30: News 34: One name covers it all The latest developments from Stevensons, an independent, family owned supplier of school uniform and sportswear 38: The tool for Back to School A look at Orkid Ideasâ€™ debut product, the TomTag, a personalised check list for children to plan their school day 41: The Schoolwear Show preview Highlights of what will be on offer at this yearâ€™s event 52: Fabric of change Why P&R Fabrics is upping its profile in the schoolwear sector
Ann-Maree Morrison, founder of Scottish company Labels4Kids, has been awarded Nectar Business Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 by a panel of judges including Karren Brady (pictured right) of BBC1â€™s The Apprentice.
ď€“ď€‹ď€‰ď€?ď€€ď€•ď€‘ď€€ď€”ď€?ď€€ď€ˆď€”ď€…ď€”ď€€ď€‚ď€Œď€€ ď€“ď€ƒď€?ď€”ď€ƒď€€ď€’ď€•ď€? The Fashion & Textile Childrenâ€™s Trust (FTCT), the chosen charity of The Schoolwear Show, is hosting a 5K Santa Run to raise funds to provide grants for disadvantaged children whose parents or carers work in the fashion and textile sector.
Morrison won the award for her investment in global expansion, with a new website platform rolling out to eight countries in the near future, selling the companyâ€™s personalised labels for use on childrenâ€™s school uniform, shoes and accessories.
FTCT is seeking runners of all abilities to participate in the fundraising event, which takes place on 8 December in Londonâ€™s Victoria Park. To secure a place and receive a fundraising pack by post email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ď€”ď€‹ď€†ď€˜ď€€ď€‘ď€ƒď€’ď€”ď€?ď€‡ď€’ď€“ď€Šď€‹ď€‘ď€€ď€ˆď€?ď€’ď€€ ď€†ď€ƒď€–ď€‹ď€†ď€€ď€?ď€•ď€Œď€‡ ď€‹ď€”ď€™ď€“ď€€ď€“ď€Šď€?ď€— ď€”ď€‹ď€Žď€‡ď€€ The biggest event in the schoolwear industry calendar is soon to take place, with The Schoolwear Show at Cranmore Park, Solihull, running on 13-15 October 2013. Highlights include 12 new exhibitors, a new coffee lounge exclusively for Schoolwear Association members, and a free lunch and free on-site parking for all visitors. Visitors must pre-register for free entry to the show. Tickets are still available to purchase for the annual Schoolwear Association fundraising evening, which takes place during the show on Sunday 13 October at Coombe Abbey Hotel, Warwickshire. For SA ticket enquiries visit schoolwearassociation.co.uk, and for further information on the show visit theschoolwearshow.co.uk.
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David Luke has become an official partner of the charity Keep Britain Tidyâ€™s Eco Schools programme in England. Eco Schools is an international awards programme, to which around 17,500 schools are signed up. In England, the programme is run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, who guides schools on becoming sustainable. As a partner, David Lukeâ€™s involvement will include highlighting the production process of its rapidly expanding Eco Uniform, the fabric of which is made from recycled plastic bottles. â€œWe first developed Eco Blazers and Jackets almost four years ago but, for 2014, we will also have trousers, skirts, sweatshirts and polos,â€? says David Lukeâ€™s MD, David Burgess. â€œThere has to be a realisation that low prices are not going to deliver long-term benefits and that sustainability, and using our resources wisely, will bring far greater rewards.â€?
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Morrison received ÂŁ2,000 cash and 50,000 Nectar points, as well as business advice directly from Karren Brady at the Nectar Business Round Table event, which formed part of the awards ceremony on 4 September.
ď€“ď€”ď€ƒď€„ď€‹ď€?ď€?ď€€ď€?ď€ˆď€ˆď€‡ď€’ď€“ď€€ď€ƒď€€ď€Šď€‡ď€?ď€‘ď€‹ď€?ď€‰ď€€ ď€Šď€ƒď€?ď€†ď€€ď€ˆď€?ď€’ď€€ď€—ď€’ď€‹ď€”ď€‹ď€?ď€‰ď€€ Stationery brand Stabilo has launched the Stabilo Early Writers Programme to help children develop their writing skills. Available at www.stabilo.co.uk/teach as a free download, the pack includes comprehensive guidance notes for teachers and parents, fun nursery rhyme stimulus for children, hands-on activity sheets, and web-based tools to create personalised activity sheets. Retailers can view the latest Stabilo range at this yearâ€™s Schoolwear Show.
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Peré Performance Wear is a new UK children’s specific technical sportswear brand developed for ages five to 12 years. Available wholesale, the collection comprises Running, Triathlon and Cycling ranges, with garments including short and long sleeve tops, running and cycling shorts, rain jackets, winter tights and triathlon suits. Technical fabrics include a superlight breathable shell fabric, which is water-resistant but allows vapour to pass out for active sports. A technical two-layer system for outerwear featuring a thermal fleece back that traps air to provide warmth, which is breathable, windresistant and water-repellent is also available.
