In the first of a series of features highlighting the companies exhibiting at the show, we interview Stanley Russell from Apt Fabrics
Apt Fabrics supply fabric solutions to the PPE (personal protective equipment) and technical clothing market. As well as providing a range of trademarked fabrics for a multitude of needs, they also offer a bespoke fabric sourcing service, a fabric modification service, seminars and international textile training. They supply a large choice of waterproof fabrics, as well as thermal, moisture-wicking fabrics such as the Praetorian Fireblocker that protects against radiant heat.APT Fabrics also launched their own clothing brand Aclimatise so that they could bring their own range of clothing to the market, incorporating their technologies.
We spoke to Apt Fabrics director, Stanley Russell, to find out more about the business.
How long have you been in the textiles industry?
I could say my whole life. My father and mother where both involved with the textile industry and owned their own home furnishing company. However, my actual working life in the industry has been thirty years. I’ve worked in retail management at Primark, spent time at Crepe Weavers, and then finally started Apt Fabrics Ltd, my own high performance laminated fabric company.
What makes your products better than the competition?
Well, apart from the fact they work, are not old technologies remarketed, and are quality products manufactured in the UK… I’m not afraid to look at new technologies to see how they could be incorporated into garments to make them perform better and more comfortable to wear. I have all the garments independently tested, both in the lab and by real people in real life environments, to find out if anything is wrong with them.
What was the project that made a difference to your success?
I suppose it was winning the contract to supply all the waterproof fabrics for the Metropolitan Police uniform.
What is your favourite product in your range?
That’s an easy one. The Aclimatise fleece as I never take it off – and the central heating is still not on in our house.
How much of your product do you make in the UK?
Where possible I make all of our products in the UK. I have been working with a small manufacturing company in the midlands to recreate my fleece. It has taken nine months but we are now ready to press the go button. All the outer fabrics in our waterproof garments are made in Nottingham, and our knits are made in Leicester.
Have you ever considered making your product overseas?
Yes and I have the capability to, but I would be giving away my secrets. I would only use an overseas manufacturer if I wished to enter a specific market like the USA or Australia. In that case it would make sense to manufacture the products in the USA (using a Made in USA logo), or in China for the logistics and cost of supply to Australia.
Do you think that it matters to your customers that your products are made in Britain?
I hope it does, but irrespective of that I just wish to support UK manufacturing and to produce a quality UK product that works. We give a 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back.
What is the most unusual product that you have ever made?
A breathable gas tight chemical protection suit.
What does the future hold for Apt Fabrics and Acimatise?
In the new year we plan to bring to market our Aclimatise work wear range to market under our Eco dry range …. A fully recyclable range of high performance Hi visibility garments ( an industry first as 95% of all Hi vis clothing goes into land fill)
Apt Fabrics will be exhibiting at our 2016 event and to celebrate this they are offering all of our readers a 5% discount on their clothing range. Just enter the code MKitBR2015 when purchasing on www.aclimatise.co.uk