility. With the show

still in its infancy, anything is possible, and

organiser Corporate Clothes Show LLP is excited

about the future.

Managing director Yvette Ashby said: “Visitor

numbers continue to grow and we feel that there is

scope for greater growth next year and for years to

come.” ■ 19



If we had an award for Best Stand in Show, our vote would go to BTC for its reconstruction of

Charles Ebbets’ famous ‘Lunch atop a Skyscraper’ photograph. BTC’s dummies benefited from the latest

workwear and a few Snickers bars.

Men’s workwear has also made great design strides in the last few years and a number of

exhibitors showed garments suitable for what Tranemo’s sales director, Danny Hemmings,

modelling here, described as “workwear you’d be happy to live in”.

of the Workwear and

Corporate Clothing Show

Van Dal impressed us with its Ion-Mask

technology. We’ve seen this featured on

Magnum’s safety boots, too, and it certainly offers

an outstanding degree of water repellency. Steve

Hewitt let us put the technology to the test by

squirting water on one of Van Dal’s butter soft

suede shoes. Normally water would ruin suede

but, thanks to the nanotechnology behind Ion-

Mask, the shoe remained unscathed.

Dr. Martens celebrated the 50th anniversary

of the launch of its first boot, the 1460, but it was

its new range of ruggedly individual workwear that

caught our eye. Visitors to the show were

treated to a sneak preview of some of the

samples, modelled here in a ruggedly individual

way by David Fallon, Revolution Workwear’s

brand manager.


One trend that featured on this year’s excellent

catwalk show was for fashion-led detailing on

both menswear and womenswear, especially in

the corporate clothing sector. Jermyn Street

stood out for the elegance of its designs. We were

taken with this black coat and dress ensemble

that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Vogue.

We were impressed with the

quality of manufacturing we

saw on the Tunisian

delegation’s stands, as were

many of the visitors. Here,

Eduardo Rocha and

Naraze Adriao from Scoop

Tunisie display possibly the

most colourful garments in

the whole show, Scoop’s

Emilio Pucci jackets for

Rossignol, the high-end

skiwear label. ▼


Not to be outdone by stylish men’s workwear, Carhartt brought its new collection of women’s

workwear to the show. Albert Foppen and Henk Luiken explained that Carhartt designed the range

specially to mirror the robustness of their men’s garments, but with a feminine cut and different

colourways, having discovered that women were buying and wearing 20% of their men’s workwear lines.

One of the fastest

growing sectors in

the job-related

clothing market is


casualwear. We loved

these colourful

contrast hoodies

from Ranks 2010.

The RK25 hoodie

comes in ten

selected colourways.

Alexandra sprang back

to form with new lines,

up-to-date designs and

a very busy stand. Sean

Matthews, Richard

Thomas and Natalie

Turner-Wright grabbed

a minute to show us a

few of the latest designs.

And last but definitely not least, one of the

smallest stands certainly caused an outsized buzz.

Bootmate’s Barry Wright brought its new toe

protection socks to the show and enjoyed an

overwhelming response. The specially designed

gel pads protect wearers of safety boots from

hurting their tops of their feet when kneeling down,

by preventing the toe cap digging in to the foot.

Bootmate also brought some excellent gel comfort

insoles, which helped several director-e staff make

it through two days in high heels. ■ 21


Party Time

The industry lets its hair down and celebrates buyer-supplier success at the

Business Manager Awards 2010

The Oscars of the workwear, PPE and

corporate clothing industry returned

this year with a new innovation

category to celebrate the champions

within our industry. The awards were

established in 2009 to recognise the buyer

and supplier partnerships whose uniforms

raise the bar when it comes to performance,

design and style. This year saw around 250

guests attend the elegant gala award dinner

and dance.

Held on 13th April in the E. ON Lounge at

Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, guests were greeted with

a Champagne reception and three-course dinner,

followed by the award ceremony and live music.

But it wasn’t without last-minute complications.

The host for the evening, renowned

businesswoman Karren Brady, was taken to

hospital with a back injury only hours before the

event. Luckily, last year’s fantastic host, the iconic

fashion and corporatewear designer Jeff Banks

CBE, was able to step in at the last minute and

present the evening with great success.

Award founder and Workwear and Corporate

Clothing Show joint managing director Yvette

Ashby opened the evening with a strong

message: “Everyone in this room has the power to

make the workplace a safer, happier and more

comfortable environment for millions of people.

“In the past 12 months, your roles have been more

challenging than ever as budgets have had to be

slashed and compromises made. The people who

have won an award tonight all have one thing in

common: they care.”

Special recognition

One man who has certainly gone that extra mile is

Volker Steidel, CEO of Lauffenmühle. He was

awarded the Outstanding Contribution to the

Industry Award for his exceptional commitment to

the company and its staff. Over the past two

years, he has played a pivotal role in securing the

future of the German fabric manufacturer and as a

result safeguarding European manufacturing skills

and jobs.

Susanne Malim, managing director of Jermyn

Street Design, was presented with the director-e

Lifetime Achievement Award and accepted it on

behalf of the whole industry. “This is for everyone

who has managed to survive the last two years

and make money,” she said. “That’s an

achievement in itself.” The award was timely for

the former model - 2010 marks 30 years since she

founded her company, which continues to thrive.

Category winners

The award winners were just as inspiring in the

other categories: PPE, workwear, corporate

clothing and - new for this year - innovation. Chief

fire officer for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Mike

Thomas came first in PPE for his determination to

equip his firefighters with the best personal

protection available.

To this end, he took an active involvement in the

Integrated Clothing Project (ICP), from the initial

stages to the testing and then the promotion,

becoming the first in line to procure the kit from

Bristol Uniforms through the ICP. Mike is also

heavily involved in charity work, donating

protective garments to countries in need.

Michelle Wade from Santander and her supplier,

De Baer, part of the Alexandra group, won first

place in the Corporatewear category. Despite the

huge changes taking place in the organisation with

new companies joining, Michelle was able to

adapt to her role very quickly to produce a uniform

that reflected this new identity, achieving national

television media coverage along the way.

Pauline Blaney from resource and supplier Prima

Corporate Wear, which is part of the Alexandra

group, scooped not only the top prize for

Workwear but the new Innovation category as

well. The carefully considered style and design of

the uniforms has, without a doubt, brought a

sense of pride to staff working in cleaning jobs.