A survey of 1,800 teachers and parents commissioned by The Schoolwear Association (SA) has revealed Britain’s naughtiest schoolchild name is Jack, he answers back, refuses to do work and, poignantly, doesn’t wear a school uniform. According to behavioural psychologist and former student teacher Jo Hemmings, a good looking, hard-wearing and well-fitting school uniform can have a significant impact on a child’s happiness and subsequent behaviour. “Wearing a badged uniform gives a child a sense of pride and community, and helps promote positive well-being,” says Hemmings. “A badly fitting or tatty uniform means children stand out from their peer group and can make them feel embarrassed or uncomfortable, and a likelier target for teasing and bullying. So it’s important to keep the uniform in good order, and choose uniform that fits a child well, is comfortable to wear and is of good quality.”
Gloucestershire business The Schoolwear Company is launching a new online platform to allow schools and parents to order standard and bespoke branded school uniforms. Designed to free-up both parents’ and schools’ time, theschoolwearcompany.co.uk provides participating schools with their own online school uniform shop, with all orders placed, handled, processed and delivered by The Schoolwear Company. Parents can shop online, anytime, for any size uniform, with additional services such as free iron-in name tags and a professional alteration and repair service also provided.
The National Weaving Company has made a number of investments into its name tape business as a pledge of commitment to its customers. Established in 1987, the second generation family business has extensively refurbished its manufacturing premises in Wales to accommodate a range of new looms, which has subsequently prompted a rebranding of the entire company to reinforce its status as a UK manufacturer. A new website planned for 2014 will incorporate the new branding, together with a “trade-only” area for retailers to place orders online.
A new Trutex school uniform shop has opened in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. Using the Trutex brand under licence for the store name Trutex Schoolwear and More, the shop is owned by local businessman Paul Quick, who has a number of other schoolwear shops in North and West Yorkshire, including Skipton and Brighouse. “We service 14 schools from Brighouse, but we are looking to expand, which is why we moved into Ilkley,” says Quick. “I had originally thought about expanding into Leeds, but when a shop in Ilkley came up, it was too good a chance to miss. We currently supply 34 schools from Ilkley and Skipton and wanted to build on this.”
Department store John Lewis has launched a new practical skills programme for primary school children called Bringing Skills to Life. The programme follows a survey of 1,045 parents of children aged 16 or younger carried out by YouGov on behalf of the retailer, which revealed the majority of parents feel it is important for children to learn creative and practical skills. John Lewis aims to work with more than 1,000 primary schools in its first year via its curriculum-aligned programme. Written by educational experts, it includes lesson plans for teachers, and workshop and activity cards that can also be used by parents and volunteers. A dedicated website, www.johnlewis.com/skillsforlife, supports the scheme.
New for 2014 – available from stock NOW. Come and see our extensive range of school bags at the Schoolwear Show.
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Smiths was family run but had suffered with lack of investment, and the latest generation of the family were not keen to carry the business forward. In 2009, we purchased our first warehouse with offices circa 6,000 sq ft but, by 2011, we had outgrown it. In late 2011, we found our next warehouse located nearby in St Albans, which we purchased freehold, offering warehouse storage of 11,000 sq ft, office space of 5,000 sq ft and the added advantage of an adjacent unit that could provide another 8,000 sq ft if required. In late 2012, we completed on the purchase of three other schoolwear businesses â€“ Schoolwear Oxford, Barretts of Bournemouth and Rickards in Bournemouth. The Rickards business was small and, as planned, we closed the store and transferred the trade into the Barretts store. Currently, we are fitting out a new shop that we are opening in Reading, where we will be taking over supply of the schools presently supplied by independent retailerJacksons of Reading, which is closing at the end of the year. LT: How many stores does the business currently have?
