PCIAW®: 2022 a year in review

PCIAW® is proud to report that 2022 was a year of growth for the professional clothing industry, despite the odds being stacked against it.

The world may have opened following the pandemic, but the war in Ukraine caused further unexpected disruption to supply chains and sent energy costs skyrocketing, with reports of bills rising by up to 650% for some textile manufacturers.

Yet the professional clothing industry grew according to market analysts, Plimsoll Publishing – outpacing the rate of inflation and seeing the industry’s performance move up into the top third rank of the 1600 industries that the company analyses.

Key themes of 2022 for professional clothing

The PCIAW® Summit in 2022 demonstrated the professional clothing industry’s ability to persevere with innovation throughout turbulent conditions. Sustainability and inclusivity were overlooked subjects just a few years ago – yet in 2022 – they were key themes that captured the minds of the attentive audience.

Sustainability and traceability of professional clothing

Taking the host Charles Ross by surprise, Major General, Simon Hutchings OBE from the UK Ministry of Defence took to the stage to speak on his actions in exploring circular economics in uniform and PPE requirement setting for future tenders. The Ministry of Defence is now progressing with its value proposition to consider the environmental impact and social value of its professional clothing consumption, set to demand detailed transparency in contractors’ supply chains.

Designing for workforce inclusivity

Inclusivity in professional clothing earned recognition in 2022, as businesses’ experience of skill shortages accentuated the topic in the year of the ‘Great Resignation’. Karen Sparrow, Red Sparrow Consulting and Debbie Huntley, PULSAR® deliberated the factors for uniform manufacturers and procurers to consider, including female fit, gender neutrality and physical accessibility.

PCIAW® experienced growth in 2022

16 new members joined PCIAW® in 2022 from across the supply chain and throughout the world, whilst a new website was launched to better serve our members.

The PCIAW® trade delegation to Tunisia was a first for the professional clothing association. Advocating nearshore manufacturing partnerships as a solution to supply chain disruptions, PCIAW® worked with the Tunisian Embassy to source high-quality, cost-effective manufacturers with experience in the uniform, workwear and PPE markets for our members to visit and tour the factories. The trade delegation was highly successful with great feedback from attendees and was complete with a return delegation exhibiting at the PCIAW® Summit & Awards in London.

PCIAW® partnerships flourished in 2022

PCIAW® nurtured partnerships and forged new ones. Yvette Ashby rigorously represented the professional clothing industry within Textiles 2030, ensuring uniforms, workwear and PPE are properly considered alongside fashion and retail in the campaign’s efforts to reduce the environmental impact of textiles through the adoption of circular economics.

Continuing the work with Business in the Community (BITC), PCIAW® began its next project, supporting buyers of uniforms, workwear and PPE to connect and collaborate to create a Joint Statement of Demand, which will signal intention for future tenders to seek innovation in sustainable garments with an end-of-life plan.

PCIAW® also joined forces with the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) and the National Fire Chief Council to delve further into the PPE industry, uncovering some of the challenges faced in the markets, considering the industry standards currently set and how accessible these are as more women enter workforces that were previously male-dominated.

Looking forward to 2023

As the professional clothing industry begins 2023, optimism abounds following a hugely successful 2022.

PCIAW® will be proving its global credentials as the international trade body prepares to launch the PCIAW® Summit & Awards event in Portugal for the very first time.

Our association listens to the members who are looking to manufacture nearshore or already manufacture in Portugal and see this as a fantastic opportunity to provide added value by providing opportunities to source factories, expand the network and share knowledge.

Yvette Ashby, Founder & CEO of PCIAW® remarks: “Every year I am increasingly impressed by the innovations in technology and sustainability within the professional clothing and textiles industries, and the past few years have been no exception. In 2023 we have an opportunity to learn from developments in PPE and the supply chain following the Covid-19 pandemic, and we look forward to helping our members, new and old, achieve growth in this thriving sector.

PCIAW® has welcomed 22 new members in 2022 and is also delighted to welcome 3 new staff to our dedicated team for 2023. As an organisation we aim to nurture development within the professional clothing and textiles industries, providing a platform for new talent in the field. This is why we continue to run the PCA VISION competition, taking place in Portugal this November. PCA VISION creates opportunities for student designers to showcase their sustainable professional clothing designs, opening a space for fresh ideas and innovations in the professional clothing industry.

We at PCIAW® remain optimistic and confident that 2023 will prove to be a great year for the industry, and we are privileged to work together with our members to foster connections within the supply chain, promote circularity in garment design, and ultimately advance the interests of the professional clothing industry.”

PCIAW Uniform Networks Buyer, Trusted member