The uniform also stood out for its solutions for

tackling hygiene in hospitals and infection control.

Because of this, the judges saw the uniforms as

helping to change people’s behaviour towards

workwear - the way they treat it and the way that

they wear it.

Business manager of the year

Jayne Richards from Barclays Bank and supplier

Incorporatewear, last year’s runner-up in the

corporatewear category, came back with a



vengeance to scoop the overall Business Manager

of the Year award. Bill Colven, global business

director of INVISTA’s CORDURA ® Brand, the

evening’s main sponsor, flew in especially from the

United States to present the award.

He praised their “all-encompassing philosophy”

that “not only makes commercial sense but also

exhibits conscientious environmental practice”. He

added that Jayne “demonstrates an extensive

knowledge of each aspect of her role, employs

original thinking and embraces the challenges

every day brings”.

Thank you

Earlier in the evening, head judge Susannah

Rayfield, European brand manager for INVISTA’s

CORDURA ® Brand, paid tribute to the exceptional

standard of entries this year that made the judges’

jobs so difficult.

Organisers director-e would therefore like to thank

everybody who entered and to wish you all every

success at the next awards. These will now take

place biannually at the Workwear and Corporate

Clothing Show in 2012.

We would also like to thank our sponsors for their

support: overall Business Manager Award sponsor

INVISTA’s CORDURA ® Brand, workwear

category sponsor Dickies, wine sponsor Lion

Apparel and Workwear and Corporate Clothing

Show sponsor for 2010 and 2011 JAL Group. ■

Kindly sponsored by:

Guests are greeted by a champagne reception at the Ricoh Arena's E.ON Lounge before sitting down to a delicious three course dinner


The Winners


Contribution to

the Industry


Volker Steidel

Chief Executive







Susanne Malim

Managing Director

Jermyn Street





Mike Thomas

Chief Fire Officer

Lincolnshire Fire

and Rescue

Supplied by Bristol



Clare Babe



Royal Mail

Supplied by






Pauline Blaney




Supplied by Prima

Corporate Wear

(part of Alexandra)


Ian Collinson


Purchasing and



Supplied by



Sally Chambers

Uniform Manager


Supplied by

Uniform Express





Michelle Wade



Supplied by de

Baer (part of



Heather Gilchrist

Regional General

Manager Scotland

Frasers Hospitality

Supplied by NKD



Louise Johnson



Royal Bank of


Supplied by






Pauline Blaney




Supplied by Prima

Corporate Wear

(part of Alexandra)


Steve Taylor

Director Contract




Supplied by Bristol




Paula McHugh



AIB Bank

Supplied by





of the Year:

Jayne Richards



Barclays Bank

Supplied by

Incorporatewear 25


Volker Steidel, chief executive officer of Lauffenmühle, is presented with the

Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award by Jeff Banks and

Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show joint managing director Yvette Ashby.

Susanne Malim, managing director of Jermyn Street

Design, is awarded the director-e Lifetime

Achievement Award.



From top to bottom, and left to right: Jeff Banks and Susannah Rayfield, European brand manager for sponsor INVISTA’s CORDURA ® brand, present the

awards to the winners. Mike Thomas, chief fire officer for Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue, and Ian Mitchell from Bristol Uniforms collect the award for first place in

the PPE category; Pauline Blaney, procurement manager at resource, and Ian Fountain at Prima Corporatewear are presented with first place in both the

Innovation category and the Workwear category by Maurice Morton, corporate director of sponsor Dickies; and Michelle Wade, buyer for Santander collects

first place in the category for Corporatewear with Lucy Needham and Dan Murray from de Baer. ■ 27


From top to bottom, and left to right: Clare Babe, procurement manager at

Royal Mail, and Sarah Allen from Dimensions are presented with the award

for runner-up in the PPE category; Ian Collinson, purchasing and supplies

manager at Jewson, and Graham Horn from Incorporatewear receive the

award for second place in the Workwear category; Heather Gilchrist,

regional general manager Scotland for Frasers Hospitality, and Gill Eastgate

from NKD Clothing collect the award for second place in the Corporatewear

category; and Steve Taylor, director contract relationship manager at Firebuy,

and Ian Mitchell from Bristol Uniforms are presented with the award for

second place in the Innovation category. Sally Chambers, uniform manager

at VSG Ltd, and Anthony Beavis from Uniform Express pick up third place in

the Workwear category; third place in the Corporatewear category is

presented to Louise Johnson, purchasing manager at Royal Bank of

Scotland, and Elaine Norfolk from Dimensions Corporatewear; and Paula

McHugh, corporatewear coordinator at AIB Bank, and Dimensions’ Elaine

Norfolk collect third place in the Innovation section. ■


Jayne Richards, corporatewear manager at Barclays Bank,

is presented with the award for Business Manager of the Year,

with Margaret McGregor-Oliver, commercial manager at



Incorporatewear Comes Out on Top

Why is it that celebrities cry when

they win an award? There were

certainly no tears in the

Incorporatewear camp when the

company scooped two prestigious awards in

conjunction with major clients, Barclays and

Jewson, at the Business Manager Awards. In

fact there was jubilation that the company

had been recognised in two distinctly

different fields, tailored corporatewear and


Recognising that the design, sourcing, production

and delivery of a corporate clothing programme is

a joint project between client and the account

management team on the supplier side, director-e

presents the awards to both the business

manager (buyer) and also to the team leader on

the supplier side.

Jayne Richards, corporatewear manager at

Barclays, won the overall Business Manager of the

Year Award for her inspiration, dedication and

business acumen in the creation and delivery of

the Barclays corporate clothing programme,

accepted her award alongside Margaret

McGregor-Oliver, commercial manager at


Jayne says: “I was absolutely delighted to accept

such a prestigious award. To be recognised not

only by the industry, but by Jeff Banks CBE (who

presented the awards) for my business acumen

was a great honour. Both Margaret McGregor

Oliver and I work very hard to ensure all elements

of the programme run efficiently and commercially

ensuring our customers, the wearers, are serviced

to the highest standard.”

One thing that the Business Manager Awards

winners do have in common with celebrity winners

is that they always like to acknowledge that this is

a team effort and to thank everyone in the team.

Margaret McGregor-Oliver, who works closely with

Jayne on a daily basis to ensure the smooth

running of the Barclays programme, adds: “I am

absolutely delighted to collect this award on behalf

of the team at Incorporatewear: it’s great to have

industry recognition for our innovation, creativity

and customer care.”

