Flying High - director-e

Flying High - director-e

The international magazine for the corporate clothing, workwear and PPE supply chain

Flying High

Virgin Atlantic celebrates 25 years of style and

winning Business Manager of the Year

Features on:

■ Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show highlights

■ Power dressing

■ Fashion in safety footwear


Issue 7:

June/July 2009

Editor: Catherine Christie

Check out our Brands


What an event! After last year’s inaugural show, the Workwear and

Corporate Clothing Show 2009 had a lot to live up to. But thanks to

great support from the industry, our exhibitor and visitor numbers

equalled last year’s - quite a feat considering the economic climate.

It just goes to show that there is a demand for a UK show dedicated to corporate clothing,

workwear and PPE. And why not, given that there’s so much to celebrate in the industry.

Walking around the exhibition I could see a wealth of the latest technologies and cuttingedge

styles, while the Business Manager Awards on the first evening radiated passion and


Business managers from across the board, including councils, supermarkets, restaurants,

police, fire, airlines and banks - you name it - converged on the Hilton Birmingham

Metropole Hotel accompanied by their suppliers. As was to be expected, there was lots of

eating, drinking and dancing, but the main purpose was clear: recognition.

These were the first awards devoted to rewarding the pivotal role that buyers play in the

industry and the teamwork involved with their suppliers. Without the buyers working hard

with suppliers to deliver the best uniform they can in terms of design, manufacture, ethics,

environment and innovation, this industry wouldn’t be what it is today and businesses all

around the country would be filled with unhappy staff.

We would like to thank all those buyers who gave their input for the awards and everyone

who entered and attended the evening. Congratulations to all of the evening’s winners - it

was certainly a memorable occasion, and one that we can’t wait to repeat next April!

It just goes to show that there is a

demand for a UK show dedicated to

corporate clothing, workwear and PPE

Virgin Atlantic’s 25th anniversary provides

us with an excuse to look back at years of

uniforms that just oozed glamour


Catherine Christie

BA (Hons) PG Dip

Fashion Contributor:

Rebecca Bryant


Hannah Johnson

Managing Director:

Yvette Ashby

Published bi-monthly by:

Marston Consulting


South House 3A

Suite 4

Bond Estate

Bond Avenue

Bletchley, Milton Keynes


Tel: + 44 (0) 870 870 4578

Fax: +44 (0) 870 870 4679


Graphic Design:

David Ganderton

Tel: +44 (0) 1443 819148


Regal Litho Ltd.

Tel: +44 (0) 1908 270400

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 liability for damage or

loss of unsolicited


The publishers exercise the

right to alter and edit any

material supplied. This

publication is protected by

copyright and may not be

reproduced in part or in full

without specific written

permission of the publishers.







4 News-in-Brief and Diary Dates

F. Engel attracts a famous customer,

Sue Stedman delivers L’Oreal uniforms,

and Shirley Technologies expands its


7 Workwear and Corporate

Clothing Show

All the highlights from the muchanticipated


13 Business Manager Awards

Relive the evening of the year

19 Sustainability Conference

An outline of the key issues presented at

the director-e annual event

24 Corporatewear

Where power dressing is back with a

vengeance in the fashion world, in

corporatewear the stakes have simply

been raised

27 Close-Up

Jayne Richards from Barclays bank

believes that it’s more than clothes that

make the uniform

28 Uniforms

Virgin Atlantic’s 25th anniversary

provides us with an excuse to look back

at years of uniforms that just oozed


31 ICP

If you haven’t already read about the

Integrated Clothing Project’s first roll-out

on now is your


34 PPE

Safety footwear is following in the

footsteps of workwear and getting


37 Style

Rebecca Bryant reports on the influence

of designers in the working garment


38 Promotional Clothing

Promo-guru Sophie Howes gives advice

on building brand awareness












director-e News

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News in Brief

A taste of the comprehensive daily news stories available on

and - to subscribe to Europe’s leading textile websites,

call +44 (0) 870 870 4578 or email

■ F. Engel receives royal approval

Outdoor clothing and workwear company

Deerhunter has been granted a Royal Danish

Warrant and appointed ‘Purveyor to HM The

Queen of Denmark’.

Deerhunter is a part of the Danish company F.

Engel K/S, a family-owned concern founded in

1927 and currently managed by the fourth

generation. Deerhunter was established in

1985 as a direct result of the Engel family’s

passion for hunting and outdoor pursuits.

“Our vision is to develop and manufacture

clothing for modern hunters and outdoor

individualists for whom freedom of movement

and high-technical quality is of vital

importance,” said Chris Boyce, F. Engel sales

director for the UK and Ireland, who is based in


F. Engel has grown every year for the past twenty years and successively added to its

collections. Today, Deerhunter offers a comprehensive range of clothing for hunting

and outdoor pursuits and is now represented in more than 30 countries across the

world. In addition to Deerhunter, F Engel also manufactures a number of well-known

brands including Workzone and FE Engel workwear, Shellbrook, DXO and Sunwill

men’s trousers.

■ Outlast opens new laboratory in Europe

Outlast Europe is expanding its leading

market position in PCMs (phase-change

materials) and has built a new laboratory

which is now operational in the company’s

headquarters at Heidenheim.

“We want to invest in the future and to secure

and strengthen the location of our European

head office in Germany,” said Martin Bentz,

managing director of Outlast Europe GmbH,

Heidenheim, Germany. Outlast has installed

numerous laboratory devices and also

invested in new personnel.

At the lab’s heart is a Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) testing

instrument, which gives a distinctive fingerprint to determine that Outlast

technology is included in the product at the appropriate levels. Outlast

temperature regulating phase change materials are used in high quality

outerwear and footwear and also in underwear, socks and bedding

from worldwide brand leaders. The company describes its DSC testing

as an irreplaceable partner for the development of new processes and

new PCMs.


Lars Engel

(front) and

Carl Engel



the new and




■ Taiana develops waterresist


From now on, we will

forget that irksome wet

effect of the swimsuit after

getting out of the water.

After a two-year research

project, the Tessitura

Taiana company, based

in Olgiate Comasco has developed what it

claims are the first water resistant fabric


“This is the result of research which originates

from the world of extreme sport competition,”

said Matteo Taiana, project manager and

line manager at Tessitura Taiana, which was

founded in Italy in 1933.

“It forced us to tackle two urgent issues: on

the one hand, the requirement of a swimsuit

with permanent water-resistant effect, whose

water-dynamics feature persists even after its

regular and systematic use; on the other

hand, the requirement for the elasticity of the

fabric, aiming at pressing and containing the

athletes’ muscles.”

The fashion elements of the fabrics followed

just one step behind the development of

sport performance and Taiana has simply

applied this technology to the beachwear

fabrics of the BLU collection, the longstanding

branded product range of the


■ Sunlight Direct Launches New Website

Sunlight Direct has relaunched its website as part of an aggressive

campaign to increase its business share of the uniform market.

The company’s managing director, Tom Roehricht, told director-e

that the website, which went live in mid-May, reflected Sunlight

Direct’s values as a service-led organisation.

“The previous website was really product-led,” he said. “The new

website still shows the five main product categories where we

have strengths - workwear, casual wear, corporatewear, PPE and

footwear - but it also shows the services that we can provide for

bespoke garments, stock holding, design and delivery etc.”

The new website follows the appointment of Fiona Clerk to the

sales team, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the

textile industry.

“We are now looking to develop our business quite aggressively in

the uniform market,” said Tom. “Sunlight has always been known

for high quality in terms of laundry and we are using those high

quality garments to sell and develop products for the end user.

We’re ahead of budget at this stage, which not many people can

say in the marketplace at the moment.”




■ L’Oreal UK luxury division selects Sue Stedman

News in Brief

Sue Stedman Limited, the bespoke corporate clothing

company, has completed the development of two new

uniforms for L’Oreal in the UK. The first is for L’Oreal’s Biotherm

brand and the second is for Giorgio Armani Beauty.

As part of the contract, Sue Stedman Ltd will also provide

servicing to L’Oreal to ensure all consultants wear fresh, well

fitting uniforms on an ongoing basis.

Surrey-based Sue Stedman Ltd developed the uniforms to

complement international designs that were originally created

for each brand. The Biotherm uniform will be worn by its

Sue Stedman

skincare consultants across the UK and features a white top

with gathered sleeves and a deep cuff, a sporty short skirt and

elegant slim leg trousers. The Giorgio Armani uniform will be worn by consultants working within the

exclusive beauty and perfumery business.

Brian Williams, retail and education manager for L’Oreal, said: “The finished garments provide each

brand with a distinct look that will certainly ensure they are easily recognisable in the beauty and

cosmetics arena.”

Sue Stedman, founder and director of Sue Stedman Limited, added: “We are extremely pleased

with the finished uniforms and even more so the client and consultant’s reaction to them.”

■ Shirley tests for

‘substances of very

high concern’

Shirley Technologies has launched a

new service for textile companies to test

for substances of very high concern

(SVHC) in garments, fabric, sewing

thread, accessories and any other

component in the supply chain.

The service is in response to new EU

laws on chemicals and their safe use and

is known as REACH because it deals

with the registration, evaluation,

authorisation and restriction of chemicals.

“For EU-based companies, it is their

responsibility to ensure any textile

products including chemicals used in

manufacture, whether they have been

produced outside or within the EU, have

been evaluated to ensure they are

REACH compliant,” said Asif Shah of

the Manchester-based independent and

accredited laboratory.

“If you are a textile company based

outside of the European Union then you

are obliged to inform your EU based

buyers on the status of SVHC within

products that are supplied to them. Our

new service will test to determine

whether the products they are producing

contain SVHC and issue them with a

certificate which will show their SVHC


And finally:

■ Camouflage fabrics that

change colour like fish

Imagine a uniform that changes colour like a

chameleon to match the surrounding

environment. Sandia National Laboratories

researchers in New Mexico have

demonstrated that, in theory, they could

cause synthetic materials to change colour

like chameleons or certain fish species.

They believe their work could lead to colourchanging

material in five to 10 years.

“Camouflage outfits that blend with a variety

of environments without need of an outside

power source - say, blue when at sea and

then brown in a desert environment - is where

this work could eventually lead,” said principal




“Or the same

effect could be

used in

fabricating chic

civilian clothing



changes colour

to fit different

visual settings.”



■ 6-10 ITM 2009

TUYAP Fair, Convention and Congress

Centre, Istanbul, Turkey

Tel. +90 (0) 21 25 92 59 92

■ 10-12 TEXMED

Parc des Expositions du Kram, Tunis,


Tel: +216 (0) 71 23 01 12

■ 16-18 Techtextil

Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Tel: +49 (0) 69 75 75-67 10


■ 16-19 10th Textech Bangladesh 2009

International Expo

China Friendship Conference Centre,

Dhaka, Bangladesh

April 2010

■ 13-14 Workwear and Corporate

Clothing Show

Ricoh Arena, Coventry


T: +44 (0) 1425 470666

F: +44 (0) 1425 470678

■ 13-14 Totally Trade Expo

Ricoh Arena, Coventry


T: +44 (0) 870 870 4578

F: +44(0) 870 870 4679

■ 13th Conference and Business

Manager Awards

Ricoh Arena, Coventry


T: +44(0) 870 870 4578

F: +44(0) 870 870 4679

Sandia researcher George

Bachand examines an

enlargement of actual images of

light-emitting quantum dots

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Bringing the industry together is what

the Workwear and Corporate Clothing

Show set out to achieve - and that it

certainly did. From workwear,

corporate clothing, promotional wear

and PPE to fibres, fabrics and accessories, all

was on show at the two-day event on 1-2 April at

the Birmingham NEC.

