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LONDON – A new trade body will provide a voice for garment suppliers in Leicester, United Kingdom. The Apparel & Textile Manufacturers Federation (ATMF) was formally launched at the Houses of Parliament. Among its goals are helping to foster a more ethical and sustainable textiles sector. The body will support the local garment supply chain with compliance, auditing and the safeguarding of jobs through collaborative partnerships.

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Sajjad Khan, founder of ATMF, said: “We are delighted that the UK Government is recognising our efforts in Leicester and further afield, to support textile and apparel manufacturers. It is a great honour 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.”

He continued: “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. We have also drawn support locally from senior level organisations 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, added: “The launch of the ATMF marks a significant milestone in the revitalisation of the textiles sector in Leicester. We want the city to be at the forefront of national gains for the industry, and we’re determined to make that happen. We are now calling on the UK Government, national and international bodies, and major brands to support our efforts.” 

Leicester’s deputy city mayor for Leicester, Cllr Adam Clarke, has led on work to bring partners together in the city to help tackle problems in the garment industry. This has included the setting up of the Leicester Labour 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 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 co-ordinated support programme for textiles manufacturers and local textiles workers.

“The mobilising of manufacturers as a meaningful voice for the textiles sector has been an aspiration for some time and is a huge step forward. I congratulate all those involved for stepping up and showing such leadership, particularly during these challenging times,” Cllr Clarke said.

“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.”

ATMF was formed with the help of worker rights’ charity, Justice in Fashion.

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