Of the day-to-day running of the account she

says: “Whilst design and fabric are key

components, there’s a lot more to creating and

running a corporatewear programme. Barclays lay

down the gauntlet and set the parameters: ideas

generated by Jayne and her executive are shared

Jayne Richards, corporatewear manager at Barclays, won the overall

Business Manager of the Year Award for her inspiration, dedication and

business acumen in the creation and delivery of the Barclays corporate

clothing programme 29


The Incorporatewear team, with their awards, on their stand at the

2010 Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show

with Incorporatewear; we interpret them and

bring them to life. We never stand back from the

challenge and, I believe, consistently surpass

expectations with certain initiatives.

“We also have tremendous input from Jeff Banks,

Incorporatewear’s design consultant, who works

very closely with Jayne. Many of the wardrobe’s

innovations are driven by Jeff to achieve a retail

fashion look, married with commercial reality and

the durability needed for corporatewear.”

But it’s not just the clothing. Barclays also have a

comprehensive customer-care programme for

wearers which includes focus groups and the

production of a ground-breaking internal

corporate clothing magazine, ‘INFashion’.

INFashion includes grooming tips and views on

the latest trends, staff sale offers and features on

healthy eating. INFashion also contains business

articles centred on corporate clothing,

competitions and a ‘Dear Jeff’ page which allows

access to the designer and a chance to air


Demonstrating Incorporatewear’s expertise in the

workwear sector, Ian Collinson, facilities &

purchasing manager of Jewson, was runner-up

in the workwear category of the awards, and he

accepted his award alongside Graham Horn,

Incorporatewear’s account manager for Jewson.

Ian says: “I would like to extend my thanks to

everyone at Incorporatewear involved in the

management of the Jewson account. We had

clear objectives to achieve with the ladies’ range

and these were met through the support of the

Incorporatewear team. Wearer satisfaction and

the industry award is recognition of all our

efforts.” ■

Incorporatewear's award-winning

uniforms for Barclays Bank

A technological eye to the future

- Incorporatewear’s iPhone app

ncorporatewear consistently looks to the future and is an early adopter of

technological innovation in the world of corporate clothing and its supporting


As a result Incorporatewear launched its own iPhone app during May 2010.

“The development of an app reinforces our belief that technology will be at the forefront of

customer service in the corporatewear sector of the future,”

explains Chris Wood, a director of Incorporatewear. “Of

course not everybody has an iPhone or even access at the

moment,” continues Chris, “but we’re looking three to five

years ahead and are pioneering the use of mobile

functionality in the market. This is all part of a mutual

learning exercise for Incorporatewear and its clients.”

Incorporatewear is implementing its iPhone app, which has

been developed with the help of Paul Rice of Ricemedia

(, in the knowledge that other

operating platforms are available and that the future

market-leader may be quite different.

“The iPhone currently offers a robust solution with a good

interface and a strong following,” reasons Chris, “but it’s

only a starting point and we intend to broaden our

approach in due course.”

Incorporatewear’s app can be downloaded for free and will

allow wearers to track deliveries and include a wearer guide

and dedicated news feed from the company’s website ■



Part One: Getting the Right Supply Base

Sourcing clothes hotspots

Mike Flanaghan, CEO of Clothesource Ltd, kicked off the conference with an overview of the past, current and future

hotspots for garment production. Mike explained that how nations perform as garment producers in the future will be, in

essence, tied to how well they can compete with China.

Successful exporters will need to be able to adapt to several factors: small orders; rapid turnarounds; unpredictable costs due

to currency fluctuations; a restricted labour supply as higher food prices mean more workers return to the agricultural sector;

and a cohesive vertically-integrated national industry.

Outside China, clothing exports declined globally by 20% and by over 40% to traditional rich westernised markets. Mike

expects that a number of countries including Botswana, Swaziland, Costa Rica and Uganda may collapse over the next five

years. Haiti and Laos should experience growth.

Current supply chain issues

Incorporatewear’s operations manager, Daren Turner, provided a fascinating insight into current and emerging issues in the

corporatewear and workwear supply chain, from both the buyers’ and suppliers’ perspectives. Daren highlighted that clothing

has become a throwaway commodity, thanks to retailers like Primark and supermarkets selling jeans for £3 a pair. Five years

ago, just 5-7% of UK landfill was clothing, whereas now it makes up around 30% of what is discarded.

Increasingly, price-led competition due to procurement innovations such as EU directives, tenders and e-auctions will drive out

second-tier suppliers who lack the skills and resources to compete in a faster, more global and competitive marketplace.

To cope with the rigours of this new market, suppliers will need to be able to issue garments within 48 hours of an order being

placed, to be flexible enough to produce small quantities and to produce durable garments that last for at least two years. This

will involve working in new ways yet retaining control over those aspects of the supply chain that impact on quality, value, cost,

cash flow, logistics and CSR.

Daren’s views on the emerging issues and trends struck a chord with the audience, with whole life costing emerging as a

critical area for development in the future, given that initial purchase price remains the primary buying driver for many

customers. Daren also identified component recycling and the impact of both new technologies and moving towards cheaper,

less advanced but more labour intensive manufacturing bases as emerging issues.

Buying in a safety critical complex organisation

The industry’s annual conference

highlights the importance of staying

ahead of supply-chain trends and


The annual Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show industry conference - rebranded WorkIT! Conference 2010 -

took place on Tuesday 13th April at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. Nine speakers including buyers, suppliers,

designers and industry experts came together to discuss the latest issues in the workwear, corporate clothing

and PPE supply chains, and also the innovations coming to the fore, from corporate design trends to

nanotechnology. director-e news editor Alison Daniels was there to sum up its key messages...

Nick Barnes, head of procurement at Hertfordshire Constabulary, combined in-depth knowledge with a hands-on approach

to procurement.

Hertfordshire Constabulary’s uniform is complex, with over 3,000 line items available. There are 65 sizes of the uniform trouser

available for male officers and 59 for female members of the force, with nine sizes of gloves. Twelve internal groups and four

external groups must approve a new item before it can be purchased, yet buying by committee can lead to sub-optimal

decisions being made.