MS: Five, including the Reading store, which opens in November 2013. However, we are currently talking to a number of companies who are looking at their exit strategies, so we do plan to acquire more shops soon. LT: What do the stores offer in terms of product scope? MS: Where we have space, we try to offer the complete one-stop-shop to kit out a child ready for school, incorporating stationery, bags, shoes, sports equipment, scouts and guides and, in some of our on-campus shops, we even offer ice creams! LT: You are a multichannel retailer – what routes do you sell through and how do sales compare between those channels? MS: The retail shops account for 52 per cent of sales, and on-campus shops 15 per cent. The transactional website – which launched in spring 2010 – accounts for 17 per cent; pop-up shops 10 per cent, wholesale three per cent; and three per cent via our order hotline service. LT: Are pop-up shops an important part of the business? MS: Pop-up shops – or school selling events – are a big part of the business and something we do on a large scale with a dedicated team and manager overseeing it. We go to some schools we work with up and down the country, anything from one to five times in a year, and set up a shop there. A school selling event can last anywhere from two to eight hours depending on demand, and we probably carry out around 250 of these events
a year – utilising around 30 members of staff on the busiest days. During peak times, we can do up to five events in one day. LT: As well as retailing, Stevensons also wholesales – how integral is this to the overall business? MS: We don’t encourage or seek wholesale business, as schools are often disorganised and slow to place orders. Schools have a job to educate and shouldn’t be encoraged to become retailers. We do support schools we stock retail with sports tour kits, leavers’ hoodies and so on, but it is the pure wholesale business we are not keen to pursue. We deal with around 140 suppliers and supply uniform to 300 schools. These are where we are doing the full uniform and/or PE kit; schools where we just do an odd item for we do not count. LT: How will Stevensons’ new warehouse and head office will help the business going forward? MS: We believe there is no other schoolwear retailer in the trade that has a distribution centre and head office like ours. We plan to centralise all calls into the business through our customer service department next year so no calls will go direct to store. This, we believe, will mean we can monitor the service and waiting time people experience to make sure we are offering the best service we can. LT: What size workforce does Stevensons have behind it? MS: Currently, we employ around 110 people: 65 in retail; 10 in warehouse and logistics; five in accounts; seven buyers; 10 customer services staff; five in IT and marketing; and eight in sales and head office management. LT: Have you found any recent changes to customer buying habits? MS: Not really, apart from via online, which we anticipate will eventually flatline at around 20 per cent of our business. You must bear in mind we cater for schools all over the country, and they obviously have a much higher percentage of sales through the website. Where we cater for schools within a five-mile
radius of a retail shop, and where we have on-campus school shops, the percentage of sales done online is less than five per cent. LT: How do you view the current state of the schoolwear sector? MS: I am very concerned about the fragility of our supply chain and the longevity of some of our suppliers. This coupled with the large number of retailers who are just not investing in their business does seem to indicate that the strong will get stronger and the weak will disappear. However, with our expansion plans and that of other well-financed companies, it does mean that the overall school uniform experience for schools and parents will continue to improve. LT: What are the long-term plans for Stevensons? MS: We will continue to expand, concentrating on the south of the country, with 12 stores and revenues of £20m projected by 2020. At the end of this year, we will also be rebranding all of our shops to trade under the Stevensons banner. When we acquired Len Smiths in 2008, for instance, we kept its trading under Len Smiths. This causes confusion for schools and customers at times and rebranding everything to Stevensons will clarify things. Also, when you first take on a business, sometimes repair work is required in terms of relationships with schools. Rebranding allows us a clean slate and a fresh start trading under the Stevensons name.
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Itâ€™s a universal truth that many children struggle with the everyday task of packing their own bags for school and remembering all the different things they need. And itâ€™s because of this that Clare Cusack and Deborah Watson launched Orkid Ideas and invented the TomTag, a personalised check list to allow a child to independently organise their school day, helping build self-confidence and organisational skills. The colourful and fun visual check list works by showing a child all the things they need for school, organised by the day of the week. Equally, as the list is attached to the childâ€™s school bag, they can also check they have everything they need when packing their school bag to return home. So how does it work? The TomTag pack contains over 160, water-resistant stickers, with 45 different pictures that look like the things children most commonly need to remember for school, as well as blank stickers for a child to make their own if needed. Once the stickers have been selected for each day, they are applied to the blank buttons â€“ of which there are 45 per pack â€“ and each button is then pushed into an empty space on the tag for the day of the week the item is needed. Although the buttons hold securely in place when clicked in, a firm push through the hole in the back of the tag will release the button if it needs to be changed when timetables alter or new needs are required. There are six tags in a pack and an extra â€œdailyâ€? tag to show all the things a child needs with them every day. An attachment loop connects all the tags together, and the TomTag is then ready to be added to a childâ€™s school bag. As children with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism or ADHD often experience greater difficulties with planning and organisation, TomTagâ€™s visual approach makes it accessible to children of all abilities â€“ making it a truly inclusive product. It was Cusackâ€™s son Tomasâ€™ diagnosis with autism at the age of four, and the realisation he may never talk or go to mainstream school, that triggered the idea for TomTag in the first place.
DEBORAH WATSON AND CLARE CUSACK
the possibility of trying to turn the bag tag idea into a commercially viable product to be called TomTag, named after Tomas. Cusack and Watson had grown up within a few miles of each other, either side of the Lancashire/Yorkshire border on the Pennine hills, but actually only met when living in Switzerland, having followed their husbandsâ€™ jobs there around the time they each had their first child. Both had spent the spent last 10-12 years raising their families; prior to that Cusack had been a solicitor while Watson worked in financial services. â€œNeither of us had any experience of running a business or designing and manufacturing products, so we took on as much free advice as possible, taking advantage of local Business Link courses and the wealth of free information on the internet as well as discussing the idea with family and friends,â€? says Watson. â€œA friend recommended a product design company who helped us to design and manufacture the product â€“ it has been a huge learning curve in all respects.â€? In terms of stockists, Orkid Ideas is targeting independent schoolwear retailers, department stores, online retailers and schools with TomTag, which wholesales for around ÂŁ5.50. The company has secured accounts with online retailers of childrenâ€™s product in the UK and Europe, as well as to a range of parent support groups in the special needs market. It is also stocked on the British Dyslexia Association web shop. â€œWe believe TomTag would sit well in the accessory ranges offered by independent schoolwear retailers, so we are keen to build up our relationships with these stockists,â€? says Watson. â€œWe have stockists in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Ireland. While these have come about somewhat organically, it is a good indicator that there is a market for TomTag worldwide. We have had interest from retailers and individuals in Australia, Greece, Gibraltar, Abu Dhabi, the US and Canada. If possible, long-term, we would hope to take advantage of all these opportunities.â€?
