Christopher Nieper

Christopher Nieper, Managing Director of David Nieper and Founder of David Nieper Education Trust

Christopher joined the family business in 1986 and pioneered the company’s investment in consumer marketing, new manufacturing infrastructure and skills to deliver continuous and sustainable growth. Today, David Nieper enjoys record sales of its luxury womenswear.

In 2015 Christopher formed the David Nieper Education Trust and in September 2016, under Christopher’s management, the David Nieper Academy was opened and David Nieper became the first private, family fashion business to sponsor a British school with the aim of building a bridge between educators and employers.

Christopher will explain why the lack of skills present is by far the greatest threat to the renaissance of British fashion. He will talk about why he has adopted one of Britain’s very weakest secondary schools and discuss how he sees the future for its 850 pupils.

Christopher is a beekeeper, sportsman, school governor, and former non-executive director of Help the Aged.

Speaker schedule

Day One. 11am – 12pm Designing the skills agenda for manufacturing in post-Brexit Britain

Patrick Grant

Patrick Grant, Director of Norton & Sons, E.Tautz, Hammond & Co, Cookson & Clegg and Community Clothing

Patrick’s career in fashion began in 2005.  After leaving a career in engineering, he took over as Director at Savile Row tailor Norton & Sons.  Three years later he revived the E. Tautz brand to much critical acclaim, including being named Menswear Designer of the Year award at the British Fashion Awards in 2010.

In 2012, he began working in collaboration with Debenhams on the brand Hammond & Co which has gone on to be the most successful designer collaboration in the department store’s history.

In April 2015, he purchased the ailing Blackburn clothing manufacturer Cookson & Clegg, saving the factory from closure.  This was followed in 2016 with the launch of social enterprise Community Clothing in response to challenges facing the British clothing and textile industry.

Patrick is a regular on television and radio as a commentator on fashion, clothing and textiles.  He has written on diverse subjects for many titles including GQ, The Financial Times and The Times and he is a regular lecturer at schools and colleges.  In 203 he was made an Honorary Professor at Glasgow Caledonian University’s School of Business and Society.  In 2016 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).

Patrick was born in Edinburgh on 1 May 1972.  He was a pupil at South Morningside Primary and The Edinburgh Academy before attending Barnard Castle School in County Durham.  He has a BEng. In Materials Science & Engineering from Leeds University and an MBA from the University of Oxford.  He was a schoolboy rugby international representing Scotland at U18 and U19 level.  He lives in South London and cycles to work each day.

Speaker schedule

Day Two. 11am – 12pm 

Hal Watts, CEO, Unmade

Hal Watts is the co-founder of London-based fashion-technology company Unmade. Unmade’s technology enables the world’s most innovative brands to tailor their products to each and every customer. Linked to an automated production system, unique knitted garments can be made for the same unit cost and speed as mass production. Unmade’s technical and creative capabilities have already made waves, winning awards across the fields of fashion, technology and design.

They’ve worked on projects with the British Fashion Council, designed an award-winning catwalk collection with Christopher Ræburn, and built a concept store within Selfridges. Their latest project is a collaboration with cult US brand Opening Ceremony.

Speaker schedule

Day One. 3pm – 4pm Heritage meets Innovation with Unmade & Johnston’s of Elgin

Simon Cotton

Simon Cotton, Chief Executive, Johnston’s of Elgin

Simon Cotton has been Chief Executive of Johnstons of Elgin for three years. During this period the company has achieved strong growth and a return to sustained profitability. It has also being accredited with ISO 9001 and 18001, Investors in Young People and running its own Modern Apprenticeship program for 100 employees. Simon has further reinforced the companies focus on innovation, workforce development and internationalisation.

Johnstons of Elgin is a 220 year old luxury textile manufacturers which makes woven goods and knitwear for most of the world’s leading luxury brands. With approximately a thousand employees the company is both Scotland’s largest knitwear company and is also its largest weaving mill. It is a fully vertical mill taking raw cashmere and fine wool fibres through every stage of the process to finished piece.

Simon will be joined by Hal Watts of Unmade to talk about how one of the newest and most innovative knitwear companies is partnering with one of the eldest to change the future of the knitwear industry.

Speaker schedule

Day One. 3pm – 4pm Heritage meets Innovation with Unmade & Johnston’s of Elgin

Wallace Sewell

Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell, founders, Wallace Sewell

Wallace Sewell  launched their first collection of scarves and cushions in 1992. Emma and Harriet met at the Central School of Art in the 1980’s and went on to complete their Masters Degrees at the Royal College of Art (RCA). Their first collection of scarves and cushions was shown at the Chelsea Craft Fair in 1992 but the brand really took off when Barneys of New York placed an order for their scarves and still stock them 25 years on.

Wallace Sewell has gone on to become a ‘bijou’ global brand with around 300 stockists in over twenty countries. They now offer scarves, throws, cushions and in 2017 launched their first rug collection. In addition, they design for international brands, are regularly commissioned by the Tate Gallery shops and create moquette seating patterns for Transport for London.

Harriet and Emma will explain how a long term partnership with their manufacturer has helped their business growth.