Nick explained that to really understand how PPE works in real life, it is essential that the buyer share the experience of the

end-user. For example, by going out with traffic officers to motorway accidents in the middle of the night, it became clear that

leaking battery acid is a major hazard that had previously not been taken into account when buying uniforms.

Similarly, there was a high instance of ankle injuries during forced-entry training exercises. Tests were conducted by attaching

explosives to safety footwear and new designs implemented as a result.

Among Nick’s main buying considerations are sustainability, injury prevention, fit, permeability, waterproofing, health and safety,

technical standards, business continuity, value for money and, above all else, officer safety.



Part Two: Technical Updates and Specifying

How to evaluate and specify clothing

Ann Dowdeswell, sales director of de Baer, part of the Alexandra group, provided a dual track presentation that examined

what suppliers should understand to maximise their success at winning tenders and what buyers should consider when

preparing tenders and evaluating the responses in order for both parties to benefit from the process.

Ann recommended that buyers think about “the invisible swing-ticket”. This is the intrinsic value of closing plus the intangibles

associated with purchasing, such as brand value and customer loyalty. Buyers were advised to set up a tender team to

produce the documentation, provide key measurement metrics and evaluate responses to the tender.

Ann identified targeting key suppliers of the garment type required, conducting due diligence exercises, making sure CSR

processes and evaluation methodologies were transparent and settling on a clear decision making process before starting the

evaluation phase.

She also reminded buyers of the importance of assessing the true cost of changing suppliers, providing a concise PPQ

template and a clear scoring methodology and audit trail as well as allowing some leeway for innovation.

Suppliers were advised to write in the active voice, produce high-quality documentation, keep material personal and relevant to

the buyer, fit the requirements, and be able to prove claims on past performance, mention previous achievements and to

provide a well thought out summary.

Weather protection standards and testing

Gordon Burns of WL Gore & Associates gave an illustrated talk on the need for both buyers and suppliers to increase their

understanding of weather-protective clothing standards and the implications of testing.

Many tenders specify a requirement for garments that combine a number of types of protection in a single garment. For

example, a waterproof jacket may also need to be flame-retardant and high visibility, or provide additional anti-static or electric

arc protection. Gordon provided an enlightening explanation of how the tests behind some of the standards were conducted.

For example, in EN471, the European standard for hi-visibility garments, a garment may say it passed the standard after 25

laundry cycles, but it is possible that only the hi-vis tape was tested, not the garment with the tape sewn on. This was

demonstrated by a series of images showing water penetration through faulty seams and stitch holes on garments with

inadequately taped seams, which provided a useful warning on the need to understand how a garment will be worn and the

need to understand the tests underpinning the standards.

Body protection and workplace violence

Supply chain issues and

innovation in PPE,

Corporatewear and Workwear

Robert Kaiser, CEO of PPSS, delivered an overview of the need for front-line workers to be equipped with body protection in

an era of rising attacks and knife crime. Robert set out a compelling case for equipping lone workers with covert knife- and

slash-resistant clothing, especially those who deal directly with the public in intense situations that may be exacerbated by

drugs and alcohol.

Like conventional body armour that is suitable for high-risk occupations such as the emergency services and military

applications, covert protection, in the form of T-shirts and under vests, provides both physical and psychological benefit to the

wearer. However, covert protection is designed to meet the needs of workers, such as healthcare staff, security, council staff,

enforcement staff, trading standards workers, taxi drivers and others who may find themselves dealing with aggressive

individuals as part of their job requirements.

Robert stressed that covert body armour should be thought of as analogous to seatbelts: you may not need them 99.99% of

the time, but when needed, it can save lives that might otherwise be lost.


Robin Vryenhoef of

Syscom did an

outstanding job of

chairing the conference

and kept the sessions

and questions flowing


Part Three: Looking to the Future

Corporate clothing trends


Helen Harker, head of design for Simon Jersey, provided an insight into past, current and future corporate clothing trends,

illustrated with some of Simon Jersey’s archive images.

Helen shared her thoughts on the current influences on careerwear, which include catwalk, colours, fabric innovations,

furnishing and interiors that influence hospitality wear, celebrities, eco/green/recycling and a trend towards garment longevity -

a make-do-and-mend approach.

Expect tailored shorts, tunics, statement shoulders and darker colours teamed with brighter accents and accessories to be big

news in 2010 and beyond, with corporatewear reflecting fashion trends more rapidly.

Men will see the return of the three-piece suit, single-button jackets with sharp cuts and white collars. Corporate casualwear

will be one of the fastest growing sectors and beauty and salon wear will become more fashion-led.

Branding in occupational clothing

Henk Luiken, UK business manager for Carhartt, spoke eloquently on the benefits of branding in a rapidly changing global


Over the past 20 years, consumers have become more brand literate and fashion conscious. This, combined with an

increasing number of women in the workplace and the desire of workers to project a more professional image, has led to a

different approach to buying. The internet has made information more accessible than ever, with consumer reviews widely


This makes it essential for companies to control their brand image and identity and to communicate directly with their

customers. Carhartt believes there are around 750 workwear brands available, making differentiation and communication

increasingly important, especially as several sportswear companies are expanding into the workwear market.

Henk stressed that a brand can offer a safe haven against purely price-driven purchasing by providing tailored design via the

internet, an inclusive approach to consumer feedback and the adoption of consumers as ambassadors for the brand.

Nanotechnologies and next-generation clothing for extreme environments

Ottilia Saxl, director of Nanotechnology Magazine, provided a fitting end to the conference by providing a glimpse of the


Ottilia explained that, in nanotechnology, desirable qualities such as liquid repellence could be engineered into new workwear

materials and fabrics at a molecular level. This should lead to chemical and biohazard protection becoming lighter and more

comfortable for the wearer in future.

Ottilia provided examples of a number of promising areas of research such as n-halamines, which infuse a fabric with biocidal

qualities. These qualities are restored each time the fabric is laundered with bleach. Other materials can self-detoxify the wearer,

in a manner similar to self-cleaning window glass. Superhyrophobicity would enable garments to repel water or liquids as well

as bacteria. This would result in clothing that needs to be laundered less often.