â€œDetermined that Tomas would reach his full potential, whatever that was to be, I began making resources, flashcards and games to support his therapy programmes,â€? says Cusack. â€œI also took a distance learning course with Dyslexia Action in order to help him. During the course, I had to design an aid to help students with poor organisational skills. My solution drew on experiences with Tomas and took the form of a simple bag tag, and soon other parents at school were asking me to make one for their kids, as well.â€?
While still a new company â€“ Orkid Ideas was registered in 2010 and began trading in June 2012 â€“ there are already product developments in the pipeline, including new sticker ranges that will be sold as add-on packs to the basic TomTag product. The idea being that TomTag can be used as a scheduling tool for a wider range of activities, such as personal care and school timetables, in addition to its current function as a school-bag organiser. There are also plans to develop a product more suited to older children, to help them with the transition to Year 7, and the additional organisational demands faced.
Together with her friend Deborah Watson, Cusack began considering
TomTag is available at The Schoolwear Show in October.
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Showing its most comprehensive range of schoolwear to date, 1880 Club will present high-performance school blazers, including the Visimax high-visibility style, together with trousers, knitwear, skirts, shirts, blouses, ties, scarves and a range of Definition Heritage 100 per cent acrylic knitwear. 1880 Club also offers a made-to-order service with special fabrication and colours, as well as embroidered crests, special trims and braids, all with a fast stock service on core lines. —
Trutex’s sportswear brand Akoa offers an extensive stock range including polo shirts, hoodies, skorts, reversible rugby tops, fleeces and trainingwear as well as a made-to-order line to create unique, personalised sports kits. For 2014, both stock and made-to-order lines have been extended to provide more choice. A base-layer short and tights will be added to stock in black and navy, along with a football kit, which will be available for immediate despatch in five different colourways. Following on from last year, two new colourways have been added to the sector range for the reversible top and girls’ and boys’ polo shirt, providing a selection of 12 stock colours. Akoa’s made-to-order line has been extended with a new kit design, which can be previewed for the first time at the show, while the option of dye sublimation printing has also been added, making design possibilities limitless. — >>>
Apparel sizing and fit expert Alvanon is set to preview AlvaKids at the show, which is the UK’s first dedicated garment sizing mobile phone and online application for school uniforms. AlvaKids is designed to help consumers buy the right size school clothing for their children both in-store or online from the UK’s most popular uniform brands. Schoolwear retailers, meanwhile, will benefit from fewer returns due to ill-fitting garments. AlvaKids uses a child’s birthday, height, weight and body shape to recommend the “right size” garment to buy, and will be launched to schoolwear retailers and consumers as a free download app from the Apple Store and as an online widget to major schoolwear suppliers later in the year. The Alvanon team will be running live demonstrations of AlvaKids throughout the show. —
Stocking school knitwear in a wide range of yarns, Balmoral Knitwear makes-to-order in small or large quantities in bespoke styles. It manufactures in its own factory in Scotland and also has ethically sound offshore partners in Eastern Europe. It makes in both standard weight fabric and heavyweight seven gauge, including cricket sweaters in bespoke colours, and embroiders in-house, either on its knitwear or stock polo shirts, sweatshirts, fleeces and tracksuits. At the show, a fully fashioned 50 per cent cotton 50 per cent acrylic school knitwear range will be launched. Made in a fine 12 gauge single-bed fabric with raglan sleeves for a comfortable fit when worn with or without a blazer, the first stock styles are V-neck pullovers in black, mariner blue and mid grey. —
BTC Activewear carries large schoolwear stocks ranging from polos and sweatshirts through to blazers, jackets and bags. The multibrand clothing distributor offers over 40 labels, including Jerzees Schoolgear, Fruit of the Loom, Gidan, Regatta, Result and the SG range, which is exclusive to BTC Activewear, comprising core styles across T-shirts, polos, hoodies, sweats and fleece in a choice of colours. The company will also be presenting many of the products from its recently launched Autumn Additions range at the show. —
Epos Now joins the show with its cloud-based point-of-sale solutions for schoolwear retailers. Highlights of the company’s Epos system include full fashion matrix and fashion-specific reporting; supplier invoicing, full stock management and low stock email warnings; full management reporting; e-commerce store integration; access from any location; back-up online; customer module for loyalty; and marketing. —
Blazers are key for Blue Max Banner, with two new additions for 2014 complementing the wide variety available under the Beau Brummel brand. The new E-Warrior is an eco-friendly blazer, with each constructed from up to 35 non-biodegradable plastic bottles, where the bottles have been broken down through a process of de-polymerisation and made into an Octalobal yarn used to make the material. In terms of design, the E-Warrior is a multi-functional, two-button blazer with a back vent and a matt finish available in a format for boys and girls. Initially launched in a choice of navy or black, and in sizes ranging from chest size 28in to 52in, the blazer will be ready to order from stock from December 2013. The new Viscount Elite premium blazer, available from spring 2014, features a contemporary design to appeal to teenagers with a striped sleeve lining, purple inner lining, jetted pockets, an internal mobile phone pocket and available in a choice of black and grey with versions for boys and girls. —