Speaker schedule

Day Two. 2pm – 3pm ‘Building a great partnership with your manufacturer’

Kate & Graham Holbrook, Directors, Turtle Doves

Eight years ago Kate Holbrook  bought some £3 jumpers from her local charity shop and an even older sewing machine and made herself some mittens. She sold out at the next school fair. Turtle Doves Ltd was born. Fast forward to 2017 and Turtle Doves has annual sales of more than a million pounds.

Kate and her business partner and ‘current husband’ Graham will describe the joys and challenges of setting up one’s own factory and production network with limited production experience and scarce finances. They will share their thoughts on the unprecedented opportunities that now exist in the UK for those with a good design idea, how keeping production in house is vital for innovation and meeting unexpected demand, and the importance of balancing creativity with planning.

Kate learned something about design and manufacturing whilst working at Scrap Scrap, a recycled clothing company before taking time out to have children. Graham is an accountant and has worked for many of the UK’s retailers.

Speaker schedule

Day One. 2pm – 3pm ‘How to make a million with an idea and an old sewing machine’

Deborah Maxwell, Associate Patent Attorney, Potter Clarkson

Deborah Maxwell is a patent and design attorney from Potter Clarkson LLP, a full-service European Intellectual Property (IP) law firm providing expert legal advice to clients from local entrepreneurs to SMEs to global corporations. The firm works across a range of industry and technology sectors, with Deborah specialising in the textile manufacturing, fashion and product design sectors. Deborah will be joined by an attorney who is experienced in handling trade mark matters for fashion and textile brands, and an IP solicitor who is adept in negotiating commercial agreements (such as NDAs, licensing and collaboration agreements).

Together, they will be providing an IP masterclass to share their experience and knowledge of dealing with intellectual property issues in the fashion and textile space. In particular, they will provide an introduction to IP rights, and cover topics such as the protection and exploitation of IP rights, how to understand other people’s IP rights, and when to seek professional advice on IP matters.

Speaker schedule

Day Two. 10am – 11am  ‘Intellectual property in the fashion and textile industry’

Joan Johnson, Director, Bespoke Fabrics

Joan Johnston has for over 25 years been engaged in both creative and commercial roles within British luxury textiles. Joan has worked internationally as a supplier to renowned premium brands in the UK, US, Italy, France and Japan. Fulfilling roles ranging from Creative Design Director, Board Director, Online Business Owner and University Programme Leader, Joan has acquired a wealth of knowledge from developing initial concepts through the design process to experiential brand focused promotion and sales delivery.

Britain has a broad array of premium producers from owner/makers to large global suppliers. The provenance of a product is becoming more important as conscious consumers search out authentic brands with genuine stories to tell. Joan will highlight key findings from recent research into this arena, using case studies highlighting those who successfully tell their story, with a focus on those who make in Britain.

Speaker schedule

Day One. 10am – 11am ‘How does provenance engage the consumer from a national and global perspective?’

Charlotte Meek, Founder, The Stitch Society

The Stitch Society is an emerging design brand that began, just two years ago, from a kitchen table in the village of Oxenhope. After spending a decade collecting textiles from the county’s mills as they closed down, Charlotte Meek, founder of The Stitch Society, has turned a pile of remnants into the fabric of her working life; successfully creating a commercially viable and thriving business which cleverly interweaves heritage with online commerce in the form of luxury work aprons.

Charlotte learnt to sew as a young child, patiently taught to by her grandmother. It is this experience that has led to her commitment to preserve sewing skills alongside her commercial activity; the Society plays an integral part in addressing the skill shortage in the region and this year collaborated with Leeds College to launch ‘The Textile Academy’.

Charlotte will be speaking about how a clear marketing plan has helped to capture the attention and support of the media to promote The Stitch Society to a wide, but targeted audience. She’ll also explain how by creating ‘The Textile Academy’ she is helping to addressing the skills shortage of the future.

Speaker schedule

Day Two. 1pm – 2pm ‘Why all British brands need a  clear vision of the future to succeed’

Jamie Bourn, Head of Business Development, Purpose Media

Jamie has over 6 years experience working with businesses to develop effective marketing strategies based on return on investment. His skillset is focused around: digital marketing, websites design and creation, branding. Jamie’s’ skills have guided Purpose Media to grow, and helped acquire new businesses to become the award winning full service marketing agency they are today.

Speaker schedule

Day Two. 3pm – 4pm ‘Look at the world through the eyes of your customer’.

Katrina Starkie, marketing Services Director, Purpose Media

Katrina ran an award-winning video production company for 8 years before merging with Purpose Media last year. Her current role is to develop robust marketing plans for their clients that help them to differentiate from their competitors. Katie’s skillset is: marketing, video production, strategic planning, branding and raising business profiles. After joining Purpose Media Katrina has helped the business develop into new areas of video production and digital marketing.

Speaker schedule

Day Two. 3pm – 4pm ‘Look at the world through the eyes of your customer’.

Nick Sweeting, Technical Manager, Lectra UK & Ireland

Nick has more than 20 years of experience in CAD & CAM technology in the fashion, apparel & other textile industries.
Within his role he specialises in all areas of cutting room automation, including implementation, change management & lean methodologies.
He joined Lectra in 1998 & prior to this position, he held several project management & technical support roles.

Speaker schedule

Day One. 11am – 12 noon ‘Factory of the Future – Are you ready for industry 4.0?’.