Ottilia suggested that, in the future, chemistry would be able to outperform nature by providing sensors for battlefield textiles,

which could send status information back to a base, provide enhanced ballistic protection and offer healing qualities. ■ 35


Lighten Up

Stay cool, calm and collected during this summer with

new workwear designed for hot climates from Fristads

& Co and Dickies:


Fristads & Co

Fristads’ new collection of work clothes has been

specially designed for those looking to cool down in

hot environments. The collection includes four

garments in royal blue and grey: shorts (P154-211), a

waistcoat (P154-509), dungarees (P154-9) and

trousers (P154-209), which are made from a cotton

and polyester mix, with CORDURA ® reinforcements.

“We haven’t experienced such demand for a collection in a

long time but, in hot environments, you need light

garments that are pleasant to work in,” Lars Lundblad,

designer at Fristads, says.

“The garments provide ventilation through net sewn into

the crotch, hips or back, depending on the garment. The

net is both airy and strong, which is a safety factor. The

trousers also have nail pockets that are easy to take off if

they’re not required.”

The new garments have all the usual features expected

from a Fristads garment, including tool loops and holders,

and pockets for ID cards and mobile phones. ■

This summer, Dickies recommends the polyester and cotton canvas Eisenhower Multi-Pocket

Trousers, either in full or three-quarter length (Code No: EH26900), both of which allow instant

access to tools and other necessary items; the Eisenhower Bamboo Polo Shirt, containing 28%

bamboo and 72% polyester to allow your skin to breathe; and the lightweight Cirrus or Arcus

flexible safety trainers, which have numerous built-in safety and comfort features.

One of the bestsellers for comfortable work or casual wear is the Short

Sleeve Polo Shirt (Code No: SH21220), which is made

from 65% polyester and 35% cotton 200gsm

and comes in a choice of seven

different colours and seven sizes.

For more of a country look, there are

Short Sleeve Check Shirts

(SH70080) in blue, brown or green

check, made from 60% cotton and

40% yarn dyed polyester 100gsm,

which feature a chest pocket, button

down collar and full front placket.

Dickies also supplies a selection of smart

corporatewear shirts, with the Men’s

Corporate Shirt (SH 581505) in black, made

from 65% polyester and 35% cotton poplin

105gsm, and a Men’s Oxford Weave Shirt

in 70% cotton and 30% polyester, in blue,

navy, silver grey and white. For the ladies,

there are the white and blue versions of

the Ladies’ Oxford Weave Shirt

(SH643350), which has a rounded hem

and inverted pleat for comfort and ease

of movement. ■


Close-up Each


issue, we invite someone in the industry

to share their views.

Sue Stedman, founder and director of Sue Stedman Ltd, calls on buyers to be more

daring when it comes to designs

Ihave always had a love for design and

actually started my career in the fashion

retail industry. I was a buyer for

companies such as Burberry, Jaeger and

Harrods and became well-known in the

trade for classic English clothing. I did,

however, always yearn for my own business

and in particular in producing my own

clothing, so I took the decision to learn more

about garment manufacturing.

During the same timeframe, I was offered the

opportunity to work for the renowned

manufacturers, LS and J Sussman who produced

clothes for Pierre Cardin and others. They wanted

me to start a new women’s division and so that is

what I did. I learned the ins and outs of garment

production. I had spent four years at art school

and so this role also gave me the freedom to

explore design in greater detail.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Sussman’s but, in

1989, I was approached by an independent

broker who was keen for us to design and

produce uniforms for a client in the travel industry.

It was an interesting project and the client was

really impressed with the outcome. However, what

was poignant to

me was we did all

the work and the

broker walked

away with the

praise and a large


cheque! It was at

that stage that I

realised I should

start my own firm


uniforms, and so I

left Sussman’s and

set up Sue

Stedman Ltd.

I did my research

and it was clear

that there was a

good market for a

firm that would

produce bespoke,

high quality

uniforms for

companies that

wanted their staff

to present a

professional image

of the business. At

the time, there was

a gap in the market

for a clothing firm

that would design

smart uniforms that

reflected the values

of their clients.

The business has flourished and as a result we

have worked with some really exciting companies,

including Aviance, L’Oreal UK’s Luxury Products

Division, Persimmon Homes, Charles Church and

Titan HiTours.

Last year, we celebrated our 20th anniversary and

I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown! We

now have a team of people based at our head

office in Surrey and also at our purpose-made

warehouse in Northampton.

We expanded the logistics arm of the business

last year and our warehousing now not only

enables us to stock in excess of 15,000 units at

any one time but also houses an alterations room

so adjustments can be made on-site. There is also

a steam unit, so all garments are delivered to our

customers crease-free and ready to wear.

We have certainly seen many changes in the

industry over the last two decades, from changes

in styling to dressing down in the workplace and

back again. In today’s climate, the trend is very

much towards tailored dressing as businesses

move away from the relaxed dressed-down

approach to a more professional look as

businesses look to stand out from the crowd.

A noticeable change that I have witnessed is the

move away from colour. A majority of clients that

approach me now have a requirement for uniforms

in black, navy or charcoal grey. During the early

years of the business, I recall having much more

freedom to introduce brighter colours into a

design. I would look at the business, its corporate

branding and its audience and would have the

opportunity to create designs that I felt correctly

reflected its ethos. However, over the years,

buyers appear to be ‘playing it safe’ when it

comes to colour and this can be frustrating.

It’s such a shame, as often we are approached

with a requirement to produce a uniform that will

make their team stand out from the competition

and give them confidence in what they do. But

instead, we are regularly asked to steer away from

colour and so we end up with clones: suits made

from the same mould, in the same colours. I would

like to encourage a call to arms for buyers to be a

little more daring with their designs - nothing

outlandish or quirky just to be different, but for

colours and fabrics that are appropriate to the

company’s branding.

That’s why I enjoyed working for Aviance, for

example, because they allowed me to design a

uniform that balances colour and styling with

longevity. We produced an aquamarine cloth and it

works extremely well - you could certainly spot an

We are regularly asked to steer

away from colour and so we end

up with clones

Aviance member of staff when arriving at an

airport, and I have to say I was always very proud

to see members of the team wearing the range of

garments we have produced for them.

Ultimately, a staff uniform represents the respective

values of the organisation. Quality garments that

are well fitted and practical but still stylish and with

an original design will give the impression of how

the organisation operates. It speaks volumes for a

company’s attention to detail, in all aspects of its

operations. ■ 37


Best Foot Forward

Wearing the wrong size of shoe leads to slips, trips and falls. Alison Daniels consults the

experts on the latest developments in safety footwear to find out how to choose the

right shoe for the job

Safety footwear is now viewed as an

integral component of Europe’s

safety culture, yet many people,

whether buyers or end users, still fail

to buy the best footwear for the job.

