Time to take carbon off the catwalk

On the eve of London Fashion Week, (17-21 Sept) a leading UK environmentalist and textile manufacture today calls on the fashion industry to stop polluting and take carbon off the catwalk.

CEO David Nieper Ltd, Christopher Nieper OBE said; “We are facing catastrophic climate change – fast fashion’s offshore manufacturing habit is a major contributor to the environmental crisis across the globe and is alone responsible for between 5-8% of global emissions every year.[1]

Yet, there is no clear plan from government on how to mitigate the damage being done by fashion and textiles in light of the UK’s net zero targets for 2050.

The majority of consumers care about the planet, and would choose responsibly produced garments given the choice. The fashion industry should come together and create a plan to clean up fashion by empowering consumer choice.

The UK is a world leader in fashion. London Fashion Week is itself influential and could be used as a platform to help bring about change. I’m dismayed to see that the UK’s ambitions to take a leading role in tackling climate change appear to exclude the fashion industry.

For fashion to ever be sustainable the whole system needs an overhaul, including the endless, complex supply chains. We need a step change in the way we source fashion and where it’s manufactured.”

Only a fraction of British designed fashion is actually made in Britain. UK fashion manufacturing only accounts for 3.3% value of total fashion industry in Britain. The total retail value of fashion and textiles in the UK is [2]£26billion, while the manufacture of clothes is worth £1.6 billion.

Similarly, while fashion is the UK’s largest creative industry supporting 800,000 jobs, only 26,900 [3] (just 3%) actually make clothes.

Christopher added: “Sustainable fashion needs sustainable manufacturing at its heart, and this can’t occur while the fashion industry does nothing to reduce carbon in clothes or take fossil fuels out of the supply chain.

Ultimately, the practice of offshoring fashion manufacturing essentially amounts to offshoring pollution.  Two-thirds of emissions from UK clothing currently occur overseas, this is not acceptable – it cannot be out of sight, out of mind.  It’s time to stop offshoring carbon emissions and start taking responsibility.”

In 2019 Christopher’s family business – David Nieper Ltd commissioned an academic study, which showed that a garment produced at the David Nieper factory in Derbyshire emits 47% LESS emissions than a similar garment produced overseas[4].

The report shows the biggest contributing factor to cleaner and more efficient manufacturing in the UK, is due to the lower carbon intensity of electricity supply network.

The UK has significantly lower carbon emissions per unit of electricity compared to overseas fashion production hubs such as China, Bangladesh and Turkey; therefore production in the UK has lower direct carbon emissions – making it a more sustainable manufacturing base.

The report also revealed that energy used in making clothes is dwarfed when compared to the energy used ‘upstream’ in the textile supply chain. Printing and dyeing fabrics accounts for over 70% of the total carbon emissions in garment production.

Following the report, the business has invested £4.5million in a new solar powered fabric print factory to re-shore its supply chain and bring textile manufacturing back to Britain. It is the biggest investment the company has made in sustainable production.

The new facility means that the fashion brand can now print and dye its’ own fabrics, making the entire production process sustainable and 100% traceable. Indeed, this year the majority of David Nieper’s collection will be printed and dyed in Derbyshire, using technology that helps mitigate environmental impact through significant water and energy savings.

Christopher added, “Manufacturing in Britain makes business accountable and allows control over each step of the production process. It also creates much-needed British jobs.

Greta is right – we are the custodians of our planet for future generations.

We can manufacture sustainably in this country and it makes commercial sense to do so.”


For further information and interviews contact

David Nieper Press Office

[email protected]

07904 257687



  • Christopher Nieper
  • David Nieper Factory, Derbyshire
  • Citarum River, Indonesia featured in BBC Documentary Fashion’s Dirty Secret. Environmental destruction of this area is attributed to local clothing factories which are linked to British high street chains.

[1] https://www.stand.earth/markets-vs-climate/fossil-free-fashion

[2] https://www.britishcouncil.org/research-policy-insight/insight-articles/power-fashion

[3] ONS BRES Survey

[4] https://press.davidnieper.co.uk/academic-study-reveals-uk-manufacturing-is-47-greener/

Paying tribute to founder David Nieper, who has died age 90

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Mr David Nieper has died. He passed away peacefully on Wednesday, 11 August.