New exhibitor Chadwick Textiles joins the show with a fully co-ordinated, unbranded range of teamwear and trainingwear, with all products stock supported from the company’s Manchester warehouse. For the schoolwear sector, it will be showcasing its full range of multi-sport, unisex performance jackets, tracksuits, training tops and pants, base layers, pro hoodies, quick-dry T-shirts and polo shirts, and rugby and training shorts. New products for 2014 include an all-purpose team kit bag and a new mix-and-match training set. —
For 2014, Falcon Sportswear is launching a new R400 short-sleeved jersey, stocked and available in six colourways. Manufactured in an innovative bonded material, it creates a fully reversible garment with the look and feel of a single jersey layer. Also new for 2014 is a panelled quarter-zip top and weatherproof jacket, with each item designed and stocked to complement Falcon’s existing range, as well as the addition of the new colourway – black/purple/white – joining the comprehensive range of stock colours for Falcon’s co-ordinated range. —
Charles Kirk will provide a more eco-friendly offer for 2014, sourcing sweatshirts with between 30 and 50 per cent recycled fibre. With a palette of 15 colours, the sweatshirts can be sourced from Charles Kirk’s factory in Worthing or overseas. A full range of knitwear, including Coolflow, Heritage Definition and Woolmark garments, will also be on offer. In terms of sweatshirts, as well as the new eco-friendly garments, Charles Kirk will present styles from the Russell Europe Jerzees and Spalding ranges. —
Footwear brand Crocs’ range of accessories, including brightly coloured pencil cases and back packs, will be available to view at the show on the Sunproof stand. —
The long-awaited evolution of David Luke’s Eco Uniform range will be unveiled at this year’s show, with products offering the same quality and durability associated with David Luke but with the added advantage of an environmental benefit in the production process. New items David Luke will be stocking in 2014 include Eco Sweatshirts, with all of the 35 per cent polyester content in the sweatshirt range now coming from recycled plastic bottles. The garment is made up of 45 per cent acrylic, 35 per cent polyester and 20 per cent cotton. The acrylic face of the fabric ensures no colour fading, strong twin-needled seams on the collars and cuffs adding strength and smartness, and there is a choice of round-necks, V-necks and cardigans in a wide range of sizes available. The Eco Trousers, meanwhile, feature fusibles and internal straighteners for durability, strategic bar tacks for added strength, a finer yarn, which makes for a stronger fabric, with 30 per cent of the polyester used now coming from recycled plastic bottles. Further enhancing its girls’ range as well as the Eco range, David Luke has two new senior girls’ skirts made with Eco fabric available in grey, black and navy. It continues to offer the Eco Blazers and Eco Jackets, which have the outer fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, together with striped sleeve lining, inner labelling and contrast linings. The fabric used in the Eco Blazers and Jackets has been awarded the Green Leaf mark from Intertek, confirming the plastic bottles used are post-consumer waste. David Luke is working on achieving the equivalent for all of its Eco products that use fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. Also new for 2014 to complement David Luke’s DL900 undergarment is the DL915 sports legging made in the company’s dry stretch fabric. — >>>
The Eskimo Epos Retail System from Nebula has been used by schoolwear retailers across the UK for the last 10 years. Nebula Systems’ products and services consist of the Eskimo Epos Software Suit; Hardware, such as touch screen tills, receipt printers, cash drawers, barcode scanners, customer display units, PCs and servers; and Services, including till installation, bespoke database manipulation and programming, Eskimo remote support and training and general IT remote support. —
Gymphlex’s high-performance GForce brand, which offers the option to create a professional, bespoke sports team kit, remains key for 2014, with all garments within the range available to view at the show. The complementary GForce Plus label – a stock range or trainingwear available in popular colourways and manufactured in high-performance fabrics – will also be available. Other highlights include Gymphlex’s Sportswear for Schools collection, an evolution of the original GForce brand, offering an affordable range encompassing styles suitable for multiple sports and one that can be personalised in an extensive choice of colour combinations. —
Established in 1919, Halbro is a leading supplier in producing high-performance bespoke sports clothing for teams and schools. Offering an innovative approach towards garment design and technical fabrics together with short lead times, highlights from its wide range of sports clothing for 2014 will be available to view at the show, providing a one-stop solution for all sportswear requirements. —
