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Byline: Henryk Zientek ,

top buyers Former Moxons customers include (from left) singers Frank Sinatra and Elton John and former US President Jimmy Carter

Chinese on tour of top-quality company

A GROUP of Chinese journalists have travelled across the world to Huddersfield to see the very best in textiles.

The reporters from Beijing and Shanghai visited worsted firm Moxons at Yew Tree Mills, Holmbridge.

The visit is part of a tour of West Yorkshire's elite textile industry organised by the Bradford-based British Wool Textile Export Corporation and the Government's export support arm UK Trade and Investment.

Industry chiefs aim to use the visit to spread the word about West Yorkshire's woollen and worsted industry among potential customers in the emerging Chinese market.

Moxons specialise in making high- quality cloth for suits using wool, cashmere and wool and silk blends.

Famous customers have included former US President Jimmy Carter and world-famous singers Frank Sinatra and Elton John.

Moxons is one of Huddersfield's best known textile names - with suits made from its cloth costing as much as pounds 5,000 each.

The journalists, who work for trade publications in China, were shown the firm's oak-panelled 'library', where the company keeps records, including pattern books dating back many decades, and examples of antique textile machinery.

They also toured the production area with managing director Firas Chamsi- Pasha and Lorraine Ellison, UKTI's sector specialist for textiles, fashion and design.

She said the UK textile industry had seen massive job losses over the past 50 years in the face of increased mechanisation and the impact of cheap imports.

But she added: "We have retained our pre-eminent position in the world as producers of the very best quality textiles.

"The UK's reputation for quality and style are second to none - and Bond Street, Jermyn Street and Saville Row continue to thrive as international standards of quality and style."

Said Ms Ellison: "The principal markets for our woollen and worsted fabrics are Italy, Japan and the United States.

"But we are now beginning to have success in emerging markets such as China - so the wheel has come full circle!

"Wealthy Chinese consumers are looking for traditional quality, but also want modern fashions and style.

"Moxons has a whole collection of enticing and inspirational designs which mix the best quality fabrics and the latest in styles."

Mr Chamsi-Pasha said Moxons was unusual in manufacturing on older machines that others in the industry had discarded.

He added: "Our main aim has been to rebuild old machines and reintroduce manufacturing techniques that have died out elsewhere."

The company, which employs 52 people at Yew Tree Mills, was bought by Bradford-based Hield Brothers in 1993.

Since then, it has moved to Holmbridge from Southfield Mills in Kirkburton and trimmed its product range to focus solely on high-quality fabrics for exclusive suits.

"We export to Italy, the USA, France and Germany, as well as Japan, Korea and China," said Mr Chamsi-Pasha.

"We are up against the rest of the world in competing for the Chinese market and we are showing that Huddersfield textiles are still the best."

The Chinese delegation's members complete their visit to the UK tomorrow with a visit to London's Savile Row - to see Moxons cloth being made into top-quality suits.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jun 30, 2006
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