David Nieper established his fashion brand David Nieper Ltd 60 years ago – this year being the diamond anniversary.

The company and people were his life’s passion. Decades of loyal customers inspired him to always go the extra mile in designing and making beautiful clothes in Britain, and he worked tirelessly with his team until his final days.

Over the years the family company has grown from a fledgling business to an international fashion brand employing over 300 staff. In recent years, David focused on the collections and creative direction of the brand, working alongside his son Christopher Nieper OBE, company CEO.

David recorded his memoirs and his fascinating journey in building the David Nieper brand in his book, Persistence Wins published in 2019.

His creativity, flair for style and joie de vivre will live on in his collections to be enjoyed by customers across the globe.

His quick wit and sense of humour will be remembered fondly, by all who knew and worked with him.

David celebrated his 90th birthday last month surrounded by his family. The family and everyone at David Nieper Ltd will miss him enormously.

Further announcements will be made in due course.

Tony Walker CBE DL joins David Nieper Ltd as Non–Executive Director

Tony Walker CBE DL, former Deputy Managing Director of Toyota and High Sheriff of Derbyshire is to join Derbyshire fashion and textiles firm David Nieper Ltd, as Non-Executive Director as the company enters its 60th year in business.

Tony’s avid interest manufacturing whilst supporting education and environmental initiates has struck a chord with the textiles firm.

Tony brings a wealth of business acumen and 40+ years British and European manufacturing experience to the position. He has played a key role at national level in automotive and manufacturing affairs representing the sector to government. He was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2018 for services to the motor industry.

Regionally, as the Prince’s Ambassador for Responsible Business for East Midlands, he has been a champion of local business, promoting responsible business practice and supported many educational and environmental initiatives.

David Nieper Ltd. sponsors education at all levels including its local secondary school in its hometown of Alfreton.  The company is also a national leader in environmental best practice, having won a the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development and been awarded British Manufacturer of the Year 2020 by Make UK.

Tony commented:   “I am delighted to join David Nieper as a non-executive board member with a particular involvement in manufacturing. David Nieper is the best sort of company – showing commitment to manufacturing in the UK, to their employees, their community and their customers. They take a long-term approach as demonstrated by their significant investment in new manufacturing facilities and to training and apprenticeships.

I hope to add value to the board, ably led by Christopher, as they build even greater competitiveness to ensure this family business continues to contribute to Alfreton and Derbyshire for many years to come”

Christopher Nieper, CEO David Nieper Ltd commented:

“This is a really exciting time for Tony to join us. This year our company celebrates 60 years in business, manufacturing sustainably in Britain, supporting our local community through developing education and skills, and promoting environmental best practice in fashion and textiles.

I am delighted to welcome Tony and know we’ll all enjoy working with him and benefitting from his considerable manufacturing experience.   I think he might enjoy the world of fashion!”



For further information contact:

David Nieper Press Office

[email protected]

 07904 257687


David Nieper Brings Sustainable Jobs and Skills Boost to the Region

David Nieper, international fashion brand based in Derbyshire is bringing a much needed jobs and skills boost to the region with a campaign to create 30 new jobs in fashion production, and rollout an extended fashion and textiles apprenticeship programme this year.

This year, the company has a renewed focus on creating sustainable fashion and is recruiting and training more dressmakers to meet consumer demand.  However, as the country slowly emerges from the grips of the pandemic and with social distancing measures still in place, training programmes have also had to change and adapt to comply with restrictions.

Christopher Nieper OBE, CEO David Nieper Ltd commented:

“A sewing machine is no longer enough to train a machinist, today we also need a tablet and GoPro!

I have great admiration for our fantastic team of supervisors, who with over 20 years experience are really getting to grips with new technology to ensure their skills are passed onto the next generation of David Nieper dressmakers.”

The training cycle works on a ‘plan–do –review’ method using videos clips. Cameras are now positioned within the sewing rooms to capture the experienced machinist’s techniques on film, the footage is then be viewed on a tablet, by the trainee to demonstrate best practice.

