The city council in the UK city of Leicester, a major garment hub serving Boohoo and others, welcomed the creation of a new textiles and apparel manufacturers’ federation.
The newly formed Apparel & Textile Manufacturers Federation (ATMF) formally launched July 18 at the Houses of Parliament. It was created to help revive the historical trade of textile and garment manufacturing in Leicester, and with the aim of building a more ethical and sustainable textiles sector.
Acting as a voice for suppliers to the industry, the ATMF aims to support the garment supply chain with compliance, auditing and the safeguarding of jobs through collaborative partnerships.
“We are delighted that the UK government is recognizing our efforts in Leicester and further afield to support textile and apparel manufacturers,” Sajjad Khan, founder of ATMF, said. “It is a great honor to have been given the opportunity to launch the Federation at the House of Commons and this only adds to the gravitas of our mission.”
“We already have the backing of a large number of businesses from across the supply chain so we know there is a very real need to create a strong supplier voice,” Khan added. “We have also drawn support locally from senior level organizations, including Leicester City Council, De Montfort University and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership. The ATMF aims to promote ‘Brand Leicester’ within the ‘Made in UK’ umbrella.”
Shehzad Valli, a member of ATMF and a Leicester garment manufacturer, said the launch of the ATMF marks a significant milestone in the revitalization of the city’s textiles sector.
“We want the city to be at the forefront of national gains for the industry and we’re determined to make that happen,” Valli said. “We are now calling on the UK government, national and international bodies, and major brands to support our efforts.”
The City Council noted that Leicester deputy city mayor Adam Clarke has led on innovative work to bring partners together in the city to help tackle problems in the garment industry. This has included setting up the Leicester Labor Market Partnership after a meeting instigated by the city mayor in 2017, the publication of an annual report to document progress and investing $300,000 ($360,000) in a new fashion technology academy, run by Fashion-Enter to increase skills and best practice.
With funding from the UK Community Renewal Fund, the city council and partners Fashion-Enter and De Montfort University have also been delivering a coordinated support program for textile manufacturers and local workers.
“The mobilizing of manufacturers as a meaningful voice for the textiles sector has been an aspiration for some time and is a huge step forward,” Clarke added. “I congratulate all those involved for stepping up and showing such leadership, particularly during these challenging times. Leicester’s strong heritage in garment manufacturing puts the city in a great position to lead a resurgence in the industry, but this can only be done ethically by working together. This innovative new federation is a vital building block as we embed Leicester as a place offering well-paid, highly skilled jobs, producing amazing garments in quality working environments.”
ATMF was formed with the help of worker rights’ charity Justice in Fashion. It will act as a national trade body representing the collective commercial, legal and ethical interests of its members. ATMF will also work with businesses, NGOs, government, academic, and worker groups to build the pathway for re-establishing Leicester as a safe and ethical global manufacturing hub.