Despite the credit crunch, over 1,500 visitors piled

through the doors and, while things were a little

quieter than expected at the outset, the show

gathered pace with the very first Business

Manager Awards sponsored by INVISTA’s

CORDURA ® brand and Cat Workwear.

Designed to recognise outstanding buyer-supplier

relationships and taking place as part of a starry

gala dinner and dance at the Hilton Birmingham

Metropole Hotel, the merriment helped to boost

everyone’s spirits and bring about a sense of pride

in being part of such a vibrant industry.

This momentum was carried through to the

second day and, to kick off proceedings, there

was a well-attended and enlightening conference

on sustainability sponsored by Syscom plc and

Lectra. The eclectic mix of speakers ensured that

the whole supply chain - from fibre to end-of-life

garments - was covered and that delegates came

away with some valuable insights into how to turn

sustainability into good business.

When the going gets tough

Launched by organisers Corporate Clothing

director-e and Ocean Events last April, the

Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show not only

had the recession to contend with but also its

status as the new kid on the block. However, 7


Second Time’s the Charm

The UK’s only show solely dedicated to working

garments proves that it’s here to stay

Fristads & Co's

GEN Y workwear

makes an

impression on

the catwalk

maintaining the same number of visitors and

exhibitors as last year has left the show’s joint

managing director Yvette Ashby in no doubt

about its future role within the industry.

“We created this show in response to what our

customers - the manufacturers, suppliers,

distributors and buyers in the industry - were

telling us. The fact that we have been able to

equal the success of the inaugural show, despite

these difficult economic times, is a testament to

the fact that the show fulfils a need.

“It is this that has helped to make this show a

success once again and inject some confidence

into the industry - as well as, of course, the

resilience of the exhibitors and show sponsors

getting out there and showing everyone exactly

what they’re made of.”

The fact that we have been able to equal the success of the inaugural

show, despite these difficult economic times, is a testament to the fact

that the show fulfils a need


Exhibitors and visitors get down

to some serious business

Getting down to business

By the end of the show, it seemed as though all

the hard work had paid off as exhibitors were

reporting quality leads and orders coming in. “The

one thing that you can say about this show is that

there are no timewasters,” said Supertouch’s

Kashif Akhtar, who had received around 70

quality leads by the end of the first day. “It has

been quieter than last year, but there are good,

serious buyers at this show and I’m sure we will

exhibit again next year.”

Trevor King from T King Associates Ltd said that

the show provided them with a unique

opportunity. “We’ve got some good leads,

particularly with local authorities, ambulances and

even the RSPCA,” he said. “If I tried to phone any


Russell Collection's shirt solutions are a class act

Russell Workwear closes the fashion show in style

Arco’s new chefswear range brightens up the kitchen

Prêt Apparel's airline uniforms are ready for take-off Cat Workwear, Dr Martens and Hi-Tec storm the runway 9



Jeff Banks presents Incorporatewear's designs from the

Nationwide and Barclays bank corporatwear collections

of these people and ask to speak to their buyer, I

would be very unlikely to get through, whereas

here you get the opportunity to chat with them for

a few minutes.”

Kathleen Helliwell from ApparelGMS agreed.

Having been run off her feet with enquiries, she

was tired but happy at the end of the show, and

she said: “We’ve had a number of leads and the

stand has definitely paid for itself. The show has

exposed us to people we wouldn’t normally gain

access to and we will definitely come back and

exhibit next year.”

Visitors were also impressed. Adrian Williams from

Transport for London said: “The Workwear and

Corporate Clothing Show provides an invaluable

opportunity to meet and source new suppliers.

With the current financial climate, it gives me

comfort to know I am getting value for money.”

Gordon Glenister, director-general at the British

Promotional Merchandise Association, said: “It’s a

very targeted show. I

like the idea of a

conference attached

to the event. The

fashion show is great

and really


garments in use,

which you really can’t

do on the stand.”

The Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show 2010 will take place at

the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on 13th and 14th April 2010.

For more details email, or call

+44 (0)1425 470 666

A model act

After burning some

significant shoe leather

around the exhibition

hall, the electrifying

fashion catwalk show

offered an irresistible

breather from

business. With visitors

gravitating towards the

back of the hall as the

music started

thumping out, the

fashion catwalk show, sponsored by Russell

Europe for the second year running, was once

again the thrice-daily climax of the show. Richard

Clough, managing director-e of Prêt Apparel,

which sponsored one of the scenes, said: “The

fashion catwalk show is without a doubt the

highlight of the entire two-day event. We took part

in it last year and we just had to do it again

because it is such a fantastic way of showing

our garments off to their best advantage and to

huge audiences.”

Russell Europe opened and closed the stunning

show with its Russell Collection and Russell

Workwear. Truly reflective of the trend for young

and fun workwear, scenes from Fristads & Co,

Cat Workwear and Carhartt from Arco were

funky and urban, with cutting-edge dance

routines that involved twirling tools and beating

metal dustbin lids.

Corporate elegance in the banking and

airline sectors, meanwhile, was

encapsulated by scenes from Incorporatewear

and Prêt Apparel with a fireman’s scene from 3M

plus supermarket, chefswear and security uniform

scenes adding to the diversity of the show.

The second day included the previous night’s

overall winner of the Business Manager Awards.

Virgin Atlantic’s head of uniform Karen Sparrow

was crowned Business Manager of the Year and

the award winning cabin crew uniforms were

paraded for all to see.

Two shows in one

For 2010, the Workwear and Corporate Clothing

Show organisers have more big ideas up their

sleeves. In keeping with the dream of opening up

the industry to create a dynamic atmosphere

where trade can flourish, Totally Trade Expo will

add another string to its bow. Totally Trade

Expo is a separate show that has been devised to

run alongside the Workwear and Corporate

Clothing Show.

Taking place in an adjacent hall with a separate

entrance, manufacturers and trade distributors of

working garments, textiles and garment

decorators who don’t sell to end users will, for the

first time, have their own exhibition. Only trade-totrade

visitors will gain access to Totally Trade

Expo, with end users being catered for at the

original Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show

next door.

The Ricoh Arena in Coventry will be the new

home for this exciting concept. It is hoped that the

new venue will help the show to continue to grow

into the spectacular event that such a dynamic

industry not only deserves but demands.

Corporate Clothing director-e and Ocean Events

would like to thank the show sponsors and

everyone who exhibited and visited. We look

forward to doing it all again next year! ■

3M's reflective materials bring together

comfort, protection and style

The Workwear and Corporate

Clothing Show also

demonstrated that

innovation was very much

alive and well within the

industry. For a report on

the latest products

and inventions

showcased visit

Click onto ‘Second Time’s the

Charm’ in the features section,

where you will find a longer

version of this review.


What the Exhibitors Say...

Frankie Knight

Helly Hansen

“This is our first year at the show, but I

know it certainly won’t be the last. The

events team have been exceptional in

assisting us, both prior to and during

the show.

“This has been a fantastic opportunity for

us to increase our brand awareness and

preview new product lines to both our

existing and prospective clients.

We’re already looking forward to next

year’s show.”

RK Panchenwale

Bidhata Industries

“We had good visitors on our stand and

hopefully it should turn out big business in

the future. Good work by the organisers.


Thomas Hoeven

Crocs Workwear Shoes

“It is good to see that in these challenging

economic climates, a good and strong

brand can still find its way towards good

partners and customers, thanks to a terrific

show like the Workwear and Corporate

Clothing Show 2009.”

Laura McIlwrath,

Marketing Executive

Fristads & Co

“This is our second year exhibiting at the

Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show

and, after much success last year, we

hoped for a repeat performance and didn’t

come away disappointed.

“Our catwalk scene proved a major hit with

show visitors as it generated much interest,

becoming a big talking point of the show.

We had many requests from visitors asking

to see the full Gen Y range, which was

displayed on our stand.”

Richard Clough

Prêt Apparel

“What a pleasant surprise, the opening day

exceeded all our expectations...positive

enquiries and a great opportunity to

network with the trade.

Again, our catwalk show was fabulous and

reaction from everyone was amazing.”

Toby Pache

Sharon Lee/Tuffcap

“The Workwear and Corporate Clothing

Show 2009 was, yet again, fantastically well

organised, with a great attendance.

Everyone at Sharon Lee/Tuffcap is already

looking forward to the 2010 show.”

Jeanette Magson

William Sugdens & Sons Ltd

“Thank you to the organisers of the

Business Manager Awards for such a

refreshing celebration of people’s talents

and achievements.

It was a pleasure to be at the awards

ceremony and William Sugdens are

delighted to share in the success of ‘The

Go Ahead Group’ who received 3rd place

in the Workwear section. The evening was

one that we will remember for a long time

to come.”

... positive enquiries and

a great opportunity to

network with the trade 11



What the Visitors Say...

Leendert Van Neerbos

Creative Textiles (Netherlands)

“Very good show, unbelievable.”

Adrian Day

Deane Apparel (New Zealand)

“It is an excellent show. We came over from

New Zealand especially to attend this show

after seeing it advertised on the internet.

We are involved in the workwear industry

and we know how it operates in New

Zealand. However, we are keen to get to

know how the industry operates in Europe

and we think this is a good market for us.

We have found it very useful.”

Jaydeep Chakraborty

J.M.C Garments (India)

“Very worthwhile. Looking to set up similar

sort of exhibition in India.”

Steve Holmes

Laurence Highman

“Have spent a lot of time with several

companies - it has been a good exhibition

for us”

John Butler

Operations director,

Peak Clothing

“Very good show. Excellent organisation.”

Fiona Clark

Sales executive,

Sunlight Direct

“A good show and an opportunity for us

to meet lots of suppliers and

manufacturers as we continue to develop

Sunlight Direct.”

Nick Ireland

Sales director, Uniform World


“Very good show. There’s business to be

done and we’re here to do it!”

Anne Redfern

Key account director,

Workwear Express Ltd

“Fashion show was fantastic. Nice to see

new suppliers, especially footwear”

Adrian Williams

Performance Management,

Transport for London

“The Workwear and Corporate Clothing

Show provides an invaluable opportunity to

meet and source new suppliers. With the

current financial climate, it gives me comfort

to know I am getting value for money.”

George Murray

MK & Buckingham

Fire Authority

“A very worthwhile visit. It gave me some

fantastic ideas on new fabrics and different

styles. The Fashion Show was excellent and

very professionally done.

I will definitely attend next year's show...and

would like to become more involved in the

Business Manager Awards.”


INVISTA’s CORDURA ® Brand kindly

sponsors the Business Manager Awards

CORDURA ® is a registered trademark of INVISTA for durable fabrics.

director-e managing editor John Gibbon receives

Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award

from Jeff Banks and Yvette Ashby

A Night to Remember

Add 200 guests, mix in 21

award winners, throw in

one fantastic host and

sprinkle three Motown

singers on top and what

do you get? A recipe for a

highly memorable

Business Manager


Campbell Bland of Lenzing Fibers collects

the director-e Lifetime Achievement Award

Lifetime Achievement Award

Excitement and laughter filled the Hilton

Birmingham Metropole Hotel on 1st

April as people from all over the working

garment industry spilled into the superb

venue to celebrate the winners of the

2009 Business Manager Awards. Greeted with a

champagne reception, guests were then invited to

settle down to a superb three-course dinner in the

elegant surroundings.

Once appetites were sated, joint managing

director of the Workwear and Corporate Clothing

Show and award organiser Yvette Ashby led an

emotional start to the proceedings. Expressing

how much the industry meant to her, she then

welcomed on stage the evening’s host, British

fashion designer Jeff Banks, who, having

designed uniforms for over 15 years, admitted

that the industry had ‘got under his skin.’

A lifelong love affair

director-e managing editor John Gibbon is

another man who has seen it all in the textiles

industry, and he gave an emotional speech when

presented with the Outstanding Contribution to

the Industry Award.

