The Schoolwear Association held its inaugural Schoolwear Industry awards evening on 15 October, with Rowlinson Knitwear, Whittakers Schoolwear and Stevensons all taking the top honours. The awards were sponsored by Children’s Wear Buyer Magazine, Banner, William Turner and David Luke
Rowlinson Knitwear was named Best Schoolwear Supplier on account of its financial and customer satisfaction performance. Staff satisfaction was also high and the firm demonstrated significant investment in infrastructure, IT and service, according to the judges. Marton Mills secured the runners-up spot with National Weaving receiving a special mention.
The Best Schoolwear Specialist award went to Whittakers Schoolwear. The company impressed the judges with its recently refurbished store which has led to a notable increase in sales. Whittaker’s good relationships with suppliers, high levels of staff training, and regular involvement with schools and the local community also contributed to its success. Billings and Edmonds were named as runners-up, and Alleycatz received a special mention.
Stevenson secured The Best Digital Schoolwear award for the usability and responsive design of its recently upgraded website which includes an online appointment booking facility and the ability to download gender and year-specific price lists. The runner-up in this category was David Luke, with a special mention going to Michael Sehgal & Sons.
The Outstanding Service to Schoolwear award was presented to Rob Facey of William Turner for his 40 year service to the company as UK production manager. Kate Haigh of Charles Kirk was named as the runner-up and a special mention was given to Bernadette Hawkes of Falcon Sports.
A Lifetime Achievement Award was given to David Burgess, chairman of David Luke and the Schoolwear Association.
Representatives from across the industry gathered at the Strictly Come Dancing themed event to mark the achievements of the award winners and of the schoolwear sector as a whole. David Burgess, said: “The awards have been a wonderful celebration of an industry that is incredibly proud of its standards. The nominees and indeed the winners are proof that we have much talent in our sector.”
Rob Facey of William Turner (right) receives his Outstanding Service to Schoolwear award from Nigel Plenderleith of Banner