Christopher continued:

“Job and skills have become a casualty from the pandemic, however with some ingenuity these obstacles can be overcome to allow business to move forward.

As a nation we are seeing mass unemployment with most jobs hugely oversubscribed, yet in textiles recruiting skilled people remains our single biggest problem.  In recent decades the textiles industry in the UK has shrunk beyond recognition, resulting in fewer skilled dressmakers.

However, increasing pressure on government and the industry to support sustainable fashion in the UK, means that British fashion production is now a growth industry, and increasingly offers a wealth of career options.”

David Nieper is looking for dressmakers of all abilities – from experienced seamstresses, to complete beginners, hobby dressmakers and those who wish to totally retrain.

All new-starts will be given on the job training at the David Nieper Sewing Academy to assess abilities and to learn new skills, before they graduate into the sewing rooms.

In addition to the recruitment drive, the company is also preparing to rollout an extended apprenticeship programme.  Last year David Nieper became an officially recognized apprenticeship-training centre, monitored by Ofsted.

With the first apprentice due to complete as Level 2 Sewing Machinist in 2021, the company is extending the apprenticeship programme to include other textiles roles at both Level 2 and Level 3 including; sewing machinist, garment maker, material technologist, material cutters and knitwear technician.

Christopher added: “Derbyshire was once the British heartland of the textiles and our family business is striving to bring this back – we want to create more sustainable jobs, employ local people and make fashion that does not harm the environment.

We believe small towns like Alfreton are bursting with potential, and we are delighted to be able to offer the opportunity for local people to learn a skill and create gainful employment in the area.”

David Nieper will celebrate 60 years in business in 2021, and is one of the largest employers in Alfreton.

For further information on jobs please visit David Nieper careers centre





For further media information contact

David Nieper Press Office

[email protected]









David Nieper featured on Ch.5 documentary – ‘QE2 – The World’s Most Luxurious Hotel’

British fashion designer David Nieper brings a splash of quintessential English style to the small screen this week, as the designer’s SS2020 photo shoot is featured in Channel 5’s series QE2 – The World’s Most Luxurious Hotel (Friday 7thAugust, 9pm)

The episode offers a unique glimpse behind the scenes of a fashion shoot on board the world’s most iconic cruise liner, now a maritime museum and floating hotel in the heart of Dubai.

With up to 70 percent of David Nieper customers taking regular cruise holidays, and many of them on QE2 during her hay day, the ship offered a sophisticated, very British and nostalgic backdrop for this season’s collection.

Christopher Nieper, CEO David Nieper Ltd commented:

“We love to forge partnerships with brands that share our values, and with its British heritage the ship has much in common with David Nieper.  Like us, the QE2 is a child of the 60s both brands were born in the golden age of British fashion and manufacturing, a time of big, exciting ideas and revolutionary styling.

It is also quintessentially British with royal ties. Similarly, we’re proudly, thoroughly British, and have a few royal links of our own. Over the years we’ve been visited by HRH The Countess of Wessex and HRH The Princess Royal.”

Built in Scotland in the 1960s as a transatlantic liner, the QE2 began decades of service sailing 5.6million miles and carrying 2.5million passengers. It even transported 3,000 troops and 650 volunteer crewmembers during the Falklands war.

Lorna Kavanagh, Head of Marketing for David Nieper who directed the photo shoot earlier in the year added:

“It was an honour to be part of the documentary charting the history of the QE2.

David Nieper has been renowned for our travel wear for decades and the elegant, nautical surroundings of the ship perfectly framed our collection.

On board we were spoilt for choice in terms of locations for our shoot – from stylish bars, the newly opened Queen’s Grill, a traditional English pub, and even exclusive access to the bow of the ship, which gave us all kinds of different stories to tell.”

For more information on David Nieper collections visit www.davidnieper.co.uk



For further information contact

David Nieper Press Office

[email protected]

07904 257687


David Nieper Awards Top Local Design Talent

Three students from The University of Derby have had their talent recognised and been awarded with a £2000 scholarship, by leading British fashion designer David Nieper.

The second year fashion and textiles students had taken part in the prestigious annual David Nieper Fashion BA and Textile BA Scholarship, part of the company’s on-going commitment to supporting education and driving opportunity in the region.