Upon collecting his award, an overcome John

said: “Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not

usually lost for words - but this has floored me!”

John, who has worked as a journalist in the textile

industry for more than 50 years, added: “Being

given this award was a total shock - I could never

have imagined receiving this sort of recognition.

Not surprisingly, I will remember that moment

for ever.”

Campbell Bland of Lenzing Fibres was awarded

the director-e Lifetime Achievement Award for his

work over the past 30 years in yarns and fibres,

with the most recent being the introduction of fibre

TENCEL ® to the workwear and corporate clothing


Campbell said: “I’d like to say a very big thank you

to director-e for this award, which means a great

deal to me. The textile industry, as I’m sure many

people will agree, can get into your blood and I’ve

made many good friends and had a lot of fun over

the years!”

Beyond the call of duty

Feelings ran equally high throughout the

presentation of the Business Manager Awards.

PPE category winner Kate Salesse told the

audience she felt ‘a bit of an impostor’ because

she wasn’t a business manager but in fact

Greater Manchester Police’s assistant director for

forensic services. But going beyond the call of

duty was precisely why Kate was worthy of


Collaborating with Microgard to develop the first

disposable suit for crime scene investigators, Kate

demonstrated unparalleled commitment to her

staff, with an enthusiasm and vision that has led

to the creation of a whole new market.

Winner of the corporatewear category Tina

Milton also stood out for her desire to make a

difference. As easyJet’s head of cabin services,

she has no experience in design or clothing but

refused to allow it to stop her. Through listening to 13

INVISTA’s CORDURA ® Brand kindly

sponsors the Business Manager Awards

CORDURA ® is a registered trademark of INVISTA for durable fabrics.

Business Manager Awards

Guests enjoy an elegant champagne reception before a

sumptuous three-course dinner in the Westminster Suite


INVISTA’s CORDURA ® Brand kindly

sponsors the Business Manager Awards

CORDURA ® is a registered trademark of INVISTA for durable fabrics.

colleagues and using her own

personal experience, Tina was able

to develop a new uniform with the

company now known as Wensum

Rainbow that involved staff in every

part of the process. This was

achieved through innovative means

such as road shows, design

competitions and an internet vote.

Royal Mail’s Bob Taylor won the

workwear category with supplier

Dimensions Corporatewear for a

strong commitment to sustainability

and for designing a comfortable

and practical wardrobe to meet the

strong physical requirements of

its wearers.

Time to relax

The grand finale was the

presentation of the Business

Manager of the Year Award. This

went to Virgin Atlantic Airways

head of uniforms Karen Sparrow.

Since joining Virgin Atlantic in 1987,

Karen’s hard work and long-term

commitment to the industry have

contributed to the development of

uniforms that have become, in a

word, iconic.

As well as strengthening the Virgin

Atlantic brand, the uniforms have

set a benchmark for the rest of the

industry in terms of quality, design

innovation and sustainability. Karen

has taken an active role within the

industry by taking part in

conferences, workshops and

forums, making her the perfect

recipient for this award.

Drawing on Virgin Atlantic’s striking

TV commercial, Frankie Goes To

Hollywood’s ‘Relax’ anthem blared

out of the speakers and on screens

as the result was read out, while

models dressed in the awardwinning

cabin crew and pilot

uniforms appeared out of nowhere

to sashay across the stage and

provide an unforgettable climax to

the evening.

To top it all off, the silky tones of

three Motown singers left many

crying out for more as guests

poured onto the dance floor to

show off their best moves. It was

wonderful to see everyone enjoying

themselves and thank you to all

who attended this inaugural event

and helped to make it such a

special evening.

Congratulations to all the

winners and finalists and a big

thank you to the sponsors:


and Cat Workwear for making

the awards possible. ■

Business Manager Awards

Tina Milton from easyJet and Richard Edwards from Wensum Rainbow win first place in the

corporatewear category. Bill Colven (far right), global business director of award sponsors

INVISTA’s CORDURA ® Brand, had flown all the way from America for the ceremony

Kate Salesse, assistant director for forensic services at Greater Manchester Police and Paul

Bryce from Microgard collect awards for first place in the PPE category

Bob Taylor, national uniform manager for Royal Mail and Sarah Allen from Dimensions

Corporatewear receive awards for first place in the workwear category 15

INVISTA’s CORDURA ® Brand kindly

sponsors the Business Manager Awards

CORDURA ® is a registered trademark of INVISTA for durable fabrics.

Business Manager Awards

Lorne Cheetham, Yvette Ashby, Jeff Banks, Brian Lamb

and Rob Pollock


INVISTA’s CORDURA ® Brand kindly

sponsors the Business Manager Awards

CORDURA ® is a registered trademark of INVISTA for durable fabrics.

Business Manager Awards

Jayne Richards from Barclays and supplier Incorporatewear

are presented with awards for second place in the

corporatewear category

John Cairns, PPE officer for Strathclyde Fire & Rescue and

supplier Lion Apparel are presented with awards for second

place in the PPE category

Nigel Alexander, vendor manager for clothing at Arco, and

supplier Sioen collect third place in the PPE category

Val Teviotdale from Leicester City Council and supplier Queen

Eleanor are presented with awards for second place in the

workwear category

Darren Dowling, purchasing manager for Somerfield Stores

Ltd, and supplier Dimensions Corporatewear are presented

with third place in corporatewear

Jenny Turner, head of purchasing at the Go-Ahead Group, and

supplier by William Sugden & Sons receive awards for third

place in the workwear category 17

INVISTA’s CORDURA ® Brand kindly

sponsors the Business Manager Awards

CORDURA ® is a registered trademark of INVISTA for durable fabrics.

Business Manager Awards

Virgin Atlantic head of uniforms Karen Sparrow is presented with the award for Business Manager of the Year

director-e is proud and honoured to present the director-e

Lifetime Achievement Award and the Outstanding

Contribution to the Industry Award to exceptional individuals

in the industry. To nominate someone for the 2010 Business

Manager Awards please contact




Sustainability in Action

The Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show’s sustainability conference offered a

balance of warnings and business wisdom

Delegates from as far afield as Australia, New

Zealand and Portugal came to find out how the

working garment supply chain could become

more sustainable at the NEC on the second

day of the Workwear and Corporate Clothing

Show in April. So why the effort?

This was the key part of the conference - those interested

in keeping ahead of the competition know that

sustainability is big news and is only going to get bigger.

The conference stripped away the myths and hearsay

surrounding sustainability and instead offered harsh truths,

practical tips and inspiring stories. There were ten

outstanding speakers, chosen from a range of buyers,

suppliers and manufacturers in the working garment

industry as well as outside experts.

The diversity of their presentations ensured that issues

surrounding the whole supply chain from fibre to garment

end-of-life were addressed. Chaired by Karen Sparrow,

head of uniforms at Virgin Atlantic, topics ranged from

supply chain management, alternative fibres and ethical

trading to case studies of best practice, garment reuse

and recycling, and eco standards.

Improving understanding: Karen Sparrow

Welcoming delegates to the conference, Karen said the

objective was to improve understanding of sustainability

across the industry. “The focus on sustainability is greater

than ever before,” she said. “Virgin Atlantic puts

sustainability at the core of its business and we recognise

that we have a huge responsibility to the environment.”

Turning to the company’s uniforms, she added: “Uniforms

are key to our business and we adopt a sustainable policy,

using recyclable and ecological systems throughout the

manufacturing process. We also ensure that the people

who make our products have good working conditions.

It doesn’t have to be costly to be sustainable.”

Keeping a balance: Nick Morley

The first speaker was Nick Morley, director of sustainability

for Oakdene Hollins, a consultancy that runs the Centre for

Remanufacturing and Reuse (CRR). He defined

sustainability as a balance between economics, social and

environmental areas and stressed the importance of

maintaining the balance between the three.

He felt there should be more prominence given to the

environment, since society and economy were bounded

by it. “It looks like we’ve got 20 to 30 years to get carbon

levels under control. Our generation is the generation that

has to do it,” he said. “The planet will carry on - it’s human

beings that are vulnerable.”

Nick suggested we look at how products are made and

become aware of the ‘story’ they tell - and decide if we are

proud of that story or not. He also outlined the work being

done by CRR in relation to corporate clothing. “Our

strategy is reuse rather than recycle. Currently, about five

percent of all clothing in the UK is corporate clothing or

PPE and, in looking at the life cycle impact of that clothing

from fibre to end use, we decided that the reuse route was

the most valuable.”

He described a second CRR project that is studying how

to make the removal of logos from workwear, PPE and

Karen Sparrow

Nick Morley 19


Miles Marchant

Robin Vryenhoef

Hayley Brooks

Campbell Bland

corporate clothing more effective, because that is also

important in the context of re-using clothing.

Nick ended by pointing delegates in the direction of their

website, An online resource

launched at the Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show,

it provides the industry with information on the

opportunities that exist to reuse and recycle

corporatewear, and is supported by extensive research

and case studies of best practice.

Polyester closed loop concept:

Miles Marchant

As manager of NI Teijin Shoji Europe GmbH, Miles

Marchant drives the business development for the

company’s Eco Circle closed loop garment recycling

system in Europe. “It’s an endless re-cycling system for

used garments and other polyester products using

chemical processing,” he said.

Miles went on to explain that, in the system, polyester is

chemically decomposed and recycled with other fibres to

make new fabrics. The reason Teijin embarked on the

project was to reduce the vast amounts of petroleum and

other resources used in fibre manufacturing.

“Teijin set a 20 percent reduction target from 1990 to

2020,” he said, adding that, ultimately, “the aim is for all

our clothing to be made from recycled and recyclable


Pointing out that polyester accounted for some 40 percent

of fibre usage and that currently most of that is incinerated

after use or ends up in landfill, he said the loop process

was not energy expensive. “Teijin has a PET recycling plant

at Matsuyama in Japan that can purify used materials and

process them into textured and split yarns and blends

such as polyester/wool. We can also recycle

polyester/cotton, polyester/rayon, polyester/nylon and

polyester/TENCEL ® so long as the blend contains 80 or 90

percent polyester by weight,” he added.

He also told delegates that Teijin could re-process recycled

polyester into hollow fibres and performance qualities.

“Endless recycling is achievable. Purity is the key and Teijin

is actively promoting the reuse of polyester, particularly in

sportswear and leisurewear.”

How technology can help with ethical

fashion: Robin Vryenhoef

As sales manager for Syscom PLC, Robin Vryenhoef told

delegates that Syscom was a software house that had

been working in textiles for 27 years. He talked about how

using the latest technologies and software can help

companies manage ethical sourcing throughout the design


“We have software that is designed to control and manage

the complete manufacturing process from design to the

finished product and its delivery to the client,” he said.

“You can use our systems to help you with producing

ethical fashion.”

Robin gave details and descriptions of individual elements

within control systems for Syscom PDM, stressing that all

are web-based and globally secure.

Robin went into detail about Syscom ERP, PDM and PRP

and how they are used throughout the manufacturing

process, and he explained how the systems meet ethical

and compliance benchmarks throughout the world.

“Similar processes and systems can be used for

controlling sustainable sourcing,” he said. “Not only that,

we can also generate ‘what if?’ costing sheets and the

best ways of using the information produced.”

Making corporate clothing work

ethically: Hayley Brooks

Hayley Brooks is sales and marketing director for

Dimensions Corporatewear and she told the conference

delegates that corporate clothing is not only a means to

project a company’s image but also its eco credentials.

She explained that, in 2000, Dimensions supplied 3.5

million garments; now, that figure is over 14 million

garments a year and includes the brands Yaffy (protective

clothing) and Boyd Cooper. “In 2000, we began promoting

sourcing from Asia. In 2009, we source across all of Asia,

some European countries and the US,” she said.

