Swaine Adeney Brigg take on Aquascutum factory

Aquascutum factory closes

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Corby factory to shut with the loss of 115 jobs

Aquascutum factory to closeIt was with great sadness that I heard at the beginning of the week that Aquascutum were on the brink of administration. So it was even more upsetting to hear yesterday that the first thing that the administrators have done is to close down the Aquascutum factory in Corby which had been in operation for over a century. All workers at the UK clothing factory have been made redundant with immediate effect.

In a statement released by the administrators, they declared the Aquascutum factory “not viable to continue to trade due to loss-making operations and a lack of funding”. However, they are attempting to find a buyer for the Aquascutum brand, and it is believed that the rights to the name may be sold off to a Far Eastern buyer.

This all seems a little bit short sighted to me. If these administrators could see the emails that I get every week from people looking for British clothing manufacturers they would have realised that the Corby factory was possibly one of the most valuable assets that Aquascutum had. The 115 workers at this UK factory would’ve had decades of experience in cutting, sewing and finishing between them, and these sorts of skills are more sought after than ever in 2012. This tweet from Private White V.C. in the wake of the news yesterday says it all:  Aquascutum lays off 110 staff whilst @PrivateWhiteVC recruits a dozen more machinists. Could easily hire another 50 with some govt support’.

I hope that there is someone out there who is able to take on the Aquascutum factory and re-employ some of the staff; Perhaps several brands should get together and share the overheads of running the plant, or Sir Philip Green could put his money where his mouth is and get himself a little UK manufacturing unit. Even Mary Portas may be interested seeing as her Kinky Knickers are flying out of the door. Time may be up for Aquascutum, but British manufacturing is alive and kicking!

Update 24th April 2012: It was announced in the press today that James Eden, owner of Private White V.C, was to put in a bid to buy Aquascutum and to re-open the Corby factory. Having built the Private White brand, which has shops in London and Japan, on being 100% British-made, I think that Mr Eden would be the perfect new owner for Aquascutum. Watch this space for more info.

14 Responses

  1. suzie says:

    i am disscusted the way that the way Aquascutum have treated there work force…i have been there six years and now have lost all my 115 friends that have been made redundant and have no money to live on what is owing to them… i will never buy another coat from them again thats all i have to say

    • Kate Hills says:

      Hi Suzie
      I agree, it has been disgraceful the way the administrators have shut the factory without a thought for the staff that are working there.
      I hope that someone with some decency buys the factory and gets it going again. It is a terrible loss otherwise

  2. joan says:

    The only way we are going to get out of this mess is by people power, buying British made products. Politicians dont give a dam ,we need people like Mary Portas to bring it to peoples attention.We were building up a textiles buisness and have been reduced to a building down the garden because we cant compete with the likes of China and India etc .
    Quality has gone down hill, the large stores have rags sewn up just for a sale. I was in M and S looking for clothes for my grandchildren and was disgusted at the quality of the fabric.Things have got to change.
    My heart goes out to the 115 workers at the Aquascutum.

    • I totally agree, the only way to stop the British Textile industry from extinction is by people power. We as consumers and designers must start to support the Made in Britain movement.

  3. Kate Hills says:

    Hi Joan
    Thanks for your comment.
    You are right that people power is what is required. We need to spread the word about buying quality British products.Things do have to change and the public have to start buying less of better quality.

  4. Nooooooooooo, this makes me so mad and furious! I am currently sourcing UK factories and this week I have been concentrating on outerwear manufacturers as I have lists of clients looking to manufacture in the UK. As you said, closing the factory is EXTREMELY short sighted and the skills and experience the workers have would be invaluable to our manufacturing industry and people are once again crying out for UK manufacturers. Grrrrrrr this has put a big downer on my day!!!

  5. This is so sad, another one bites the dust when we are told british made products are the best in world.
    Johnstons of Elgin and also in Hawick are making it work , the bosses can’t be very good ??

    • It was not the bosses,. it was the stratagy and also the fact that soo much product was U.K. made so they could not compete with the imported branded products that Barbour / bURBERRY / pAUL smITH bring onto the market . . .real shame for all the people involved,. but I like the fact that Mr. Edan is going to try and buy the factory if he has the best bid.

  6. MH says:

    The new mantra:

    Buy Quality, buy British.

  7. R T says:

    Really hope that James can pull this off as he is the perfect man that’s needed to run the company and bring it back to being British Made.

    On another note i was pleased when the company was bought from the Japanese as i thought then that we would see even more UK made stuff from the label but who would have thought then that the Japanese could run the label better(made in UK,Portugal,Italy and a few bits in China) than one of our own(hardly any UK,suits in Portugal, almost all others China)??

  8. Good to see that someone is oputting money into a British Brand, the U.K. as a nation nees to wake up and stop playing lip service to MADE IN U.K. and start doing something about it.
    Mary portman has the right idea she has almost 20% of all her products made in the U.K. I saw it on a big banner in House of Fraser promoting the bristishness, that is great news nearly 20% and TV exposure. At least the Factory has not been ‘put to bed’ yet, so now the “aquascutum” label issue is out the way it is great news for James and his Privlite white company, they will be able to re-open the factory and employ the workforce with their bid. more powe to their elbow.

  9. I grew up with the label in Asia and its sad to see it go. I hope potential employers out there can re-employ staff who have been layoff. Whether its in Britain or other parts of the world, its vital to maintain the traditional skill set before we lose them forever! Meanwhile I continue to stand by British craftsmanship and promoting them in Asia.

  10. […] Aquascutum Factory Closes When it was announced that the administrators were shutting the Aquascutum factory in Corby, with the loss of jobs for 115 skilled workers, it seemed a great loss to British manufacturing. Luckily it was reported soon after  that the factory was to be taken on by Swane Adeney Brigg. […]

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