The Schoolwear Association (SA) has issued a call for new members, asking the schoolwear industry to unite ahead of challenges facing both the retailers and suppliers of school-branded uniform.

With the Education Bill (concerning the cost of school uniforms) due to progress through UK parliament and be signed into law later this year, as well as the ongoing challenges caused by Covid-19, the SA has warned that it will need further support from the industry to represent it to its best ability.

Co-chair Matthew Easter explained: “Like any trade body, we rely on the support of our members. We have had a long-established base of membership, but over the course of the last year we have faced unprecedented challenges to the industry, and these obstacles will not be going away.

“The fundraising that we started in late 2019 was vital to enable us to give the industry a voice in parliament, and ensure that the costs of uniform and the supportive way the industry works with schools, parents and pupils was better understood.

“However, for us to continue to ensure that future guidelines are sensible and practical, we need the more support from schoolwear retailers and suppliers who are not currently part of the SA.

“Membership of the Schoolwear Association is based on signing up to the principles set out in our Code of Practice, so that we can continue to increase standards across the industry, as well as sharing best practice and strengthening links between schools, retailers, manufacturers and suppliers.

“Members’ businesses benefit from these principles, as well as the Association’s media and lobbying presence and networking opportunities, meaning that membership represents great value for money.

“Given the pressures facing businesses in all sectors, we know the coming weeks and months will be challenging, but with increased support from our industry we will be able to do even more to support its interests.”