Hayley acknowledged that there are companies in the

market that “don’t give a damn about where garments

come from or how they are made, but eventually they will

have to change”. She posed the question: “How, as a

managing agent, do you make it work?” And she

answered: “We look at four key areas: climate change,

waste, raw materials and fair partners.”

On climate change, she suggested the industry can help

by extending - and monitoring - garment lifespan; by

providing better aftercare, which “is key in relation to

carbon footprint”; container use - “don’t ship more than is

absolutely necessary”; and deliveries - “deliver on set days

rather than on demand”.

On waste, Hayley suggested barely-used garments could

be re-furbished rather than scrapped; old garments could

be reused, perhaps overseas in poorer markets;

packaging should be made from recycled roots; and the

amount used should be monitored.

In relation to raw materials, Hayley said that it is better to

use sustainable fabric bases and she mentioned recycled

polyester and closed loop recycling. In terms of fair

partnerships, she said Dimensions is a member of ETI and

subscribed to Sedex to share factory audit data. She also

believed community links were important, both in client

areas and manufacturing areas.

“It’s a fair journey and you’re not going to get there

overnight - but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start the

journey. Do what you think is right, concentrate on what

you can influence and remain focused. Finally, monitor and

measure what you are doing,” she added.

Natural and cellulosic fibre

sustainability: Campbell Bland

As UK market manager for Lenzing Fibres, a world leader

in cellulosic technology, Campbell Bland has responsibility

for the markets in the UK and Turkey, as well as working

as project manager for TENCEL ® in workwear and


He began his presentation by examining how certain fibres

that were thought to be sustainable may not be so

because of processing procedures, citing dyeing as an

example. Campbell then contrasted this with fibres derived

from wood pulp from responsibly managed forests, which

remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and emit

oxygen. He introduced the concept of the cellulosic cycle -

essentially starting with photosynthesis, growing trees and

on to wood pulp, then creating the fibre, its use in fabrics

and garments before its disposal (which could involve

composting) and back to photosynthesis.


Ross Barry

Christopher Schyma

Campbell discussed the properties of the company’s

Lenzing FR ® and TENCEL ® fibres, explaining why both

were suitable for workwear. “Lenzing FR ® is made by the

viscose process in which Lenzing maintains eco processes

throughout,” he said. So much so, in fact, that the water

used in the Lenzing facility is returned to the river from

which it is taken originally as drinking water standard.

“The fibre is made from beech trees grown in sustainable,

managed forests and then cut and pulped,” he said. “Our

pulp production is totally self-sufficient and in fact

generates surplus energy, which is used to provide some

of the power for the factory.”

Turning his attention to TENCEL ® , Campbell said:

“TENCEL ® is the most environmentally-responsible

manufacturing production process available to date. It

uses lyocell technology based on eucalyptus trees and is a

closed loop technology.”

He added that the fibre offered comfort, through

breathability and moisture absorption, and performance,

through colour absorption, stability and strength together

with abrasion and pilling resistance making it ideal for use

in workwear.

Reusing corporate uniforms: Ross Barry

The third generation of his family involved in textile

recycling, Ross Barry is a director of Laurence M. Barry

and Co.

Ross said that, for the business in which he is involved,

sustainability is based on the ‘three Rs’ - reduce, reuse

and recycle. “We can’t help with reduce and recycle, but

we can help with reuse,” he said. “The reuse of clothing on

a commercial scale began in the mid-1980s and corporate

clothing is a small part of this. We work with local


authorities who provide bins for old clothing and we pay

the councils.

“We have about 150 people who sort this clothing,

because we have to ensure that what we are sending to

Africa, for example, can be reused.”

Ross explained that the company sorts into some 160

different grades of clothing. “There is a great deal of

clothing out there within your uniforms and reuse is a very

real option,” he said. “And we do work directly with

companies, collecting uniforms that are finished with.”

Dealing with one of the contentious issues about the reuse

of uniforms, he added: “We don’t remove logos. It doesn’t

work and there isn’t a security risk because we have a

secure facility in the UK and we can guarantee that it won’t

be misused in Africa.”

Corporate social responsibility:

Christopher Schyma

Christopher Schyma works within Lectra as a fashion and

apparel account manager for Strategic Accounts in the UK

and he started by explaining what Lectra does in the world

textile and fashion markets through its wide range of

machines and computer-based systems. He introduced

delegates to the concept of ‘Corporate Social

Responsibility’ (CSR), saying: “CSR is the deliberate

inclusion of public interest into corporate decision-making

and the honouring of a triple bottom line – people, planet

and profit.”

Expanding on this concept, Christopher suggested a

number of examples of CSR in action. These included

responsible suppliers, environmentally-friendly production,

leaders in research and innovation, and improving

employment skills and development. 21


Steve Milner

Detlef Fischer

Martin Cooke

He discussed ways in which Lectra could help the industry

to be sustainable in product development and lifecycle

manufacturing, from design, pattern cutting, garment

fitting, marker making, sampling, fabric cutting and


Essentially, if certain production steps could be eliminated

- for example, using computer simulation to remove

excessive sampling - then the manufacturing process as a

whole becomes more sustainable.

Health benefits have a silver lining:

Steve Milner

As managing director for EU business with Noble

Biomaterials, Steve Milner is responsible for developing

applications for X-Static silver fibre, particularly in the

military and medical sectors and with leading sportswear


After pointing out that the benefits of silver have been

known for thousands of years, he listed some of its

properties - including anti-microbial (its most important

benefit), anti-odour, anti-static and thermodynamic (for

military uses) - and he stressed the product is wholly

natural with no adverse reactions and its effects are


In his presentation, Steve focused on two areas: antimicrobial

and thermodynamics. “The anti-microbial

properties of X-Static silver yarns kill bugs,” he said. “The

continuous ion release from pure silver is fatal to them -

and its action is very fast. The same silver ion release is

also very beneficial to anti-odour properties in textiles and


Turning to thermodynamics, Steve said: “In cold countries,

Olympic uniforms contain X-Static silver yarns. Conversely,

in warm conditions, X-Static helps keep athletes cool and

odour-free.” He pointed out that the same benefits were

very useful in military uniforms, and added that X-Static is

standard issue for all US Services.

Steve told delegates that the largest end-use areas for X-

Static yarns are healthcare and uniforms, followed by

sports brands and the industrial sector. “It’s all about

performance,” he said. “Other attributes for the yarn are

that it is durable, proven and safe. Our mission is to see X-

Static technology bring a safer, cleaner environment to

workwear situations.”

Putting the world right: Detlef Fischer

Ignoring the lectern, Detlef Fischer spoke directly to his

audience, pacing across the auditorium and creating a

very personal contact with delegates. As vice president of

bluesign technologies in Switzerland, Detlef promotes the

bluesign standard for ethical and sustainable

manufacturing to leading textile manufacturers worldwide.

He said the inspiration for his talk came from a book his

young son was reading called ‘Wonderful Earth’ by Nick

Butterworth and Mick Inkpen about the creation of the

world - and how mankind had messed it up.

“We want to change the way we and the world think about

making textiles,” Detlef said. “Today, the focus is on our

planet and the environmental impact of what we do on

that planet. But what you cannot see in the end product is

how toxic and waste materials are being treated - or not -

and also how people are being treated. In textiles, the

biggest problem is the end-of-pipe situation.”

He explained that the bluesign approach is to work

through the brands and to try to influence how they control

their supply chains: “Most of the decision-makers do not

have the necessary technical and chemical knowledge

and we can provide that. We have developed a worldwide

standard - one world, one standard.

“Our focus is on input stream management on chemicals,

dyes, products and auxiliaries - and also on the

manufacturing processes. We check every stage.”

Detlef added: “We believe clean components lead to clean

products, which in turn lead to environmental safety.”

What is ethical trading about?

Martin Cooke

It would be hard to imagine anyone more knowledgeable

than Martin Cooke to talk about ethical trading. As deputy

director of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and chair of the

procurement for development forum, he works with

companies, civil society organisations and governments

on social responsibility, sustainability and international

development issues.

In the last paper of the conference, Martin explained what

ethical trading is: “It’s about taking responsibility for the

labour rights and working conditions of the people who

make the products you sell.”

He suggested that companies care about ethical trading

because stakeholders care about their companies’

reputation. “Sixty percent of the value of the brand relates

to its ethical reputation,” he said.

Martin also suggested that ethical trading was about

managing risk - with above the waterline representing the

‘nice-to-have stuff’ and below the waterline the ‘must-have

stuff’. Using vector diagrams, he said that ethical trading

overlaps other social responsibilities in the workplace, the

community and trade.

The ETI’s membership includes 56 corporate members

and suppliers, the global trades union federations and 16

NGOs, with all working together around the world to

develop good corporate practice and improve conditions

for workers.

Martin told delegates that the work of the ETI is

underpinned by its ‘base code’ - nine principles that cover

such commitments as the treatment of children in industry

and factory conditions generally. “The base code is a

minimum requirement and it’s about what should happen,

or not happen, in the workplace,” he said.

“There are 191 million children working in the world and

126 million of those - twice as many as the number of

people living in the EU - are working in dangerous


Martin also noted that there are more slaves in the world

than ever before and he said: “Ethical trading is about

commitment, having checks in place, taking corrective

action, capacity building, core business and collaboration.

“The ETI has instituted programmes to reach vulnerable

workers and also to target companies in order to make

them more aware.” ■

Considering the calibre of speakers and their

commanding knowledge and expertise, next year’s

conference at the Workwear and Corporate

Clothing Show has a lot to live up to. The

organisers would like to thank all the speakers

for their involvement.



The Profit of



Forget 80s revivals with big shoulder pads and

even bigger hair – putting your staff in corporate

tailoring is serious business

These days, most companies realise that what their staff

wears matters. But, in a recession, what your staff wears

really, really matters. With customers looking for brands

that they can trust, and companies having to work even

harder to bring in business, it’s never been more important

for staff to look great, feel confident and stand out in the workplace.

In corporate environments, the traditional route is tailored suiting,

shirts and blouses. But how can you up the ante with a head-turning

corporate look that doesn’t blow the budget? director-e consulted

some of the industry’s leading corporate suiting, shirt and blouse

suppliers to find out how you can make your staff dress for success

for less.

Following suit

The corporate sector has always known the potential of a good suit.

And now, it seems that after years of smart-casual wear and ‘dress

down Fridays’, more of the nation’s workers are getting in on the act.

Tailoring is making waves on the high street as those keen to keep their

careers safe adopt a more professional personal image.

But this doesn’t mean that companies whose employees already wear

corporate tailored uniforms can sit back and relax. On the contrary, they

should be re-examining whether their staff image is really reaching its

full potential, says Sue Stedman of Sue Stedman Corporate

Clothing: “During tough times, it’s vital that staff look good.

“They are the company’s shop window and it’s important that they

provide a professional image that people are comfortable with and buy

into. People are afraid at the moment and so anything that boosts your

client’s confidence is good.”

Corporate image consultant Audrey Hannah adds: “In a recession,

everything comes back down to customer service. You only have 30

seconds to create a first impression - 93% of that is based on nonverbal

communication and 55% of that consists of your appearance

and body language. Choosing the right staff uniform will therefore go a

long way to creating the right first impression. Staff will feel happier and

more approachable, which will make customers more likely to trust in

their abilities.

Lucy Woodward from corporate shirt and blouse supplier Vortex

Designs agrees: “A uniform can definitely affect the psyche. During a

recession, workers can be nervous about job stability. By continuing to

refresh their uniform, it does give people a sense of security that they are still

being invested in. Many companies do realise this, while others may just see

it as a cost to be cut.”