The awards programme, which was run slightly differently this year due to the national lockdown, was met with no less enthusiasm by students who created a stunning selection of fabrics and fashion designs.

The overall winning student was Georgia Alligan, a textile student who won £1000 for her intricate and wearable knitwear design. Fashion student Caughley Harris was awarded top prize in the fashion category for her Nostalgic Bloomcollection winning £500, and Abigail Wales secured first place for her contemporary textile design for everyday wear also winning £500.

The students had been briefed to take inspiration from artists and designers of their choice to create a capsule collection of four garments – one each for nightwear, evening wear, day wear and travel wear designed specifically for the elegant and discerning older woman.

Christopher Nieper, CEO fashion firm David Nieper Ltd commented:

“It is so important to support these young people in their ambitions. There is a wealth of design talent in Derbyshire and each year the standards get higher – our judging panel faced a difficult task of making a shortlist of finalists.

We were really impressed by the winners’ technical abilities and creative flair. We also look for the attention students have paid to ensuring their designs are sustainable and made from ethically sourced materials. I would like to congratulate all of our talented winners.”

Kay Bolderson, Programme Leader Textile Design at the University of Derby, said:

“Working to the brief of a professional fashion house such as David Nieper gives our students great real life work experience.

We were very impressed by the vision of the students who have been able to create really outstanding designs, which are both incredibly creative and commercially sound. Well done to all of our winners.”


David Nieper works with education at every level to help raise standards and enhance employability of young people across the region.

The company strives to engage with young people at each stage of their education journey; from primary school design competitions, to secondary school work experience programmes, university scholarships for undergraduates, vocational training within the company’s own onsite sewing school and taking the lead in developing industry apprenticeships.




For media information contact:

 David Nieper Press Office

 [email protected]

 07904 257687



Christopher Nieper calls for government to put manufacturing at heart of ‘New Deal’

Reacting to the Prime Minister’s speech this week, a Derbyshire businessman who during the Covid 19 crisis converted his fashion business to supply vital PPE, has urged the Prime Minister to put manufacturing at the heart of his ‘New Deal’ for Britain.

Christopher Nieper, Chief Executive David Nieper Ltd, called upon the government to target its massive £238b procurement budget on the UK’s neglected manufacturing sector to both stimulate an industry renaissance and “build, build, build” the home front.

He commented: “Judging by the phenomenal national response of British manufacturers at a time of crisis, the sector is in great shape to help Britain bounce back. We suggest this is the moment where we unleash the power of manufacturing to reboot the economy, through harnessing the full potential of public sector procurement.”

Mr Nieper, who this year switched his factories’ production to making reusable surgical gowns and scrubs for 21 British hospitals, was disheartened to see recent reports that the country is ordering 3 million surgical gowns from China and Cambodia, while the UK jobless total continues to rise.

He continued: “Let’s start rebuilding Britain by adopting a more pro UK delivery and ordering agenda. I’d urge Lord Deighton to set an example and rescind his Cambodian and Chinese orders and buy British. Wouldn’t it be preferable to make these 3 million gowns in the UK and create thousands of jobs at the same time?”

“This is the watershed moment to rethink our national spending. Should we not consider replacing the policy of ‘how cheap can we get it’ with ‘how can we support our own economy in this time of crisis?’

“The government has huge spending power so why not use it to better effect?  It makes no sense to export work to the other side of the world and deny our own country the jobs and investment we so desperately need.

A public procurement test might be a win-win for us all and a foundation stone for Boris to level up Britain.”


For further information on David Nieper visit  https://press.davidnieper.co.uk



For further information and interviews with Christopher Nieper contact:

David Nieper, Press Office

[email protected]

07904 257687

Is British Manufacturing the Green Launchpad to a Brighter Economic Future?

This week, with calls for a ‘green reset’ to industry one Derbyshire businessman operating at heart of PPE production during the crisis, believes the re-launch of British manufacturing is the silver bullet that can boost the economy, protect the environmentwhile continuing to support the NHS.