New from Kwik Tapes is a combination 300 dpi name tape printer which, among other labels, can produce name tapes, ribbons, trophy labels and Kwik Tapes’ new shoe labels. Also new are school leavers’ memento statues, comprising a girl or boy in school uniform complete with the school name; a child’s name and their classmates’ names. There is also a new iron-on name label – the mini – which, at 25mm x 15 mm, is designed to go onto the existing sewn-on neck label of garments; and Label Direct Professional, software which, as well as producing labels supplied by Kwik Tapes, can create completely new label designs, styles and layouts. —
While 2014 will be Marathon School Supplies’ 25th year supplying quality school bags and sports bags, this year marks its first time exhibiting at The Schoolwear Show. Product highlights include the Performance range of schoolbags, which all offer a one or three year warranty and comply with European Reach standards on chemicals and their safe use. The @ttitude line of schoolbags, meanwhile, is made-up of some of the supplier’s more popular, price-conscious lines complete with a one-year warranty. Other highlights are the Junior range of accessory bags and the company’s endorsed ChiroPak and PhysioPak backpacks. Large quantities of stock are held at Marathon School Supplies’ base in Weybridge and can be despatched nationwide within 24 hours for unprinted orders and within five to 10 working days for printed or transferred orders. —
Launched in January 2013 and making its show debut this year is Little Grippers, a new brand of school socks featuring 100 per cent natural and hypoallergenic “stay on technology” that helps the sock stay in place. In addition to the school sock range for boys and girls, which includes short, knee-high and over-the-knee lengths, Little Grippers will be showcasing its new school sports socks featuring the same “stay on technology” and available in a number of different colours and sizes. —
Helix, a brand name synonymous with mathematical equipment and stationery, is making its debut at this year’s show. While the company is still producing age-old favourites such as the Oxford Maths Set, it has also moved forward with the times and is now firmly linked with Maped, the continental stationery manufacturer, and has developed a wide product range that covers smaller children through to the university student and beyond. —
Established for 115 years, this Finnish footwear brand is now available in the UK for the first time distributed by Sunproof. The range, which is available from stock, comprises 100 per cent natural, waterproof boots designed for harsh, Nordic winters. —
New to the show this year is P&R Fabrics, which has been supplying quality fabrics to the public and commercial sectors since 1964. With the acquisition of Wittrex International, a specialist in development and manufacture of schoolwear fabrics, it has become a key UK stockist for the sector. —
Pod footwear will be showcasing new designs to its Terrain, Stag and Country ranges at the show. Created with Permair leather, which makes the shoes scuff-resistant, water-resistant, easy to clean and breathable, the Terrain collection features both slip-on and lace-up styles available in sizes EU 36-50. Also created in the Permair leather are updated designs within the Stag collection, which features Velcro, slip-on and lace-up styles in EU sizes 36-46. For a smarter option, the Country range offers elegant designs and comfortable microfibre linings in sizes EU 32 to 52. Pod’s latest girls’ styles from its Skip and Zena collections will also be available. —
Distributed by Sunproof, Premier Nametapes offers modern, iron-on woven name tapes designed to take the hassle out of application. A fundraising initiative is available with this product, with all admin handled by Sunproof. —
New to The Schoolwear Show is Orkid Ideas, launching its debut product, the TomTag, a customisable visual check-list system that attaches to a school bag for children to independently organise their day-to-day school life. Each pack contains six brightly coloured button holders – one for each day of the school week plus an extra tag to list the items a child needs to take to school every day. A generous supply of blank buttons is included along with a full set of stickers showing images of a wide range of school items and activities including sports activities, musical instruments and school essentials. —
Available from stock via Sunproof is Finnish brand Rukka Rainwear, which offers a classic rainwear range comprising dungarees, anoraks, over-trousers and sou’wester hats. —
Last autumn, Rowlinson carried out the biggest exercise on customer feedback in its history and, among its findings, identified minimum quantities topped the “wish list” by some majority, with Rowlinson customers wanting the option to order smaller quantities of specially manufactured striped knitwear. In light of this, and the inconvenience caused to customers in ordering larger quantities of stock out of season, all Rowlinson knitwear production lines will now offer minimums of only 12 garments per style (three per size) for a small supplement – a significant reduction on its previous requirement for 36 pieces. The company also introduced its Fastrack service in 2013 for specially manufactured knitwear, and will be following this with improved standard deliveries of specially manufactured knitwear from January 2014 on both its Performa cotton and P50 (50 per cent cotton/50 per cent acrylic) products. A speedy embroidery service on plain stock garments is also available. —
Stabilo is showing a range of products specifically aimed at the needs of school children, including its unique Easy range of handwriting products that help to improve children’s handwriting whether they are left or right handed. The Stabilo Point 88 range, as advertised on television this year, is available in 30 colours. A brand new line of tube-shaped highlighters called Neon will also feature alongside a range of Boss Mini highlighters with a superhero character print that glows in the dark. New additions to the Easy range include an updated version of the Easy Ergo 1.4 in new and vibrant colours and a limited-edition range of the Easy Original in a new neon and metallic design. —
