290 – From the archive: Why UK Manufacturing is More Sustainable with Christopher Nieper OBE

Christopher Nieper OBE is the managing director of David Nieper, a womenswear business in Alfreton in Derbyshire. The firm was set up by Christopher’s parents sixty years ago and is now one of the most vertical textile operations in the UK. Christopher recently invested in state-of-the-art digital printing equipment so that the factory can print it’s own fabric onsite. David Nieper already prints all their own catalogues and produce their own knitwear in house, alongside the garment production.

In this episode you can hear about the research Christopher commissioned from Nottingham university looking at the greenhouse gas emissions produced to make clothing at the David Nieper factory in Derbyshire. The study then compared these findings to the emissions produced by making garments in China, Turkey and Bangladesh and then shipping them to the UK. It makes for very interesting insights into how making in the UK can be quantified as more sustainable. A big advocate for slow fashion, Christopher has also found that his customers keep and wear his clothes 10 times longer than average. Listen to this episode to discover: 

  • How the David Nieper factory uses ‘just-in-time’ manufacturing to achieve a 98% sell-through on their garments
  • Christopher’s plans to make the David Nieper factory the greenest factory in Europe, recovering the heat generated by the factory to use as renewable energy
  • How he’s changing the attitudes of young people in his local town by giving them a taste of what it’s like inside a real manufacturing environment
  • The charity that the business has set up to help rebuild a local secondary school that was in the bottom 2% of schools in the UK and make it over-subscribed for the first time in 30 years
  • Christopher’s idea for a labelling scheme for clothing that ranks the environmental sustainability of every garment

This episode is the recording of a talk that Christopher did at Make it British Live! Online event in October 2020.

About David Nieper

Watch my Instagram reel showing behind the scenes at the David Nieper factory.

David Nieper website

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