Consider your colours

Colour is a great place to start for immediate impact. “Colour

psychology can be used when considering brand colours,” Audrey


says. “For example, blue is associated with being

quite peaceful and approachable, while green is

calm and reassuring. Red is the colour of energy,

and so people feel more confident and in control.

It depends on what your brand is, what you’re

after and what you want to make people feel.”

Sue says that companies looking to adopt a more

aggressive business approach should take a risk

with their suiting and go bold: “When times are

tough, if you want to stand out you’ve got to do

something other than navy, black or grey. You

could wear pale grey, pale stone or champagne

instead, for example. A suit in those colours looks

luxurious and the trouble is that it is because it

needs careful looking after and isn’t as practical.”

A good compromise is pinstripe. Brook Taverner

has just added a black multi-stripe to its

Corporate Fashion collection, following the navy

multi-stripe that came out last year. Jo Low Grier

says: “We’ve been producing pin-striped suits for

a number of years but our new multi-stripe suits

are very eye-catching and proving a strong

alternative to block navy, which has historically

been the most popular.

“There are two colours in the stripe and you can

team it with a bold-coloured shirt to create an

impact. It’s doing well in hotels and in building

societies - places that are looking to project

confidence during the recession.” A turquoise

lining also provides a vibrant flash of colour.

The Ultimate

Non-Iron shirt

from Russell

Europe means

staff can still

look sharp at the

end of the day

Wensum Rainbow has just released a new

catalogue that introduces dedicated suiting in

three core colours of blue, burgundy and fern

green. Candice Churchill says: “Predominately

they would sell in a hotel market, but it gives other

brands the option to infuse an element of colour

through a suit.”

Wensum Rainbow’s black, charcoal and navy

ranges also now carry an autumn berry deep

purple lining with lilac piping, giving the classic

look a bit of a revamp.

Cut a fine figure

Audrey believes shape is what most people notice

after colour: “Get the right fit and it will make the

overall look more polished. This is where wearer

feedback is vital as these are the people who will

determine whether your company will attract new

or repeat customers.”

Thankfully, the corporatewear sector has come

quite a way in providing suiting that is more

flattering to different body shapes and sizes.

“Historically, the measurements in corporate

tailoring and shirting have always seemed to add

several inches here or there rather than fitting a

normal person, which is what staff want,” Candice


In 2004, however, the UK completed its

National Sizing Survey - the first since the

During a recession, workers can be nervous

about job stability. By continuing to refresh their

uniform, it does give people a sense of security

that they are still being invested in


1950s - to ensure that the size charts of clothing

retailers satisfied the size and shape of their target

customers. “Wensum Rainbow pulled itself in line

with this survey 18 months ago and now the

sizing and measurements of our stock supported

ranges are actually based on retail sales,” she


The trend for a slimmer silhouette in line with the

high street is being reflected in the increasing

demand for fitted shirts, blouses, jackets and

trousers, according to Richard Craddock from

NM Williams: “We’re seeing sales increase in our

two-button suit jackets for men and women made

from a polyester/wool Lycra mix, which is slightly

more fashionable than the traditional three-button

jacket. It has side vents, slanting pockets and is

more fitted at the waist.”

Brook Taverner has also introduced a new twobutton,

short-style jacket to its 100% polyester

‘wash and wear’ Easycare collection. Available

from April in black, navy and pinstripe, the jacket

has been given a new red lining and cut, which

can be teamed with a low-waisted trouser to

create a look that merges fashion with easy


Wensum Rainbow’s two-button jacket suit comes

in its new poly/cotton elastane fabric. Candice

says: “You can actually feel the elasticity with

Brook Taverner’s Bari

Waistcoat in Navy Multistripe

from its Corporate Fashion

Collection is also available in ladies 25


Lycra but not with elastane. The functionality is still there in terms of allowing

flexible movement but the elastane is softer.” Other high street styles that have

been introduced by the company include the addition of a kick pleat skirt to

their ladies corporate skirt range.

Make a lasting impression

Despite tightened purse strings, quality is still essential when it comes to

corporate tailoring. “Our high quality ranges are still our most popular because

customers are putting quality suiting that meets their needs over price,” Jo

says. “They want it to last.”

It’s a given that corporatewear needs to look as good at the end of its lifecycle

as it does at the beginning. Being worn day in and day out, a low quality

garment will become shabby very quickly and need replacing.

Richard says that with any article, including a piece of tailoring, you should

really rest it for a day and put it back on the next day, alternating between two

jackets if possible. If you can do this then, regardless of whether your

garments are at the lower or top end of the trade, they will always look better.

To ensure that suits stay sharp, nanotech finishes that are water repellent and

recover from creases can help wearers to maintain their look for longer and

with less effort. Wensum Rainbow is now offering ‘nanotex’ as standard in all

of their stock ranges. A film that sits on top of the suiting, it causes spills such

as coffee and juice to slide off the garment rather than sink through the fabric.

Be a savvy spender

It is possible to use quality fabrics and incorporate high street styles if you are

canny in your selection of garments. For example, Jo says: “Waistcoats are

proving a popular alternative to jackets at the moment because

they have been prevalent on the high

street as well as the cost factor.

It’s cheaper than a jacket but

doesn’t compromise on

quality and smartens up

a look straight away.”

Likewise, Vortex

introduced its

Vortex Designs’

Kristin cardigan provides

a cost-effective alternative

to jackets



new catalogue



suiting in three


colours of

blue, burgundy

and fern green

fitted Kristin cardigan to The Comfort Collection at the end of 2008 as a

cheaper alternative to jackets. A long-sleeved V-neck, it is made from a Nexio

viscose mix and comes in red, charcoal, navy and black.

“We were getting a lot of feedback from people saying that they didn’t

necessarily want to supply their staff with a formal jacket because they’re

worn to work and then whacked on the back of their seat for the rest of the

day,” Lucy says. “A cardigan is something that people will wear because it’s

more comfortable and can look just as smart in meetings and customerfacing

roles if it’s done correctly.”

If you can’t reinvent, revamp

Can’t afford to start from scratch? Then shirts and blouses can revamp a

uniform for a relatively low investment. While Richard says that acid colours

are back in fashion for those wanting to make an impact through their shirts

and blouses, Lucy believes that paying attention to detail can also give people

an extra edge: “Details such as cuffs, side zips and panel detailing can give

the garment more of a fashion style whilst still maintaining a very

corporate look.”

When it comes to fabrics, a durable poly/cotton mix is a safe bet that

will last wash after wash, but new innovations can give your uniform

that something extra. “A continuing fabric trend is for new yarns and

weaving techniques that give people the feel of natural fibres as well

as the comfort and easy care of synthetic fabrics,” Lucy says.

“A lot of Vortex Design styles are made from a fabric called cotton touch,

which feels like a cotton fabric but doesn’t crease anywhere near as

much because it’s a polyester yarn that’s spun and woven in a way

that makes it look like cotton.”

Russell Europe has launched a 100% cotton ultimate non-iron shirt

with different fits for men and women, which comes in black, white,

bright sky and classic pink. “It’s completely new technology, says

Emma Wood. “But it’s a tried and tested fabric that is very similar to

that used by M&S.”

Where traditional non-iron shirts tend to have a resin applied to

the top of the fabric after it’s spun to create its non-iron quality,

here, the fabric is put firstly into a bath with the non-iron

treatment. This makes the non-iron chemicals intrinsic within the

fabric from the very beginning, so that they can last up to five times

longer than a traditional resin applied to a non-iron shirt.

With stock tailoring ranges raising their game in terms of quality

and style, and shirts and blouses offering new fabrics and design

elements that can funk up a current uniform, power dressing your

staff no longer needs to be costly. But remember: a suit is only

as sharp as the person in it.

“Having grooming guidelines in place and making sure that

everyone adheres to them is also important,” Audrey says.

“People notice more if things are wrong than if they’re right.

Customers won’t take much notice if you’re well groomed but, if

you’re not, it’s one of the first things that they’ll see!” ■



Jayne Richards, corporatewear manager for Barclays, believes it takes more than

clothes to create a successful corporate image - but says commercially-savvy working

wardrobes are a great place to start

Our corporatewear offering is quite

unique at Barclays. We don’t do a

big bang approach with a complete

change every two years - it’s more of

an evolution. Only when staff are due

their next allocation will they be contacted to

select their garments from our latest roll-out,

which is available from September/October.

Staff can manage their own wardrobe by ordering

the items they prefer using a points system. They

can then add to this throughout the year from the

seasonal staff purchase ranges. There is, of

course, a framework around this. It’s expected

staff will always have a core wardrobe consisting

of a jacket, trousers and a blouse or shirt to give

them a professional look which they can pull out

of their wardrobe at any time.

We’ve got staff aged from 16 to 65 and having a

working wardrobe with multiple options caters for

their different body shapes, requirements and

personal preferences. It makes commercial sense

because the only stock we hold is for new

starters. The rest are made to order instead of left

sitting in a warehouse. We can utilise any fabric

stock or trim from less popular items by turning it

into something else, or items that are working well

from a maintenance point of view may remain and

merge into the next range.

Barclays has always taken this flexible approach.

It means that we don’t turn around to people who

have bought staff purchase garments and say

that you can no longer wear them once we rollout

our new range. When we roll-out in


we will put in an

element of staff

purchase so that

anybody who isn’t

due for their

allocation can

actually buy into the

new range and be a

part of the


In our staff purchase

ranges, we might use

the same fabric from

a standard ladies’

blouse but put a

design edge on it

that’s very now, like a

It’s about instilling pride in people

and trying to keeping the whole

project alive by staying in touch

puff sleeve. This updates it instantly without going

through the whole process of having to buy in

new fabrics.

For trousers, the wide leg turn-up is very 2009, so

we have changed the tailoring into something

that’s quite high street and makes a fashion

statement. For men, it might be the same fabric

but with a pleat on the back just to make it that

little bit different, or a new collar or cuff feature.

The staff purchase scheme is a benchmark for

what works. If some items work well, we may

merge it into the main range so that it’s part of

the allocation.

Our staff purchase ranges are first seen by staff in

our INfashion magazine. This was launched and

produced by Barclays two years ago. It’s a glossy

publication that is issued to all eligible wearers

every six months. It’s our way of reminding staff

that, although they only get a wardrobe allocation

every two years, image is a daily issue so they

should keep thinking about their look.

When a customer sees you, they are literally two

feet away. They will notice the finishing and quality

of your garments as well your make-up, hair and

jewellery. Hands, for example, are a big part of

your job if you’re using computers, phones or

filling in paperwork. This is why we write

about what the customer sees through

their eyes and feature staff having

manicures in the magazine.

We also write features on food,

which is related to keeping a

healthy mind and body, and on

which clothes fit different body

shapes the best. It’s about

educating wearers to order the

right style and fit so that our

supplier doesn’t have to deal with

thousands of returns.

We don’t try to dress our staff from

head to foot or tell them what to do

- we just give them guidelines.

When we publish photos of a

member of staff receiving a

makeover, it is an aspirational look

that we are creating, but it

demonstrates the difference a more

polished look can make even if you are

wearing the same clothes.

The articles are

interesting and fun

but they always

carry quite

sensitive and


messages, which

can make a

difference to your


Corporate image

is not just about

clothes. It’s about

instilling pride in

people and trying

to keeping the

whole project alive

by staying in touch

- not just

contacting them

every two years for their wardrobe order. ■


Each issue, we invite someone in the industry

to share their views.

Jayne Richards has been corporatewear

manager at Barclays for 12 years. Her role

involves interacting with managing agent

Incorporatewear, indicating

internal and external

research, and

managing the

financial and


side of the

business. 27


Red Hot on the Runway

This June, Virgin Atlantic Airways turns 25. To mark the anniversary, director-e joins

the airline’s head of design, Joe Ferry, for a look at how their dazzling uniforms brought

style to the skies

From the everyday greys

of the 80s, they stand

out like a shining light.