Top to Toe’s stock management and Epos system provides instant stock, sales and order information, full web integration, tills and a host of powerful matrix/grid analysis and automated features. Easy size/colour stock management and automated web links are integral to Top to Toe’s offer, providing a stock management system specifically designed to meet the needs of independent retailers. Other highlights include the ability to break sales and orders down by supplier, product type or selling location, with Top to Toe able to track and report on sales from a retailer's shops and websites. The company’s newly released and fully automated web links to eBay and Amazon will also be demonstrated at the show. —
New to this year’s show is Surridge Sport. The brand’s new UK dye sublimation production allows it full control over the whole manufacturing process, which in turn enables it to offer delivery times of three to four weeks. A full line of dye sublimation products will be presented along with a wide range of stocked training and leisurewear items. —
Using the latest technology and equipment, The Magic Touch has been developing the image transfer process since 1989, advancing new products and applications for companies involved in the garment and promotional decoration business. The latest innovation features the new “white toner” Oki printer and WoW 7.7 transfer paper, the combination of which allows the full colour printing of almost any garment regardless of colour or composition and reduces labour and production costs by removing the need for “cutting or weeding” complex designs or images. The “white toner” technology also enables the decorations of many dark colour, non-textile products such as mugs, folders, metal, wood and plastics. —
Trutex supplies the entire school uniform range consisting of blazers, sweatshirts, polo shirts, skirts, trousers, shirts and blouses, all from stock or through a bespoke design service. The recent acquisition of John Hall will enable Trutex to extend its bespoke choices and provide lower minimums utilising the new UK manufacturing facility. New for 2014 are elasticated cuffs and collars on junior shirts and blouses, as well as a new hoody and extended colour options in the sweatshirt range. The company is also launching a new girls’ trouser, which will be available in both junior and senior sizes. —
Manufactured in South Africa since 1954 and new to this year’s show is leather school shoe brand Toughees. Introduced to the UK market four years ago and distributed by New Brands, the high-quality, mid-priced leather school shoes are available throughout the year from a UK warehouse, with pre-orders required for Back to School. Design highlights include a coating on the shoes for extra protection and shine, with the non-polish leather only requiring a damp cloth to be cleaned. Toughees also offers a sports shoe line and a new range of wellingtons. — >>>
William Turner and Son’s successful introduction of water bottles to its stock this year has provided an ideal accessory to be sold alongside its Unicol infant and junior backpacks, which have been enhanced with the addition of a mesh water bottle pocket. The bottles, which are made in the UK in accordance with BSEN71 (Safety of Toys) and 90/128/EEC (materials in contact with foodstuffs), can be over-printed with a school logo. Also available at this year’s show will be new additions to the range of Unicol schoolwear accessories. —
29: 30: 31: 32: 33: 34: 35: 36: 37:
CYBERTILL THE MAGIC TOUCH SPALL KT LABELS RHINO LOLLIPOP LITTLE GRIPPERS P&R FABRICS GRAHAM WINTERBOTTOM 38: TRUTEX 39: MARATHON 40: EUROPA 41: SDL GROUP 43: EPOS NOW 44: DENBY DALE 45: PREMIER NAME TAPES 46: OPRO 46A: AVALON UK LTD 47: SCHOOLWEAR ASSOCIATION 48: CHADWICK TEXTILES 49: NEBULA SYSTEMS 50: ORKID IDEAS 51: CWB 52: FASHION TEXTILES TRUST
1: GYMPHLEX 2: WILLIAM TURNER 3: MAGICFIT 4: CARTA SPORTS 5: HELIX 5A: POD SHOES 6: TARGET DRY 7: REYDON 8: DAVID LUKE 8A: STABILO 8B: WILLIAM LAMB 9: NEW BRANDS 10: ORION 11: BLUE MAX BANNER 12: BRAND AGILITY 13: CHANTRY 1880 14: BTC ACTIVEWEAR 15: HALBRO 16: BLUE MAX BANNER 17: NATIONAL WEAVING 18: BALMORAL 19: TOP TO TOE 20: ZECO 21: MARTON MILLS 20A: RAM PROMOTIONS 22: ROWLINSON 23: PEX 24: WREN SCHOOLWEAR 25: CHARLES KIRK 26: RUSSELL EUROPE 27: GARDINAR BROS 28: FALCON
Flexibility is key to Winterbottom’s service, whether ordering from its stock range or design team to create a bespoke uniform. With a wide selection of fabrics and styles available, the company is able to support a full line of uniform and sportswear for junior and senior boys and girls.New for 2014 are two ranges of British-made garments, together with new products within Winterbottom’s cultural uniform range. —
THE MAGIC TOUCH
TOP TO TOE
50 NATIONAL WEAVING
BLUE MAX BANNER
NEBULA SYSTEMS ORKID IDEAS CWB FASHION
CARTA TEXTILES SPORTS TRUST
PREMIER NAME TAPES
EXIT TO LADIES’ TOILET AND MOTHER & BABY REST ROOM
BTC ACTIVEWEAR 14
12 BRAND AGILITY
AVALON UK LTD
BLUE MAX BANNER
CLOAKROOM LADIES’ TOILET MEN’S TOILET EXIT
WILLIAM TURNER 2