Barry Wright was a practicing podiatrist before

joining Canonbury Healthcare. “Nine out of ten

people are wearing the wrong size of shoe,

according to research studies and practicing

professionals,” Barry says. “People buy the wrong

type of safety footwear for a number of reasons.

It’s remarkably common for the buyer not to gather

end-user feedback and just to buy based solely on

price and a picture in a catalogue.

“Some people lack awareness of what a shoe is

designed to do and where different forms of

protection are required, and this can lead to a

painful experience for the wearer if the wrong

footwear is chosen. It’s further complicated by

footwear that’s comfortable for one person being a

nightmare for the next.

“One simple thing that can improve fit is to try

different types of safety footwear on. It’s best to do

this in the afternoon as feet expand and

change throughout the day. It’s also useful to

try on different sizes and models,

Safety footwear, like the FS190 boot from

Footsure, is increasingly influenced by sports

shoe design and technology

as most people will find that different

manufacturers have a different approach to sizing.

This is especially true when comparing

international sizes, which are approximate, rather

than exact, equivalents.

“Footcare professionals see more female than

male patients. Women may suffer more foot

problems than men, given the nature of their

shoes, though this might be down to women

being more likely to seek help or intervention when

they do have a problem.”

Canonbury was fielding so many calls from

occupational health nurses about how to prevent

the foot pain experienced by wearers of cheaper

safety boots that Barry, together with leading

industry innovators Poly Gel, developed an

idea that has culminated in Bootmate, a sock

with integrated gel pads that dissipates the

pressure from the toe cap exerted across

the base of the toes when the wearer is

kneeling down.

With UK full-time workers averaging a 41.6 hour

working week and society becoming more

litigious, there is increasing scope for

compensation claims due to slips, trips

and falls. One online compensation

claim firm of solicitors advises that toe

injuries will result in compensation of

between £800 and £6,150, while

foot injury pay outs start at around

£1,500 and go up to £8,750.

A damaged knee or a minor

head injury can cost a

company up to £6,000.

This makes it imperative

that employers choose

appropriate safety


JAL Group’s

new JJV08

boot has


designed in


with wearers

Over the past few years,

protective footwear has become

increasingly stratified, with high-end manufacturers

continually investing in innovation and the budget

end of the market, consisting largely of imported

footwear from Asia, gaining volume due to the

need to control costs where markets have been

slow to grow.

Paul Wheeler, national sales manager at

Footsure, points out that safety footwear is

increasingly influenced by sports shoe design and


“When we’re designing a new boot or shoe, we

start with the sole unit and then uppers are chosen

to meet the requirements of both functionality and

fashion. Different manufacturers use different lasts

- some use boot lasts for shoes, which gives you a

wider fitting, so it’s important for the person who’ll

be wearing the boots to try them.”

JAL Group’s Calum Kennedy Smith agrees that

involving customers and wearers is an essential

part of the design process: “We have the depth of

resources that mean we can spend

time with buyers and end-users

to understand the

requirements that

physiology, task

ergonomics and working

environment put on the

workers and what that

means for the design of

their safety footwear.

“For example, we’ve

been working on a new

boot designed for offshore.

For decades, our rigger boots

have been the market leader in the

North Sea, but some workers want the


Nine out of ten people

are wearing the wrong

size of shoe, according to

research studies and

practicing professionals

extra support that a high leg boot with a zipper

and laces offers.

We worked closely with a major oil company, the

HSE testing facilities and the guys out on the

platforms to come up with a collaborative design

that provides grip and support in all the right


The safety footwear market is

increasingly adopting design

features from sports and

outdoor leisure footwear

makers, while constantly

introducing new materials

which enhance protection

and reduce the incidence of

slips and trips in the


Shoes with EVA/rubber or

vibram soles together with

Kevlar midsoles and aluminium or

composite toe-caps confer comfort, total safety

and performance. Moisture wicking textiles, antimicrobial

components and improved

waterproofing, through the incorporation of fabrics

like GORE-TEX or nanotechnology

coatings like Ion-Mask, also provide

better comfort throughout the

working day.

As the composition of the workforce changes, with

more women taking up roles in traditionally maledominated

industries, several manufacturers have

introduced safety boots designed specifically for

women’s feet. Younger workers, in particular,

have often grown up wearing trainers and

expect a similar level of wearability and style

from their work footwear.

Several brands, including Dr. Martens and

CAT, have successfully crossed over from the

workwear to the fashion market, showing

how important rugged design is.

In the corporate clothing world, comfort,

style and fit are the major considerations

when it comes to choosing work

shoes. E. Sutton & Son has been

making women’s shoes since

1945, so the company knows a

few things about comfort

and fit.


Bootmate uses

innovative gel

filled pads to

alleviate toe pain

Sandra Bird, sales liaison, says: “As well

as our SATRA-approved laboratory, which is

authorised to conduct technical tests on the

materials and designs we use in our footwear, we

also have a fit testing programme.

We have a number of local testers, each of whom

is a perfect size, and they test our new designs, so

we can be sure our size 4EEE is going to fit feet

properly. The customers we produce footwear for

often have their own fit testing process, so it’s a

useful double check.”

Michael Martin, one of E. Sutton & Son’s sales

staff, says that fit and comfort will remain

paramount in corporate footwear. “Customers

want their footwear to look good yet to retain a

degree of practicality. Each generation of women

has grown taller, with feet becoming larger and

wider as a result. We’re seeing a significant

increase in sales of wider fittings and this is

expected to continue.”

With more stylish designs than ever on offer and

constant innovation to provide increased safety,

enhanced comfort and a better fit, there’s really no

excuse for sore feet. ■

Each generation of women

has grown taller, with

feet becoming larger

and wider as a result

Several brands, including Dr.

Martens, have successfully crossed

over from the workwear to the

fashion market, showing how

important rugged design is 39


Don’t Lose Your


We take a look at the latest fibres and fabrics that can

help workers keep cool and comfortable all year round

- and particularly during the summer

There’s nothing quite like the start of

summer with warm days and long

evenings to raise the spirits. The

downside is that it can be an

unpleasant experience during work hours.

Offices can become oppressive hot houses

while those toiling outside have nowhere to

hide from the sun’s glare.