In March, fashion firm David Nieper Ltd switched production to help the national effort and is now supplying reusable PPE to 21 British hospitals and has just received its biggest order to date.

Christopher Nieper, CEO David Nieper Ltd commented;  “Rebuilding Britain’s manufacturing must be central to the strategy to move out of economic lockdown.

Bringing our manufacturing home can in a single shot, launch our economic future, end this country’s reliance on unsustainable, overseas supply chains andprotect the environment.

Based on our own manufacturing figures and current NHS surgical gown usage, we estimate that we can save 170,000 tonnes CO2 emissions per year, (the equivalent of heating 63,000 households[1]) by making reusable gowns in the UK rather than disposable ones overseas, which is exponentially better for the environment.

And, this is for one line of gowns only. Consider the savings that could be made given the NHS requirements for scrubs, tunics, gloves, visors, aprons, gowns and hoods in such vast quantities.”

The NHS currently uses 150,000 disposable gowns a day, equating to 54.75 million gowns being discarded each year. This synthetic fabric waste could stretch across an area the size of 23,000 football pitches – all going to landfill.

This figure can be cut dramatically by swapping disposable gowns for reusable gowns, which can be washed up to 100 times and safely reworn – reducing both waste generated and associated disposal costs.

Last year, in partnership with the University of Nottingham, David Nieper carried out an [2]academic report into the environmental impact of offshore manufacturing, which concluded that 47% less emissions are created by manufacturing textiles in the UK, in comparison to a similar operation overseas.

Christopher continued; “Our report showed that environmental standards in manufacturing are not the same in all countries, and the carbon intensity of local networks differ enormously.

For example, according to our report a textiles manufacturer in Turkey would typically release around 70% more greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) while using the same energy as an operator in the UK.

This figure combined with unreliable supply and quality issues from overseas suppliers makes the current procurement system entirely unsustainable and is   testament to the fact that manufacturing in the UK is much more viable option.

Christopher, whose company has this year been awarded both the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Manufacturer of the Year by MAKE UK, also believes that the fallout from COVID 19 presents a huge business opportunity for British manufacturing.

“Again based on our own manufacturing figures, we estimate that the production of reusable surgical gowns alone could provide a £22 millionboost to the economy per year and support 1000 jobs.

The on-going demand for PPE in the management of the virus is immense. This is an exceptional opportunity that British manufacturers cannot afford to let slip through their fingers.

In the last 30 years we’ve lost two thirds of the UK’s manufacturing capacity, it now represents less than 10% GDP, yet manufacturing sector is one of the highest value adding sector for our economy.

A green jump-start for industry in the form of commitment to British manufacturing can help ensure a safer and more prosperous future for us all.”




For further media information contact

David Nieper Press Office

[email protected]

07904 257687





Christopher Nieper pens open letter to Lord Deighton

Christopher Nieper, Managing Director of David Nieper Ltd writes an open letter to Lord Deighton about securing quality and sustainable supply of PPE through British manufacturing…

Lord Deighton

House of Lords



Dear Lord Deighton,

As a manufacturing company, working on the front line to supply the NHS, I’m writing to support your efforts in the monumental task of unblocking the nation’s PPE and urge a radical rethink to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Following weeks of frustration and delay, I believe we must create a new category for all strategic supplies to the NHS as being of vital national importance. In doing so we prioritize short, sustainable supply lines and create closer co-operation between hospitals and local suppliers.

I read with disappointment, that rather than dismantle the central procurement bureaucracy which has caused delays, local hospital trusts have now been discouraged to work with local suppliers or to quote the press ‘banned’ from using local suppliers, therefore dampening the spirit that has proved valuable in recent weeks.

Our family business, based in Derbyshire has designed and manufactured high-end women’s fashion for sixty years.  We’re one of very few in British textiles to have remained loyal to British skills and never go offshore. We employ 300+ staff in our 5 factories in the town of Alfreton.

Allowing British textiles to become all but extinct has left us dangerously exposed to overseas supply and put our country at the mercy of others.  We wait while RAF planes sit on a runway in Turkey; we hear of 7-mile freight queues in China and of the transport cost to the UK rocketing from $3/kg to $22/kg. 

