21 Jul

Apparel and Textile Manufacturers Federation launches at Westminster

ATMF Launch at Westminster

The Leicester-based Apparel and Textile Manufacturers Federation has officially launched with an event at Westminster.

A host of leaders from business, politics and NGOs attended as Baroness Verma chaired the gathering in a full committee room at the House of Commons on Monday.

Among those present to support the new ATMF were brands, manufacturers, government organisations, and politicians.

They came together to mark the launch of a Federation formed to reshape an ethical and sustainable landscape for the UK fashion industry.

Baroness Verma praised the ATMF, telling those gathered that it formed at the right time to help Leicester’s textile industry.

The Chair said she was particularly pleased to see the initiative being established in her home city and pledged support.

Councillor Adam Clarke, Deputy City Mayor, also praised the establishment of the Federation and applauded founder Saj Khan and his colleagues for bringing the supplier voice into Leicester City Council’s work on developing a textiles strategy for the city.

Saj Khan, ATMF founder, Managing Director of Aristec and LLEP Innovation Board Member, said:

We would like to thank the people that took the time in the extreme heat to join us to take a giant step forward on our way towards a textiles economy that is fair, sustainable and profitable.

We took a stand, a choice to unite and work together to build on our knowledge and lessons learnt from the past to create manufacturing processes that go beyond gold star compliance and an industry that supports the manufacturers in their mission to achieve that.

It won’t change overnight. We have a great journey ahead of us, but we have our boots pulled up ready.

With the level of support we have already gained we know it can be achieved, and it will.

Baroness Verma ended the meeting with a call to action and for support from funders.

She reiterated the point made by Chris Shaw, Director of ATMF support partner Embark CSR, that the Federation will only succeed and be sustained as an independent entity if financial resources can be identified in its early start-up phase.

The event also included presentations from:

  • Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire
  • Councillor Adam Clarke, Deputy City Mayor, Leicester City Council
  • Jennifer Wascak, Managing Director, Justice in Fashion
  • David Reay, Founder, Northern Clothing and Textile Network
  • Chris Shaw, Director, Embark CSR
  • Shahid Sheikh OBE, Managing Director, Clifton Packaging

ATMF is an independent, supplier-led trade association representing garment and textiles manufacturers in the UK.

It is a UK-registered Community Interest Company (CIC) with the purpose of collaborating and providing a voice for the important “second tier” of the UK garment industry supply chain.

ATMF’s ultimate mission is to address the needs and experiences of apparel and textile manufacturers across the UK, but initial efforts are focused on challenges in Leicester.

Stewart Smith, LLEP Head of Employment and Skills, attended the launch in London and said after the event:

It was great to see the strength of partnership work across the region – particularly in how the public, private and voluntary sector have come together to create what we believe to be a world-leading initiative.

Textiles and fashion are a long-standing foundation of the LLEP’s economy and the modernisation will help provide skilled well paid jobs of the future.

Head of LLEP Sue Tilley last week welcomed the launch of the ATMF, saying:

It’s exciting to see Leicester again leading the way in UK textiles and we congratulate ATMF in working with local partners to address challenges in the industry.

The LLEP’s strategy for coming years is to drive economic prosperity for all in our region through increased productivity, innovation and sustainability and ATMF is working to help achieve all of those things.

Read more about the region's textiles industry