Bright red fabric flashes

through the grim airport

as men stop and stare at women

dressed in killer heels, fitted

blazers and shapely skirts. An

army of glamazons comes into

full view - all red tailoring, bouncy

hair and radiant smiles. It is the

Virgin Atlantic cabin crew, and

photographers flock to snap

these glamorous creatures as

they prepare to board their first

ever flight.

It’s no surprise that this appearance is at the heart

of Virgin Atlantic’s latest TV advert, which marks

its 25th anniversary in June. As the advert’s ‘still

red hot’ slogan implies, the stylish red uniform is a

Arabella Pollen launched Virgin Atlantic’s first

uniform incorporating a flowy silhouette with

‘80s shoulder pads

Virgin Atlantic Airways head of

design Joe Ferry

central part of the brand’s

identity. When the airline

launched in 1984, however,

the staff actually wore a grey

uniform with red jacket. But

the fashionable design

ensured that the cabin crew

stood out from other airlines

and against the economic

doom and gloom of the


Joe Ferry, head of design at

Virgin Atlantic, says: “In

every area of the industry,

Virgin tries to innovate and

challenge preconceptions. Sir Richard wanted to

employ staff who supported those values and

wanted to make a statement.

“At the time, uniforms for other airlines were quite

drab but, because it’s a very glamorous and

aspirational thing for people to just jump on a

plane and fly to New York, we wanted to design a

uniform that reflected that.”

At the start, Virgin Atlantic had one aircraft and a

small number of staff. Today, that has grown to

around 5,000 cabin crew, flight deck and ground

staff. The uniform has evolved with the company

and helped Virgin Atlantic to set itself apart from

other airlines thanks to the creativity of some of

the UK’s most prestigious fashion designers.

The spirit of the age

To stay at the cutting edge of innovation, Virgin

Atlantic has always used designers who have

been at the forefront of fashion at that time. This

means that, while their uniforms have been

forward-thinking, they’ve also come to embody

the spirit of the age.


Grey featured heavily in the first uniform

with Virgin’s signature red injected into the

shoes and jacket

Well-known fashion designer Arabella Pollen was

tasked with designing the very first uniform for

Virgin Atlantic. The result was a grey and red

tailored concept with a flowing silhouette and

shoulder pads that encapsulated the 1980s.

By the time Elizabeth Emanuel designed their

second uniform in the late 1980s, Virgin Atlantic

had established itself as a major airline in Britain.

This confidence was reflected in bold top-to-toe

red tailoring that has stayed the course ever since.

“A lot of people have glorious memories of

wearing the Elizabeth Emanuel uniform with its

red collarless jacket and gold buttons,” Joe says.

“The company was still going through a rapid

growth period and the energy levels were at an

all-time high to get us to where we are today.

“Elizabeth Emanuel also had a lot of notoriety with

designing Lady Diana’s wedding dress and so

there was a link there of fashion design and the

upper echelons of society. The fact that we were

distributing this designer’s work to all our cabin

crew made them feel very special.

“If you look at our past uniforms in today’s

context, they do look quite dated, but I think it’s

more about the spirit that they captured at the

time. The memories that they have left with us are

far more valuable.”

Growing up

In 1999, John Rocha, who had previously won

British Designer of the Year, launched a uniform

for a more grown-up Virgin Atlantic. “It was a

more sophisticated uniform than the first one,”

Staff dressed in Virgin Atlantic’s

second uniform by Elizabeth Emanuel

exude confidence in top-to-toe red

Joe adds. “It was about making our crew look

more businesslike as well as maintaining this

great red. We had gone from an orangey red to a

deeper red, which showed maturity.”

This more formal design also reflected a changing

workplace, where more women than ever before

were now CEOs in companies and working in

positions of extreme responsibility. To ensure that

the uniform continued to keep with the times, it

underwent a midlife refresh four years ago.

“We wanted to take some of the formality out

because the original was very high collared and

closed,” Joe says. “By opening up the jacket and

showing more of the shirt and scarf, we were able

to slightly relax that business look but still

maintain a very smart appearance.”


At the time, uniforms for other airlines were

quite drab but, because it’s a very glamorous and

aspirational thing for people to just jump on a plane

and fly to New York, we wanted to design a uniform

that reflected that

The maturity in the design today also stems from

the increasingly complicated brief. Where small

numbers meant that the original uniforms could

almost be bespoke, the thousands of staff

working for Virgin Atlantic today means that a few

extra pounds spent here and there on the uniform

can result in quite significant costs. The design

team have had to create a uniform that is

complementary not only to different ages but to a

broader demographic of shapes and sizes, but

Joe is far from overwhelmed.

“I think that most designers will tell you that the

greatest designs come out of the most

challenging briefs,” he says.

“Factors that will be important for the future are

designing something that people are proud to

wear and that reflects our brand values. At the 29


Double Celebrations

Turning 25 is only half the cause for

celebration at Virgin Atlantic. The airline’s

head of uniforms, Karen Sparrow, was

crowned Business Manager of the Year at

the inaugural Business Manager Awards in

April (see page 18). director-e spoke to

Karen after her win.

How does it feel to be the very first

Business Manager of the Year?

I am absolutely delighted to win such an

award. It is a real honour!

The award is quite timely with Virgin

Atlantic’s 25th anniversary coming

this June. What is it like to work for

such a renowned brand?

I have been at Virgin Atlantic for quite

some time, having originally joined in

1987. I am very proud to work for Virgin

and to have seen the airline develop over

the years. Although we have grown as an

airline, we have retained the passion and

enthusiasm in everything we do, which I

believe is a major part of our success.

What do you think distinguishes Virgin

Atlantic’s uniforms?

Our uniforms are central to our identity. We

portray a unique and professional image

with our uniforms that in turn instil

confidence to our wearers and the service

that they deliver. The red, purple and

charcoal pantones are aligned with our

brand and are still as chic and

eye-catching as they were when we


What are your goals for Virgin

Atlantic’s uniforms in the future?

To continue to be the best. Watch this


John Rocha's businesslike designs reflected a maturity in the Virgin Atlantic brand

same time, we certainly need to embrace

issues such as sustainability, whilst ensuring

practical issues such as safety and durability

and cost.”

The future

The John Rocha uniform was designed to

last for nine years including its midlife refresh.

In theory, this means that Virgin Atlantic is

due to enter another epoch of aviation attire,

but Joe remains tight lipped about


“We are always looking for innovation,” he

says. “Although we do have a time in mind

for when it would definitely have to be

upgraded, if there were opportunities before

that time, we wouldn’t rule out the launch of

a new one.”

Whatever happens in the future, one

thing is for certain: with their rich history

of daring designs and impressive CV of

fashion associations behind them, they

won’t be short of designers eager to see

their creations on the glamorous Virgin

Atlantic cabin crew. ■

The latest uniform from John Rocha

relaxes the formality of his previous

design whilst maintaining a smart look


Fighting Fire with Fire

As the ICP’s first roll-out is officially launched, director-e speaks exclusively to Lincolnshire

Fire and Rescue CFO Mike Thomas about his decision to ‘put his money where his mouth is’

Mike Thomas Chief fire officer for

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue

You may not have heard of Mike

Thomas before, but he is about to

become a familiar name in the UK

protective clothing industry: the chief

fire officer for Lincolnshire Fire and

Rescue is the first man in the history of the fire

service to put his staff in kit that will incorporate a

national identity.

The new clothing has been developed for use by

Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) across England

by the Integrated Clothing Project (ICP), the

national procurement strategy for the public

sector. It’s been a contentious subject for the UK’s

PPE industry over the last few years and has been

criticised as an unworkable scheme that will curb

innovation and reduce competition. As a result,

the industry will no doubt be watching Mike and

his firefighters closely over the coming months to

see if the ICP can deliver on its promises.

The ICP was set up to provide firefighters in

England with the best protection available as well

as creating a national identity and addressing

equality and diversity issues in the FRS. March

30th 2009 marks the official launch of the first rollout

under the ICP, which was delivered in

February to 750 firefighters at Lincolnshire Fire

and Rescue, and the project couldn’t have wished

for a better advocate than Mike Thomas. Wellrespected

in his field, he has a thorough

understanding of the ICP having been involved

from the start as a representative on the ICP

board and as a critical friend during the garment

trials, and he just so happens to be passionate

about making it a success.

Put to the test

One of the main reasons for this is because Mike

believes the ICP can offer his staff greater

protection from fires and heat stress. “There’s

some innovation in the products themselves, but

the real key for me is the testing,” he says. “We

could not have replicated the garment trials on

our own or in collaboration with one or two other

fire brigades and, as a consequence, we know

that we really have garments that are fit for


The ICP offers 140 different items of clothing for

every member of staff from operational PPE

for structural and wildland firefighting as

well as technical rescue (USAR) to

ceremonial wear, station wear and

corporate wear - all selected with a

common identity in mind. Maternity wear,

multi-faith garments, optional allergy

clothing and special clothing for those

with disabilities have also been

designed for employees at all

levels within the organisation.

Each firefighter at

Lincolnshire Fire and

Rescue will be supplied

with two sets of PPE - the

Pbi Gold structural two

piece fire suits - along

with a range of station

wear in the new red and

grey combination that has

been chosen as the

national identity for the fire

service. The contract also

specifies fleeces and

waterproofs from the ICP range.

A national identity

While the serious consideration

given to equality and diversity can

only be positive, Mike admits that,

when it comes to creating a

national identity across the 48 Fire

and Rescue Services, there have

been differences of opinion within

the FRS. “A national uniform is

uncomfortable for some people

who find that they no longer have

the freedom of choice, and the

FRS is very conservative and slow

to change,” he says.

There’s some innovation in the

products themselves but the real key

for me is the testing

“Some people have said they don’t like the colour

but they’ve never tested it so they’re making a

decision based on a simple preference rather than

looking at all the evidence that has been


Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue is the first in the

country to wear the red and grey station wear.

Firebuy, the national strategic procurement

agency tasked with delivering the ICP

procurement, says that the

new colour scheme


male and

female shirts

and trousers 31



A national uniform is uncomfortable for some

people who find that they no longer have the

freedom of choice and the FRS is very

conservative and slow to change

ICP structural firefighting PBI range

provides a Fire & Rescue Service ‘national

identity’, making staff more recognisable to the

public when they are visiting homes to carry

out fire safety checks or working within

communities on other fire safety campaigns.

Mike believes that the public are very much

behind the idea of PPE and station wear that

gives firefighters a national identity because it

means that a certain level of service and

confidence can be assumed, no matter where

the firefighter is in the country.

“Some people say that they want to have

an image that reflects their local

community, but the reality is that there

probably isn’t a single image that

reflects a local community and, even in

the FRS, if you see the size of

Lincolnshire, they don’t even talk the

same language in the top of the

county and the bottom of the county,”

he says. “By having this national

identity, it creates the opportunity to

go through a major branding

exercise and raise public

awareness and expectation.”

First in line

The best way to persuade

others is to practise what you

preach, which is exactly why

Mike decided to make

Lincolnshire the first FRS to sign

up to the ICP. “I was not only

prepared to talk about it but to put my

money where my mouth was and show

others that the products were the right

products for firefighters,” he says. Mike is

also shrewd enough to realise the other

benefits of being first in line.

Referring to the announcement made in

December 2008 that London Fire Brigade

had chosen by independent tendering Bristol

Uniforms - the ICP’s contracted service

provider - to kit out its 6,000 firefighters, he

says: “There was always a chance that Bristol

Uniforms would win the London contract and

so one part of me thought that, if I get in first,

our kit will be made before London’s project

bites,” he says. “Anyone joining it now will

be behind them and that will naturally

create delays in delivery of the PPE,

although it will probably encourage

others to come onboard, too.”