Klopman's Inspirations collection has

adapted a selection of its high street fashion

apparel fabrics for corporate imagewear

To prevent the sun from turning into an enemy, it’s

vital that uniform wearers are equipped with

clothing that is comfortable and offers protection.

It is, of course, important for a uniform to offer this

all-year round, which is why more and more

fabrics are offering stretch, antimicrobial, moisture

wicking, temperature regulating and breathable

properties whatever the season.

Klopman has expanded its collection of Stretch

fabrics. The Inspirations collection has adapted a

selection of its high street fashion apparel fabrics

for corporate imagewear, providing the high

performance characteristics essential for a long

wash and wear life-cycle. Designed to be stylish

and practical, they offer greater comfort and

freedom of movement to allow the wearer to work

more easily and effectively.

The collection incorporates the LYCRA ® T400 ®

fibre from INVISTA, which helps in transporting

moisture away from the body to the outer layer of

the fabric, from which it quickly evaporates. As a

result, the wearer feels cooler and more

comfortable, with no unpleasant wetness next to

the skin. Comfortable denim-effect fabrics and

wool-effect fabrics with a sophisticated natural

drape and soft tactile feel are also available.

Klopman has made its ‘Cool Stretch’ fabrics

featuring INVISTA’s LYCRA ® T400 ® fibre with

moisture management properties available in

weights of 205g/m2 and 295g/m2, making them

suitable for warm environments and physically

active occupations.

Two new ‘Stylish Stretch’ products from Klopman

have also been introduced that use DOW XLA

stretch fibre from Dow Fibre Solutions. DOW XLA

is the world’s first and only olefin-based stretch

fibre, and is designed to add value to uniforms and

other garments with its soft stretch for comfort

and unrestricted movement - as well as its

inherent resistance to high temperatures and

harsh chemicals used in typical industrial


The use of silver in work clothing is becoming

more widespread as awareness of its natural

Fabrics that contribute to the wellbeing of the

wearer are becoming increasingly widespread

thanks to the continuous development of

innovative fibre blends and technological finishes

for the workwear and corporatewear market

antibacterial properties grows. The range of

functional textiles in Trevira Bioactive is being

extended by products marketed under a new

co-op brand - Silvado. The new articles made

from Trevira’s antimicrobial fibres are aimed at the

hospital, wellness and sports sectors, and are

used in workwear and even in house textiles such

as hand towels.

Unlike textiles that receive additional treatment

with antimicrobial substances, the silver-based

agent in Trevira Bioactive is firmly integrated into

the fibre material and is consequently permanent.

This means that its action is not affected by

either washing or usage. Shirts, polos and T-shirts

are already in use by Silvado customers in the

food industry, fire service and the logistic sector,

and a sock collection in Trevira Bioactive is at the


Bamboo is

becoming more

sought after in

workplace fabrics

due to its

breathable, wicking

and antibacterial


properties, as well

as its eco-friendly


test stage. INVISTA’s CORDURA ® brand team’s

latest innovation - CORDURA ® Baselayer freshFX ®

fabric - also uses a silver-based technology.

CORDURA ® says that Baselayer freshFX ® fabrics

not only provide long-lasting freshness for the

standard life of the garment but also have the

added benefit of built-in CORDURA ® brand


“We realised we needed to develop a fabric that

could contend with the rigours of combat, law

enforcement and the great outdoors,” Cindy

McNaull, global CORDURA ® brand manager and

marketing director, said. “By adding freshFX ®

fabric technology to our existing CORDURA ®

Baselayer fabric line-up, we are arming our diverse

CORDURA ® Baselayer fabric customers - which

include military, tactical, and outdoor enthusiasts

alike - with a next-to-skin layer that has lasting


In addition to its silver-based fabric enhancement,

CORDURA ® stresses that Baselayer freshFX ®

fabric continues to offer the unique blend of

features found in traditional CORDURA ® Baselayer

fabrics: No Melt, No Drip thermal protection when

exposed to heat in flash fire situations, outstanding

moisture management, extreme comfort, and

exceptional durability.

Meanwhile, RTG International has expanded its

work clothing range containing its antibacterial

Coolskyn Plus technology by launching a hybrid

shirt for the police and emergency services. A long

and short sleeve option, alongside a formal

poly/cotton collar, completes the official ensemble

to provide comfort minus bulk and climate

regulation beneath body armour.

Coolskyn Plus wicks sweat away from the skin to

the fabric surface where it can evaporate,

eliminating coldness and ‘skin cling’. On contact

with perspiration, embedded silver ions with their

anti bacterial effect are released from within the

Coolskyn Plus fabric to suppress the bacterial

growth responsible for bad smells, and they

provide 99.9% protection against major health

hazardous micro-organisms, according to the


Bamboo is another natural solution that is

becoming more sought after in workplace fabrics

due to its breathable, wicking and antibacterial

performance properties, as well as its eco-friendly


In line with this, Lenzing Gruppe and Litrax AG

have announced the introduction of a new fibre

blend of Tencel and Litrax-1 natural bamboo stem

fibre. Four spinning partners have been selected to

introduce this new bamboo yarn to the textile

industry, and will create a range of worsted and

ring spun yarns.

Litrax will deliver the LITRAX-1 natural bamboo

fibres with a special DNA coding to protect its

vertical supply chain and customers. The DNA

coding will ensure that purchasers are buying the

original, authentic bamboo fibre from LITRAX-1.

Meanwhile, French nylon yarn specialist Sofila has

developed a new commercially available range of

high performance nylon yarns, produced using

bio-polymers derived from the castor oil plant. The

result of an extensive two-year research and

development project, the yarns are currently under

trial by major French and European textile brands

in hosiery and socks.

The castor oil comes from the beans of the

Ricinus plant, which can grow in Africa or Asia on

poor lands without irrigation or fertilisers. These

beans are not produced from genetically

modified seeds and they are 100%

renewable biomass.

“Greenfil yarns are not just an

ecological alternative to oilbased

Polyamide,” Sofila

spokesman Augustin

Bidault said. “They also

bring outstanding




resistance and

comfort, which



benefits for



With UV


the number

one cause

of skin


across the

world, many



have started to

include UVprotective

fabrics in their garments.

While the general public may be aware


of the dangers associated with UV rays, many

won’t be aware that UV rays can pass through

many items of clothing with ease.

