Images talks to UKP Accessories about adding value with bespoke zipper pulls, cord ends, labels, swing tags and much more

Want to add customised zipper pulls to some jackets for a trendy outdoorwear company? Or perhaps a streetwear brand customer has asked you to supply off-beat cord-ends for its hoodies? It‘s these small details that set a company‘s products apart from those of its competitors, explains Steve Starkey, managing director of UKP Accessories. “The value is in the eye of the brand owner; it‘s certainly added value for their garments. It‘s something that some companies don‘t get, and some do. Ted Baker spends a lot of money on accessorising and trims and it‘s quite a synonymous thing for them. We do a lot for Superdry – they spend a fortune on trims and labelling because it‘s how they get their brand over, and it‘s how people perceive them.”

UKP Accessories began in 1992, although back then it was a traditional wholesaler supplying the many clothing factories in the UK. As manufacturing started to move offshore, so UKP Accessories reinvented itself, setting up business in Hong Kong and servicing a huge number of overseas factories for well-known brands as well as UK customers both large and small.

The minimum order for most products is 1,000, with the cost per unit being “very cheap“, reports Steve. “We have hundred of small clients,“ he says. “We offer a range of products that can be used by customers who want to personalise ‘plain‘ garments. If there‘s a cheap zip pull, they can rip that off and put their own on for a small cost. It adds identity and personality. And they can sew in a woven label, and hang a swing ticket. A lot of people have heat presses, so we do heat-applied labels too.”

Cord ends are another easy option: the company makes “gazillions“ of them for the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, reports Steve. There are various types that are easy to attach. He comments: “If there‘s a cheap cord on a trouser for example, or promotional pant, then they can take it off and put their own on.”

For those opting for completely bespoke garments, UKP Accessories is able to create whatever extras are required, from labels and buttons to packaging and zips, and deal directly with the factory manufacturing the clothes, whether that is in Morocco, Vietnam or China.

Most of the wide range of products UKP Accessories supplies don‘t require any extra equipment to apply them beyond a sewing machine and a heat press, making offering these bespoke additions an easy task.

Zipper puller and zip: Zip pullers can be looped through existing pullers, or by placing the puller on the open crown of a slider, then securing the puller by clamping the crown shut

TPU labels: TPU is versatile and environmentally friendly with good elasticity and a resistance to grease and abrasion. Flat TPU labels are popular in childrenswear, while moulded TPU provides a lightweight option for outer branding of garments. Flat TPU labels are generally stitched into the seam; moulded TPU labels can also be stitched, or they can be combined with a base material that has a heat-seal backing

Leather labels: Real leather and imitation leather labels are available, with the latter being less prone to shrinkage and loss of colour. Logos can be hot stamped, embossed, printed or laser engraved, and cracked effect, suede and horsehair finishes are options. UKP can add a hot stamped stitch groove or stitch holes if the labels are to be sewn on, or they can be supplied with a heat-applied backing

Heat transfer labels: The flat heat transfer labels are silkscreen printed and often used as an alternative to a woven or printed neck label. Raised heat transfers made from silicone or PVC are increasingly used for external branding of garments and accessories, reports UKP. As the name suggests, they are applied using a heat press

Printed labels: Whether it‘s soft, natural cotton, polyester satin or TPU, UKP Accessories can make it. Designs can be Pantone-matched, and full colour photographic designs printed in CMYK are also possible. A variety of styles are available, from mitre folds to centre folds

Swing tickets: Paper and card are the most popular choices for swing tickets, whether they are coated, uncoated, recycled, textured or plastic-like (plike). They can also be made in fabric such as canvas, cotton, felt, metal, plastic, wood or faux leather. They can be die cut to any shape, and processes such as foil blocking, distressing and stitching are also available. The wide choice of strings and cords stretches from thick rope string to satin ribbon

Clothing badges: These are available as embroidered badges, which are hardwearing and textured; soft, high build chenille embroidery badges that are associated with varsity jackets; cost-effective woven badges; and printed badges that allow for fine details such as logos with small elements. They are generally sewn on, but UKPAccessories can supply a glue backing so they can be heat applied

Cord ends and stoppers: There are a variety of styles of cord ends that offer different ways of attaching them. The 100mph cord end here is made from a die-cast alloy material and has a large hole at one end and a smaller hole at the other. The cord is pushed through the end and knotted

The Loot cord end: This uses a brass material with a rubber finish and laser logo. The cord is usually glued into the end and it can be crimped at the opening to make more secure

Woven labels: Damask woven labels are the most popular choice thanks to the clarity they bring to fine designs and details text. Satin woven labels offer a less detailed yet smooth and shiny appearance, while those looking for a lower cost option can plump for taffeta. Special woven effects are available, such as denim look, die cutting and padding. They come in a variety of folded styles, and need to be sewn on

Metal decals: These can be stitched on or attached with a press machine, depending on the style. The version pictured has flexible rear prongs that can be pushed through the material and then splayed out, ideal for handbags and purses

Zipper pulls: Die-cast metal zipper pulls, which are durable and strong, can be engraved or embossed then finished in a range of metal-plated, enamel or rubber-coated colours. Another version is injection-mould PVC, which allows full colour designs that can either be embossed, debossed or printed. Finally, there are real or imitation leather zip pullers, and woven polyester, an economical choice that can be added to an existing, unbranded metal puller


For those willing to invest in a press machine, there are more options open to them for in-house application, such as jeans rivets, snap fasteners, jeans buttons, decals and metal eyelets – UKP Accessories will supply a die-set with these products to fit your press machine.