Manchester company P&R Fabrics started out in 1964 when it was founded by Terry Purcell, the father of the current managing director, Simon Purcell. The company was set up as a merchant converting operation, which soon became very successful, merging with one of the largest textile groups The Wrengate Group during the 70s, before falling back into family hands in 2005. Over the years, P&R Fabrics has quietly expanded its expertise in supplying for general workwear to become one of the UK’s leading suppliers, serving a wide range of clients including branded high-street chains and several areas in the public procurement sector. The company’s resources have also been enhanced by the integration of Northenden Textiles, a workwear supplier of branded fabrics and, in 2000, via the acquisition of Wittrex International, a specialist in the development and manufacture of schoolwear fabrics. These developments have broadened the business’ capabilities to supply into workwear, schoolwear and sportswear, as well as corporate, promotional and outdoor clothing, with further investment resulting in providing options of garment-making with in-house garment technologists and Q.C at source of making. In 2000, Malcolm MacLeod, previously the technical director of Wittrex International, joined P&R Fabrics. His expertise in the schoolwear sector greatly increased the company’s capability in that area, from the development of new fabrics through to expanding the customer base. “We are able to offer our customers an expansive range of services dependant on what their given requirements are,” says MacLeod, P&R Fabrics’ chief executive and operations manager. “This includes direct delivery to overseas factories to stock-supported operations from the UK. Whether the customer is a major supermarket chain or a small manufacturing unit, we have the ability and experience developed over the years to be competitive and satisfy their needs.” So what brings P+R Fabrics to exhibit at The Schoolwear Show? Having been involved in schoolwear for over 40 years, P&R Fabrics
has played a key part in technical innovation, design and development. So as well as promoting its offer, the company is keen to make customers aware of the wealth of knowledge it has in schoolwear, along with the technical expertise it can bring to help customers to develop their businesses. “This year we are making our debut at The Schoolwear Show in order to expand our profile in the market,” says MacLeod. “Although we have been established in the schoolwear fabrics business for many years, we have not been overly active in self-promotion and, as such, we need to make more people aware of the wide range of school fabrics we have on offer, most of which are stock supported here in the UK.” In the schoolwear sector, P&R Fabrics has a broad selection of different fabrics available, some of which are new, and some of which have been established over the years as proven schoolwear cloths. In specific types of fabric, it has polyesters for the economy ranges and polyester/viscose plains for mainstream trousers, skirts and pinafores, which are specific Wittrex fabrics originally designed and developed in the UK especially for schoolwear clothing. P&R Fabrics also offers dress ginghams, cottons and poly/cotton for sportswear and shirting, and polyester/wool for higher-end clothing ranges. This is complemented by a bespoke design service for colour woven fabrics to accommodate schools that have their own unique uniform identity. “The future of schoolwear for a producer and stockist of fabrics is changing,” says MacLeod. “There is still dominance in the market place by the retail mainstream supplying core product, and we can and still service this sector. However, we are also seeing a growth in schools in the UK and abroad who are requiring their own uniform identity. This calls for smaller quantities of fabric, different colour options and styles and so on, which P&R Fabrics is in a good position to support from ready-made fabric for immediate delivery to bespoke design.” In response to industrial changes, and in order to remain competitive in the market, P&R Fabrics has had to commercially evolve its production capabilities from originally
100 per cent UK manufacture to developing new overseas facilities for yarn and fabric capable of meeting the high-performance standards required in such a demanding area. Resourcing has been mastered over the years, and only mills that meet the strict criteria are used by the company. Committed to maintaining only the highest standards, P&R Fabrics was one of the first companies to achieve BS EN ISO 9001:2000 status in 1992 for high product quality and service. Other accreditations held by the business include Oeko-Tex, which tests fabrics to ensure they comply with the current legislation on approved chemicals and that they are environmental and skin friendly. “We have a responsibility as a fabric supplier,” says company managing director Simon Purcell. “Particularly in any fabric going into children’s clothing – a duty of care, if you like. It’s what you would expect from a family business, which is very much what P+R Fabrics is about.” Current managing director Purcell has an adaptable and proactive approach to business, bending to the changing needs of the industry and seeking out new opportunities. However, one constant he is adamant remains is the business’ ethos and protecting the same level of customer relationship that P&R Fabrics has built its success on. “We knew we had to respond to the way the industry has changed,” says Purcell. “We needed to ensure we were providing the exact service that our customers demanded. Being a fabric stockist in the UK is only part of our service. Other areas we offer have come through working closely with customers to offer a more complete package of service tailored to their own requirements. They may want special shades or designs or direct deliveries globally, or help in production through our partnership network. We can offer complete uniform clothing solutions.” P&R Fabrics’ ability to evolve and adapt to the wider changes that have taken place in the market has been positive. As more sourcing goes offshore away from fabric suppliers, P+R Fabrics seeks to offer a global delivery service reinforced by its UK stocking operation and a commitment to remain an integral part of the industry.