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Founder & Chief Creative Officer Hawthorn International
Around 70% of our business is with brands in the UK
Hawthorn is one of UK's leading clothing manufacturers. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion, Tom Lovelace, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Hawthorne, throws light on UK's clothing industry describing its strengths as a region and how Hawthorne keeps itself abreast in a highly competitive industry.
How is UK's clothing industry positioned in the world market? What are the strengths of the region?
UK is one of the world's fashion power houses, with London being the capital both of the country and of the fashion scene. We're based in London and are well placed to keep on top of the high street and high fashion trends which our clients find useful, as we can offer guidance on their designs based on what's going on in the industry. London also hosts fashion week, an event that people travel to from all over the world!
What size is the UK clothing industry and how does it contribute to the economy as a whole?
The UK clothing industry is a huge contributor to our economy, with the value of the industry growing every year in the past 5 years. The industry was worth over ￡54 million in 2019 and is forecast to grow to be worth over ￡56.3 million in 2020.
How was Hawthorn conceived?
Hawthorn was conceived as a solution to a problem that we were having in our own clothing brand, one which we started back in 2012. We were struggling to find manufacturers who were based in the UK and could provide us with high quality, fully custom goods, but most importantly who had MOQs which we could work with as a start-up. We worked with some manufacturers but were unsuccessful, so we decided to start our own facility. When we did this, we started to produce items for friends who also had brands, and it then grew to become our main business. We now work with over 300 different clothing brands and businesses.
What makes Hawthorn one of UK's leading clothing manufacturers? What is the market standing of the company?
We offer the lowest minimum order quantity for fully custom goods in the industry, meaning that we have positioned ourselves as the number one choice for start-up brands. As Hawthorn was formed as a result of not being able to find anyone who could produce low quantities for our own brand, this ethos of high quality, low quantity clothing has always been at the forefront of everything that we do.
What is your annual production capacity both for denim and casualwear? Which segment contributes more to your sales and why?
Denim and casualwear are both extremely popular products for us, but casual wear contributes to the majority of our sales. The reason for this is that casual wear includes such a broad spectrum of clothing, including things like tee shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and tracksuits. All of which are extremely popular with the brands we work with who are generally start-ups, who are looking for an accessible way to start a clothing brand.
What are the advantages of getting clothes manufactured by Hawthorn?
We offer full package production (FPP) manufacturing, with low minimum order quantities. Most FPP factories have MOQs which are in the hundreds, or even the thousands per design, but we have positioned ourselves to be able to produce just 50 per design. This means that brands can benefit from fully custom items, including custom fabrics and sizing, and for the same investment that they might make with another manufacturer, they can get a much wider product range with us.
The clothing industry is highly competitive - how do you keep up with the competition?
We're constantly introducing new initiatives to ensure we stay ahead of the competition, but one that we are most proud of is our sustainability drive over the last few years. Whereas most manufacturers are only able to offer organic cotton at very high MOQs due to the extra costs involved in farming it, we have developed a supply chain which has enabled us to produce garments from this material from just 75 units per design.
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