Our company was one of the first to turn our production over to supporting the NHS, first contacting the government on 16thMarch and I’m delighted to say that within a fortnight we’d cut patterns, bought fabric and were underway making PPE for frontline doctors and nurses. As I write we’re supplying over 20 hospitals with scrubs, clinical hoods and reusable surgical gowns.

Our staff are proud to have put themselves forward to work during the lockdown and hundreds of thousands of our own fashion brand customers have waited patiently in recent weeks.  It’s our contribution to the national effort.

However, reaching this position has been far from straightforward. Indeed, we have had to bypass central procurements systems entirely and work directly with our local hospital trusts to get vital PPE to the frontline.

From our experience going local has always been highly effective. In this case we used a local fabric supplier, we worked with the local hospital to design our reusable parachute gown, we produced locally and now supply top quality garments to our local doctors and nurses.

I have kept a dossier of events regarding our journey to supplying the NHS – including my first conversation in March and subsequent correspondence with NHS Supply Chain, Deloittes, Crowne Commercial and the Government – frustratingly none of whom have delivered for us.

Our government has a duty to protect our national health service and whilewe’re at it, why not use the opportunity to kick start British textiles for the rest of our economy to create jobs and wealth across Britain with value adding British manufacturing.

I’d be happy to support you in establishing secure British supply lines and Boris Johnson’s ambition to level up opportunity across our country.

Yours sincerely,


Christopher Nieper, OBE

Chief Executive, David Nieper Ltd.




New ‘Parachute Gown’ reduces need for disposable gowns in NHS

David Nieper fashion firm in Derbyshire has designed a unique, re-useable ‘parachute style’ surgical gown for frontline NHS staff, which could dramatically reduce the need across the NHS for disposable gowns.

Working in partnership with The University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, the David Nieper design team has created a prototype, which can be laundered by the hospital, then safely re-used 100 times by doctors and nurses on Covid-19 wards.

Christopher Nieper, CEO David Nieper Ltd commented:

“We are delighted that our doctors and nurses will benefit from our reusable gowns. We have enough fabric to make 12,500 gowns.  If these are washed 100 times they could potentially save the NHS buying 1.25 million disposable gowns.

We offered our suggestion of a re-usable gown in this exact fabric 4 weeks ago. It’s a great pity the Deloitte team, responsible for procurement of gowns didn’t grasp the potential of reusable equipment and has shown no interest in our British manufacturing capacity.

Meanwhile, the local university hospital trust in Derby has helped develop the prototype, approved the design and placed an order.”  

The gown is made from high quality, clinical barrier fabric which still meets the European Standard EN13795 for the prevention of transmission of infective agents, even after 100 washes at 73°C.

The unique ‘parachute design’ of the new gown also means that the wearer can safely disrobe and avoid contamination following their shift.

Traditional surgical gowns are fastened at the back, which requires the wearer to reach over the face and head to loosen the ties.  David Nieper’s gown has been designed with ‘parachute ties’ at the front of the shoulder, so can be easily unfastened to avoid contamination risk of the wearers face.

The gown is removed inside out so that germs are trapped inside and thedesign also allows the wearer to disrobe without assistance.

Kevin Downs, Executive Director of Finance and Performance at The University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust commented:

 “These gowns offer an excellent barrier, are of high quality and can be washed up to 100 times. At UHDB, we have a steady supply of PPE [from the national supply chain], but we are continuing to work with suppliers who may be able to supply and manufacture PPE locally so should we need to add to our levels of supplies to support the wider local health economy we can do so. We are delighted to have had the design approved for these gowns with David Nieper and look forward to the first delivery.”

Considering the longer-term use of the gowns Andrew McClaren, Deputy Medical Director at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust added:

“These gowns would obviously be helpful in the short term as the procurement team in the Trust battles daily to obtain the numbers of disposable gowns we need, but as it seems likely that precautions will be needed in the longer term a more robust supply of reusable gowns makes a lot of sense and would provide huge reassurance to our staff.”

The fact that the gown is reusable also means dramatically reducing the amount of waste generated and the associated disposal costs.





For further information contact:

David Nieper Press Office

[email protected]

07904 257687