Headsweats, the US headwear manufacture, has

launched a new fabric called Eventure, which is a

lightweight proprietary woven fabric that wicks

moisture away from the wearer’s head while

providing UV protection.

The company’s Ultralight hat, which weighs just

over 45 grammes, combines CoolMax knit and

terry fabrics with Eventure to keep sweat out of

the wearer’s eyes. The company also offers an

Ultralight visor that weighs less than 40 grammes.

Fabrics that contribute to the wellbeing of the

wearer are becoming increasingly widespread

thanks to the continuous development of

innovative fibre blends and technological finishes

for the workwear and corporatewear market.

With wellbeing fabrics offering performance

qualities suitable for day-to-day living, the

possibilities for their use throughout the entire

clothing industry are immense.

Consumers that experience high performance

from their clothing at work will come to expect the

same from their leisure clothing, meaning we could

be seeing a lot more development in the near

future from this trend.

LYCRA ® and T400 ® are trademarks of INVISTA.

CORDURA ® is a registered trademark of INVISTA

for durable fabrics. ■

The new hybrid shirt from RTG incorporates its

antibacterial Coolskyn Plus technology, an

innovative wicking sweat

management fabric,

in its main body 41


Building a Brand

Stephanie Yapp, project manager at NKD Clothing, illustrates the importance

of creating a strong brand identity through corporatewear

It still surprises me how little thought is

given to staff clothing despite it being one

of the best communicators of a business’s

identity. Many companies hear ‘brand

identity’ and associate it with the

development of a logo, investing significant

portions of time and money on various PR

and marketing activities, while ignoring the

people who directly represent the brand to

the customer.

Given the recent economic downturn, many

businesses continue to place emphasis on

controlling costs, and corporate clothing is often

considered a ‘safe cut’ when, in actual fact, new

uniforms can be one of the simplest ways for a

business to re-fresh or re-brand itself.

While Easyjet is well known for its iconic shade of

orange, the airline’s identity has developed in the

15 years since its inception and they’ve

successfully used their corporatewear as a means

of communicating how its business has matured.

The low-cost airline tried to inject more fun into

flying, opting for a more casual uniform of jeans

and polo shirts in 1995, but, while maintaining the

integrity of their brand identity, they have opted to

smarten their look over recent years in line with the

airline’s growth.

For customer-facing employees, clothing is an

essential part of the brand experience. Whether

through customisation or consistency of style,

uniforms offer not only a recognisable signal of the

style of service on offer but also an insight into

company culture - ultimately they have the power

to define how a brand is perceived.

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, it is

vital for companies to engage with their customers

by clearly defining their brand, therefore increasing

the chance of securing brand (consumer) loyalty.

Those that stay sharp have a better chance of

surviving the slump by retaining customer interest

and loyalty because scrimping on the quality of

staff uniforms will cost a business far more in the

long term.

Corporate clothing is also an effective way of

communicating the brand to staff. It helps them

understand their role within a business and

supports their fulfilment of the brand’s promise.

Brand co-ordination can be as simple and

effective as introducing a colour theme from your

corporate colour palette and rolling out different

garment designs in this key shade to distinguish

between departments and levels of staff.

Grooming guidelines should be included in every

business’s brand standards as the quality of a

product or service can be dramatically

undermined by an associate in an ill-fitted or

poorly presented outfit.

A 2009 survey by Malmaison concluded that 88%

of employees wished to retain a staff uniform that

Employees are increasingly seen as one of a

company’s most valuable assets and therefore it

makes commercial and cultural sense to invest

in your brand’s ambassadors

they believed gave them a greater sense of

belonging and even made them more focused in

their roles.

“Brand identity is very important to us, as boutique

hotels’ image and look is what we sell and that

extends to our staff uniforms,” Sean Wheeler,

group director of people at Malmaison & Hotel du

Vin, said. “We want our employees to look and

feel good in what they wear. We rely on our

uniform supplier to assist us in moving the

business forward - helping us stay sharp,

competitive and raise our profile in new markets.”

Staff who look great feel great, so from a

personnel (HR) angle, corporate clothing can be a

fantastic motivator, attracting the right recruits and

a higher retention rate. Employees are increasingly

seen as one of a company’s most valuable assets

and therefore it makes commercial and cultural

sense to invest in your brand’s ambassadors. We

recommend businesses make their staff uniform

spend visible to staff so they feel valued by their

employer. Unwillingness to make this kind of

investment is to risk losing your edge in a highly

competitive global marketplace.

It is of course vital to roll out the right corporate

clothing, which is why engaging with a designfocused

uniform supplier is a great way to ensure

garments communicate your identity accurately

and practically.

In 2008, while campaigning to change the

dictionary definition of ‘Mcjob’, which has been

used as slang to denote low-paying, low-prestige

employment, fast-food giant McDonalds provided

its UK workers with new designer uniforms in what

they described as a ‘mark of respect’ for its staff.

McDonald’s said it hoped the new outfits,

designed by Bruce Oldfield, would help them “feel

good” in their role.

However, designing workwear is not without its

problems, as has been proven recently when NHS

staff in Scotland and Wales were left scratching

after new tunics brought them out in a rash. The

new colour-coded designs were meant to make

health workers instantly distinguishable for patients

but, despite extensive wearer trials and fabric

testing, many of the garments have been recalled

for further investigation.

Consulting staff and undergoing wearer trials

means your team are less likely to feel like a

uniform is being forced upon them and, in turn,

staff will tend to feel more positive about their

workplace and confident in their appearance.

Easyjet took a rather revolutionary approach in

2007 when they invited cabin crew to take part in

a competition to design a new uniform. With a

much smarter and more formal look, the winning

design was made up of wardrobe options so the

crew could create their own combinations and

express their own personal style and personality

while feeling confident and looking professional.

Uniforms inevitably affect people’s attitude to their

jobs as well as customers perceptions. By

investing in brand-building clothing, businesses

can achieve a look that is well-received, flattering

and fit for purpose. ■

NKD Clothing is an Edinburgh-based

designer and supplier of bespoke corporate

clothing and staff uniforms, servicing five-star

attractions, boutique hotels, bars,

restaurants, banks and building societies.




To market your company here

please contact:

Lara Colmer

T: +44 (0) 870 870 4578 F: +44 (0) 870 870 4679

Email: 43

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