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Yorkshire textile sector - Innovation and internationalisation are key

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Focussing on internationalising through innovation is the vital theme for the resurgence of the region’s textile industry according to Steve Crow, business development director of Clarion.

Focussing on internationalising through innovation is the vital theme for the resurgence of the region’s textile industry according to Steve Crow, business development director of Clarion.

“For all manufacturing companies, the key to success post Brexit will be the ability to set themselves apart from the competition through innovation and then using these unique, cutting edge products to carve out trade opportunities overseas.

“One of the problems facing the manufacturing sector generally is the increased cost of raw materials sourced from overseas as a result of currency fluctuations, consequently businesses may increasingly look for alternatives within the UK.  Leaving the EU may open up opportunities across the supply chain for UK businesses seeking the cost benefit of sourcing domestically in order to mitigate cost.  If UK suppliers are able to offer innovative alternatives, British textile businesses, and indeed other manufacturers, will be able to benefit from export.  The concept of ‘re-shoring’ is becoming a real option as new relationships are formed and businesses focus on creating the best possible position for themselves once we leave the European Union.”

While traditionally Yorkshire and the North were historically the stronghold of the textiles sector globally, the impact of cheaper labour from emerging markets dramatically hit the sector.  The sector now needs to revisit the foundations of its original strength – innovation and internationalisation and in doing so, protect its IP.

Mr Crow continues: “Businesses need to come together and collaborate if they are to establish a niche within the textile sector globally.  In particular, I believe that more collaboration between business and academia will play a vital role in driving innovation.  Organisations such as the Textile Centre for Innovation are playing an important role in bringing companies together and supporting the resurgence of our textiles sector.

“There are still hundreds of world class textiles businesses in the region, from Camira Fabrics in Holmfirth to Abraham Moon & Sons in Guiseley.  Businesses which can establish themselves as leaders in unique niches and are able to constantly innovate are proving successful in making a name for themselves on the world stage.  For example, Arville Textiles in Wetherby is a specialist in technical textiles manufacturing which engineers high performance bespoke textiles for specific uses and has achieved a reputation for being ‘best in class’.  Similarly, Xiros, a spin-out from the University of Leeds, is also enjoying international renown in the medical textiles field.

“Our message is that many dynamic textiles businesses in the region are continuing to flourish and, as long as our manufacturers continue to innovate and are scrupulous in protecting their IP, the post-Brexit world stage could offer some great opportunities for them.”

Come and find out more at our seminar ‘Yorkshire Textiles: Internationalisation through innovation and investment’

Tuesday 16th May 2017, 8.30-10.30am

Clarion, Elizabeth House, 13-19 Queen Street, Leeds, LS1 2TW

Key speakers: Stewart McGuffie, CEO of Allied Textiles; Professor Stephen Russell of University of Leeds; Bill Macbeth, Managing Director of the Textile Centre for Excellence; and Esther Kirwan, head of IP at Clarion

To reserve your place email lauren.perry@clarionsolicitors.com

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