David Nieper is a family run business in the heart of Derbyshire, which has been designing and making premium women’s fashion, since 1961.
The company employs 300 staff and traditional dressmaking techniques to create designs that are expertly cut and made to fit and flatter.
This year David Nieper was delighted to be awarded The Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development, as well as being voted British Manufacturer of the Year 2020 and Sustainable Manufacturer of the Year by Make UK.
The company has never taken fashion production overseas, but prioritises the creation of British jobs in textiles. David Nieper runs its own Sewing Academy to pass specialist skills onto future generations.
During the COVID 19 crisis David Nieper has been supporting our NHS by making high quality scrubs, reusable surgical gowns and clinical hoods for 21 British hospitals.
Why did your business decide to apply for a Queen’s Award for Enterprise?
The company has always put its people at the heart of business and promoted the responsible use of natural resources.
Unfortunately, the fashion industry in general is one of the worst offenders when it comes to global pollution, producing an estimated 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year – more than international flights and the maritime trade combined.
We are facing catastrophic climate change. Industrial globalisation has decimated British textile manufacturing, leaving us hopelessly exposed to offshore supply chains.
The events of 2020 have shown us that not only is manufacturing in the UK more sustainable – it is fundamental to the future of our country.
What has winning the award meant for your business and staff?
A Queen’s Award is the highest recognition a British company can receive, we are hugely honoured to be one of two British fashion manufacturers to receive a Sustainable Development award.
We would like to the thank Queen’s Award for introducing a sustainability category and putting environmental and social sustainability on the national agenda for business.
This award is extended to our whole team and to everyone that has worked with us over 60 years. David Nieper very proud to be recognised by the Queen’s Award and looks forward to a new dawn of sustainable, British made textiles with environmental and social sustainability at the heart of the national agenda.
How will winning the Award benefit your business?
Having our commitment to sustainability recognised through winning the Queen’s Award enables us to take greater leadership in sustainable British manufacturing.
Through manufacturing in Britain we have been able to play our part in the fight again COVID 19. Indeed, as the UK has faced the unprecedented challenges of this year, David Nieper immediately switched production and transferred skills to making high quality and re-usable PPE for doctors and nurses on the frontline.
Encouraging hospitals to swap from using disposable, plastic gowns produced overseas to reusable gowns produced in the UK, dramatically reduces the amount of waste generated, the associated disposal costs and the travel miles.
The company estimates that based on current gown usage in UK hospitals, around 170,000 tonnes CO2 emissions can be saved, by making reusable gowns in the UK as opposed to disposable gowns made overseas.
Do you have any advice for future Queen’s Award applicants?
Persistence wins! Look to the future, keep manufacturing local and ensure a sustainable supply chain.
Our company has always prioritised our community - creating jobs for local people and playing a key role in local education.
David Nieper’s education trust sponsors education at all levels including an entire secondary school for 850 pupils in the community.
Our business celebrates our 60th year next year, to be here and thriving in another 60 years – we must all invest in young people, skills and in the future.