Firebuy has told director-e that it is confident

that Bristol Uniforms can deliver on current

and future contracts. In a statement, it

announced: “Within the ICP bid, the requirement

was for one service provider to supply a national

contract. If London Fire Brigade has chosen

Bristol Uniforms to supply its PPE, it won’t affect

Firebuy’s ability to deliver future ICP contracts via

the same supplier.”

Bristol Uniforms, meanwhile, says that it has

already increased its manufacturing capacity to


We’ve gone for the Pbi Gold fabric offered by

the ICP because we believe that it offers the best

flexibility and the highest level of protection for

our firefighters

take into account future business,

both from London Fire Brigade and

ICP brigades by investing in new UK

warehousing, increased fabric and

materials storage and further

accredited sewing facilities. The

London contract will also be serviced

through a new Bristol Service Centre in


Given the option

Although the ICP is not mandatory,

FRSs are expected to buy their kit

from the ICP unless they can

come up with a good reason not

to. Regarding London Fire

Brigade’s decision to go outside

the ICP, Bristol Uniforms told

director-e: “London Fire Brigade

had contracts which it needed

to renew or extend before the

ICP was complete and was

granted the freedom to do this

by the then ODPM. This

flexibility has been maintained

allowing LFB to tender


“As all PPE supplied across

the country is required to

meet European standards,

the performance of ICP and

non-ICP PPE will be the

same. The major

differences will be the

access to a comprehensive

range of clothing, all forming

part of a new national identity

and supplied under a

centrally-negotiated contract.

This contract provides

significant savings in time and

resources where procurement

takes place through the ICP

avoiding separate trialling and

testing of garments and

commercial negotiations.”

Mike says that the decision over

whether to opt in or out of the

ICP will sometimes come down

to the different protection

available. “We’ve gone for the

Pbi Gold fabric offered by the

ICP because we believe that it

offers the best flexibility and

the highest level of

protection for our

firefighters,” he

says, “whereas

London Fire

Brigade has

Stationwear: fleece

decided that they want a different level

of protection that isn’t available

through the ICP contract.”

The other part of the ICP - the

provision of managed services - is

also optional. These are available

mainly for PPE and can be accessed

as part of either a Purchase with

Managed Service contract (PMS)

or Fully Managed Service (FMS),

which includes a lease contract

option. Lincolnshire Fire and

Rescue has chosen Purchase

Only (PO), where they will

purchase the kit from Bristol

Uniforms but use third

party Images At Work to

store, deliver and care

for it. This has

enabled Lincolnshire

FRS to maintain its

relationship with

Fenland Laundries in

Skegness, who have

provided the

maintenance of their fire

kit for some years.

The future

So, with Lincolnshire still

the only FRS to sign up to

the ICP so far, where will

the project go from here?

Bristol Uniforms says that a

number of other fire services

are already at an advanced

stage in moving to sign

contracts through the ICP and

that these will be announced in

the coming weeks.

“I think now’s the time for people

to step up and sign up and move

on,” Mike says. “Whilst the

reviews have been fairly mixed, I

think that a majority of people like

the image and style, and the

quality of the product means that

here we have something that the

firefighters themselves can feel

fairly proud in.

“My team feel valued because

they are getting something that is

designed for their needs and with

their role in mind. I just hope my

colleagues see the benefits of it

and ensure that it’s a viable

product for the future. By being a

vanguard, others will realise that

Lincolnshire can do it, so why

can’t they?” ■

Stationwear: waterproof 33



Feet First

Protection is central to safety footwear but that doesn’t mean

wearers can’t step out in style. Catherine Christie reports on

the influence of fashion in the safety footwear market

There was a time when the ‘one shoe

fits all’ mentality applied to safety

footwear. But today, as health and

safety laws have grown more complex,

new technologies mean there has never

been more choice for the wearer in terms of

performance, design and style.

It goes without saying that, in the safety footwear

market, the decision making process has to focus

on protection from workplace hazards. As laws

continue to be tightened and revised and wearers

become even more demanding, the safety-first

policy will only take on more and more


Yet, as the workwear sector is finding out, today’s

younger workers are more fashion-conscious and

brand-aware. More women are in the workplace

than ever before and all this is driving the demand

for attractive working garments.

Simon Ash from Dr. Martens believes the same

attitudes apply to protective footwear. “People’s

expectations are higher than 50 years ago,” he

says. “The new generation of people at work

today have grown up wearing trainers.

Crocs’ Batali Edition Bistro, in eyecatching

orange, has been produced

in conjunction with the famous

American chef Mario Batali. It

features the same properties as the

Bistro slip-resistant clog with the

added bonus of Mario’s signature on

the back strap

They’re used to wearing comfortable shoes

and want that same comfort and style to

translate over to their work footwear.”

CAT Footwear’s Paul Bowkett

adds: “Wearers are looking for welldesigned

products that they can

wear for work and off-hours.

Criteria such as design,

colour, brand image

and logos are


important in

their protective



The high

street gets


Slip resistance is one area in safety footwear that

is attracting increasing attention, with employers

in heavy industry, light industry and services keen

to reduce the risk of expensive injury claims and

absenteeism due to accidents.

SKECHERS’ new non-slip

footwear range is a hybrid

of fashion and function

In key

markets such

as catering

and healthcare,

there is scope to

design non-slip shoes

that are lighter and more

distinctive in colour and design

than the traditional boot worn for physical

labour-intensive industries. High street brands are

arriving on the safety footwear scene to take


SKECHERS entered the UK safety footwear

market this year with six non-slip, safety shoe

styles for men and women that reflect their

lifestyle ranges. Available in lace-ups as

well as eye-catching clogs and Mary

Janes, the shoes have slipresistant

outsoles to protect

those at risk from slip hazards.

“Work footwear consumers

want styles that are take

downs of


shoes,” Brett

Worth from SKECHERS

says. “SKECHERS work

line offers those in the

service industries the

technical aspects

required for an on-thejob

shoe but with the

same style and comfort of

a lifestyle shoe. It is the

perfect hybrid of fashion and


Another high street brand to cross

over into protective footwear is

Crocs. Although known for its colourful

clogs, the company says that comfort

rather than style was behind this

transition. “The DNA of Crocs is the

lightness, the width and the foot shape

of the shoe,” the company’s Ian

Broomhall says.


“Many nurses started wearing our high street

ranges to work because they were the

most comfortable shoes they had.

Understandably, some of the fashion

designs were not necessarily suitable for

the environment in which they worked.”

This led to Crocs fashion footwear being

banned from hospitals in 2007.

In response, they developed and

launched fit-for-purpose footwear for

those working in healthcare in October

2008. “Specialist is a closed-fronted

clog that protects the foot from blood

spatter and fluid spills,” Ian says. “The

upper is thicker to prevent accidental cuts

from dropped scalpels and syringes, and a

heel cup prevents slipping.”

Crocs have also moved into catering with its

Bistro range. With a closed shoe for protection,

this time the non-slip benefit is achieved through

the specially developed Crocs lock soles. But

slip-resistance appears to be just the beginning

for Crocs. An ESD or anti-static (electrostaticdischarge)

range was added to their offering in

April and they are looking to introduce a protective

boot for 2010.

Functionality might be at the heart of the range

but the originality of the Crocs style makes it an

integral part of their brand identity. As well as the

clog, other high street styles have been

incorporated into the Bistro range including a

lace-up shoe for men and, for women, a Velcrofastened

Mary Jane and a stylish wedge-shaped


Pioneers of style

With retail sales affected by the credit crunch, it is

reasonable to wonder whether any more high

street footwear brands will be tempted to dip their

toes into the safety footwear market where

footwear is a legal requirement rather than a


But Ian doesn’t believe that we will see an influx of


street brands.

“Brands entering safety

footwear are not as prevalent as

one would imagine,” he says. “R & D

investments in investigating the needs of the

product, design and testing for the sector are


Timberland PRO, which offers a comprehensive

range of professional footwear, was born out of

the high street brand Timberland in 1999. Susan

Peverelli, from the brand’s distributors Sperian

Protection, says: “Many fashion or well-known

sports brands have attempted to launch safety

shoes but few have succeeded. The market

demands strong product conception, product

expertise, standards compliance and

manufacturing know-how.”

Traditionally, the biggest influence on bringing style

into protective footwear has been workwear

brands that have since become global lifestyle

brands. Taking style seriously as part their drive to

deliver a premium product on all fronts has

enabled brands such as Dr. Martens, CAT and

Dickies to find mass appeal with the fashionconscious

on the high street as well as in industry

and services.

The new Tuba Super Safety Shoe S1-P from

Dickies is a lightweight and stylish shoe which

features a Nubeck leather upper, strengthened

composite toe cap, non-metallic, anti-penetration

midsole and comfortable padded collar and tongue 35


Dr. Marten’s Sneak ST has been designed

for the younger and more athletically

minded consumer. It also achieves the

SRC slip resistance rating in

accordance to European test

standards written into EN ISO

20344:2004 (A1: 2007)



footwear range sits alongside

its impressive workwear collection. “Brands create

the benchmarks for manufacturers to provide

better products,” Maurice Morton from Dickies

says. “They are always reaching out for the unique

selling and feature benefits to keep ahead of the

competition.Brands will always be innovative to

create the demand by the consumer for their

products and their brand’s personality.”

Consumers of brands expect the best in

protection, comfort, durability, style and

innovation. Kudos comes out of knowing you are

wearing the best and fashion is an integral part of

this brand culture.

“There’s definitely more brand awareness in the

market now,” Paul Lyons from leading safety

clothing and equipment supplier Arco says.

“There was a time when safety footwear was a

pair of wellies but, since the 1980s, it’s really

grown apace. People want to be seen wearing

socially-acceptable styles at work and down

the pub.”

The growth of women in the UK workforce has

also helped to fuel the growing emphasis on style

in safety footwear. Casual female footwear is a

lucrative market and many brands are realising

that there’s no reason a woman’s footwear fetish

shouldn’t extend to the workplace. Timberland

PRO is one of these, launching its first trainer for

women working in warehouses and logistics

earlier this year.

“This is our first trainer which isn’t just a man’s

trainer in a ladies size,” Susan adds. “It has all the

features that you would need to protect in the

workplace but the design and fit have been

specifically developed for women because the

market demand is there.”

Inspiration for fashion

Fashion influences work both ways, however, with

the high street no stranger to borrowing ideas

from industry. CAT Footwear grew out of the

CATERPILLAR brand 16 years ago to offer a

broad range of safety footwear with the same

tough, rugged and dependable values of the

iconic yellow earth-moving machines. “In the last


Footwear from JAL

Group’s new Trucker Vibram range

15 years, there have been a number of fashion

crazes on the high street that have synergised

with the CAT brand,” CAT footwear’s Paul

Bowkett says. “For example, boots are back in

fashion for women after a stint of wearing nontechnical,

flat shoes.”

The Dr. Martens brand was changed significantly

when subcultures in the 1960s and 1970s helped

elevate it to a counter-culture icon. Simon Ash

from Dr. Martens says: “It started out as a work

boot and then got adopted by skinheads, mods,

rockers and punks etc. Today, safety footwear in

the UK is still about half of our business, but the

fashion side is what everybody sees.”

These associations with fashion and attitude are

now firmly ingrained in the classic black boot with

yellow stitching, and it remains one of Dr. Martens’

bestsellers in both its lifestyle and work ranges.

“People still like the original styles and that’s been

part of the resurgence of the brand,” he adds.

