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140 – Why UK manufacturing is more sustainable – Christopher Nieper OBE, David Nieper

Why UK manufacturing is more sustainable - 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
Why UK Manufacturing is more Sustainable – Christopher Nieper OBE
Recorded at Make it British Live! Online September 2020

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

Comment on this episode

1 Comment

  1. Pete Schonbeck on October 20, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Hi Kate, I just have to say that was inspirational. I particularly love the people element and the importance to market the job opportunities in fashion and NOT just as a designer. I always used to love watching a pattern cutter work of the skills of the technicians in a fabric mill. I would have loved to be one of the best pattern cutters in the UK and that is what we could all instil in the more technically minded/less creative bods who could love being part of the industry.

    Brilliant presentation Christopher. My great grandfather was Prince Albert’s tailor and travelled to England with the prince and made clothes for the Prince and Queen Victoria. I am the fourth generation of our family in the UK to have worked in the fashion industry and I want “MADE IN BRITAIN” to be the world leader in all elements on the clothing industry once again and David Nieper is a fantastic example of how a family business evolves and leads from the front.

    Thanks you so much,

    Pete Schonbeck

    Productschon Business Advice

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