“We want to improve the footwear in terms of

comfort and performance but keep the external

look the same as that’s what people know and


This trust and brand loyalty has led Dr. Martens to

launch a workwear range to complement its

yellow and black footwear. The trend for brands to

develop ‘top-to-toe matching outfits’ for the

workplace is consequently bringing safety

footwear closer to the increasingly fashion

conscious workwear market.

Timberland PRO is one brand that conceives its

footwear and workwear with each in mind. Susan

says: “The footwear is designed very much in line

with the clothing range, and they have been

planned to be worn together. For example, we

design our trousers to suit the top of the footwear

so it fits well and the design flows.”

Purchasing power

It’s not just global lifestyle brands that are

recognising the power of style and the high street

to help shape and influence people’s

purchasing decisions. Stuart Thorne from

JAL Group, whose Aimont Trucker and

Jallatte brands are brand leaders in the

industrial footwear market, says:

“There is no doubt that

fashion and branding

are playing an


important role in

safety footwear.




influence is


to grow

in the

sector as

manufacturers create products that not only meet

all of the physical and slip and trip hazards that

are encountered in the workplace but also look

like their high street counterparts.

“Essentially, people increasingly want to look good

at work and manufacturers have to reflect this in

the products they supply.” JAL Group has tried to

capitalise on this by incorporating what it believes

are recognisable high street brands into its


A joint initiative with outdoor performance sports

footwear brand Vibram has resulted in the new

Trucker Vibram range

and the high

performance of

GORE-TEX ® has

been utilised in a

new Jallatte range.

“It is not just brand

for brand sake,

there is a

physical benefit

from this


Stuart says.




Goliath, though,

believes its niche lies

in targeting those who prize

functionality and price over style. “The

brands concentrate more on fashion and

on the look, whereas our priority is the

technology, and looking at the application of

where it’s going to be,” Abigail Steele says. “This

enables our boots to sometimes be as much as

half the price of a branded boot of the same


The price of fashion

With this in mind, will style remain a luxury that

only the premium products and brands can offer?

Not necessarily, according to Paul from Arco

which offers a complete range of branded

footwear as well as its own: “The brands tend to

reach the market first with the majority innovations

and gain a status for their product, but if the

market demands it then these gradually filter

down and become the norm in products in the


However, this market demand will depend on who

is buying it and what their priorities are. “If you are

a safety officer in charge of kitting out thousands

of people in footwear on a tight budget then your

focus is most likely to be protection and comfort,”

Paul says. “If, on the other hand, you’re an

employee who is sent by your company to buy

footwear, you might aspire to a brand name that

gives a bit of kudos but which is also an excellent


The benefit of creating stylish and comfortable

footwear is that wearer compliance levels will likely

be extremely high. After all, safety footwear can

only protect the wearer if it is worn in the first

place. If you can afford it, it seems that style is

definitely a step in the right direction. ■

Timberland PRO’s Ladies

Trainer S1P is the

company’s first trainer

designed specifically

for women

Many fashion or well-known sports brands have attempted to launch safety

shoes but few have succeeded. The market demands strong product

conception, product expertise, standards compliance and manufacturing



Shaping The Industry

Rebecca Bryant looks at the influence of fashion designers on the working

garment industry

When you think of Bruce Oldfield,

Jeff Banks, Paul Costelloe,

Elizabeth Emanuel and Christian

LaCroix, it is catwalk shows,

haute couture and beautiful

bridalwear that spring to mind. So what attracted

some of the best in the fashion business to swap

their exclusive designer creations for corporate

uniforms for companies such as McDonalds,

Barclays Bank and SNCF?

Jeff Banks, the man behind high-street retailer

Warehouse and face of the hit TV programme The

Clothes Show, moved into corporatewear 15

years ago because he had ‘the intention of

bringing a bit of sparkle to corporate clothing’. For

Jeff, this meant getting involved in corporatewear

and helping to set up company Incorporatewear.

“He felt that uniforms were seen as being just nuts

and bolts – people didn’t think uniforms could be

fashionable,” Andy Norris from Incorporatewear

says. “Jeff wanted to change that and he brought

a sense of style and wearability to corporatewear

that hadn’t been previously explored.”

Now the fourth largest company in the UK

producing corporate clothing, Incorporatewear

has created uniforms for everyone from the

Brownies to Stagecoach.

While Jeff Banks amongst others have helped to

change our perceptions of corporatewear on UK

soil, fashion has always been at the forefront of Air

France’s uniform. From Christian Dior to Cristobal

Balenciaga and Nina Ricci to André Courrèges,

some of fashion’s greatest legends have designed

Air France uniforms in the past 50 years. It came

as no surprise, therefore, that in 2005, grand

couturier and haute couture’s darling, Christian

LaCroix, was asked to continue the Air France

tradition and combine the functional with the


In their pursuit of transforming functional staff

uniform into wearable, fashionable corporatewear,

designers have captured a sizeable market. In

2007, the corporate clothing market was worth

approximately £446m and accounted for 4% of

the total of all clothing purchased in the UK. Add

to this the fact that around 30% of the UK’s

working population - which amounts to just under

11 million people - wear some form of clothing

provided by their employer and you can see why

uniforms have proved to be an attractive prospect

for designers.

By using their expertise to create wearable

corporatewear that is comfortable, fashionable

and practical, renowned fashion designers have

also helped to raise client awareness and

expectation. “Organisations have realised the

value of corporate clothing to brand image,” Andy

from Incorporatewear adds. “A staff member who

is dressed well and comfortably can have as big

an impact on the customer as any point of sale

advertising or expensive marketing campaign.”

Not only does a well-designed uniform have an

effect on the customer but staff also feel proud to

wear it. In the same way that a shirt and tie

boosts a businessman’s confidence in the

boardroom, a stylish uniform and creation of a

professional corporate identity makes staff feel

part and parcel of a larger organisation.

It’s not all about being suited and booted,

however. The Brownie uniform, for example, first

introduced T-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts,

sweatpants in brown and yellow colours back in

1990, when Jeff Banks redesigned the entire

uniform. Back in 2002, fashion designer to the

stars Ally Capellino added to this collection of mixand-match

pieces with hooded jackets, boot-cut

leggings, gilets, T-shirts and skorts (shorts with a

flat front like a skirt). Robert Panting of the

Girlguiding Association says this casual element

‘demonstrates Girlguiding UK’s aim of remaining

relevant to today’s girls - our uniforms are

affordable and trendy’.

It’s not always as easy to innovate and startle

expectations in the corporate sector, though, 37


where cost is an important factor. But as Bruce

Oldfield, known for dressing ladies who lunch,

explained, it’s all about meeting in the middle and

creating a stylish, practical and yet affordable

piece of workwear.

The corporatewear buyers and wearers are,

according to Andy, ‘becoming even more

discerning’. Their expectations have increased

and ‘they want all the style of the high street

combined with the practicality of well designed

corporate clothing’.

According to Incorporatewear: “There is still a

drive towards a more sustainable future for

corporatewear, both in fabric production and

manufacturing despite the economic downturn.

Buyers tasked with sourcing sustainable products

are increasingly seeing clothing as a viable route

towards their environmental goals.”

In effect, corporatewear has come a long way in a

short time. Those designers who keep on pushing

boundaries and creating wearable and stylish

garments that promote the company’s values will

continue to play an important role in the industry

for the foreseeable future. ■

Guide, Rainbow and Brownie uniforms are given the designer touch


Wear and Share

Sophie Howes, director of Tomato Source

The words ‘promotional clothing’ usually

conjure up images of T-shirts, hoodies,

fleeces, caps and casual trousers, but

any clothing that is created in a

company’s colours or that bears the

company logo could be considered to be

promoting the brand and therefore a part of the

marketing mix.

However, the reality is that promotional clothing

(worn for events or used as giveaways) is usually

sourced by the marketing department, whilst

corporate clothing and workwear are sourced by

a specialist clothing buyer. For advice on the

former - promotional clothing in its purest sense -

promotional sourcing expert Sophie Howes is

your woman.

Sophie founded award-winning specialist

sourcing company Tomato Source Ltd two years

ago with her co-director Emma Beeson, both

having worked for mainstream marketing

agencies supporting major consumer brands.

Promotional clothing,

whether retail uniforms,

outfits for field event

staff or branded

clothing that ultimately

ends up in the hands

of consumers, plays a

significant role in the

promotion of a brand

Sophie Howes, founder of promotional sourcing

company Tomato Source, discusses the power of

promotional clothing in building brand awareness

Sophie says: “We wanted to establish a company

with a difference, one where basic marketing

principles were used to research the target

audience and understand the brand and its

message before a promotional product was

chosen. Details such as budget, logistics, leadtime

and the brand’s eco credentials are also

essential considerations and these principles

apply as much to clothing as to any other

promotional product.

“Promotional clothing, whether retail uniforms,

outfits for field event staff or branded clothing that

ultimately ends up in the hands of consumers,

plays a significant role in the promotion of a

brand. So if you are sourcing clothing to support a

brand, it must echo the perception of that brand

and align with the way the brand has been

communicated through other media channels.

“As well as brand endorsement, promotional

clothing provides staff with a sense of belonging

and engenders team spirit as well as

differentiating staff from customers. With such a

large branding area, clothing also delivers the

opportunity to communicate more than the

corporate/brand name.

“For instance, in a retail scenario, the clothing can

carry the shop’s branding, but also a message

about a forthcoming promotion or a new

product range. Retailers are using staff as

walking billboards. In an event scenario,

promotional clothing helps to create

added theatre to any activity and

replicas of the clothing worn by the

staff can be given to guests as a

memento of that event.

“Where branded clothing is given or

sold to consumers, it provides them

with a sense of belonging and allows

them to become brand

ambassadors. It also shows their

lifestyle aspirations, whether that

be fast cars, expensive

timepieces, exotic holidays or

sporting activity. From the

brand’s point of view, it offers the

opportunity to transport the brand

message into any number of

geographical areas and social


Promotional products such as the 'Bio

Poncho' tick the functionality and eco

friendly boxes

“Whether the clothing is to be worn by staff or

customers, it must be ‘fit for purpose’. For staff,

that means it must be comfortable, durable

enough to withstand everyday wear, easily

launderable and able to sustain its colour and

branding. In staff situations, it must be available in

a wide range of sizes to avoid the expensive

creation of ‘special sizes’, and it must bow to

fashion in the broadest sense – although what’s

fashion for a 16-year-old may not be comfortable

for an older member of staff, so a choice of styles

within the clothing collection is advisable for

situations where the wearer profile is diverse.

“Clothing to be sold or given to consumers to

support a brand can be more fashion-focused,



but again a ‘fashion’ that suits the brand. A hoodie to support a new

surfing shop would have a totally different fashion focus to a fleece to

support a traditional whisky brand.

“And don’t limit yourself to textile clothing, at Tomato Source we have

developed the Bio Poncho, which is perfect for outdoor events in the

UK, when you just never know if it’s going to rain. Bio Poncho

provides excellent branding opportunities on the wide printable area.

It’s also made of 100% organic matter, is 100% biodegradable and

100% compostable, so it ticks the functionality and eco friendly

boxes too.

”For everyday textiles, there is an increased demand to look at

alternative base materials such as bamboo. An alternative to cotton

and the cotton mixes that are currently available, bamboo also allows

for the environmental box to be ticked.

“Promotional clothing will remain a strong part of the marketing mix

as it does deliver significant benefits and provides additional exposure

to a brand. As for the product itself, I’m sure that the demand for

environmentally-friendly, ethically-sourced raw materials and ethicallyproduced

garments will continue to rise.

“However, whether you are talking promotional gadgets or

promotional clothing, the battle for product style versus cost will

remain a challenge for all of us.” ■


The Earth Positive range from Continental Clothing is

aimed at consumers looking for environmentally-friendly

and ethically-sourced garments 39

For more:

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