A family-owned textile firm, celebrating its 40th anniversary, plans to invest in textile manufacturing in the region.
Huddersfield-based SKA Textiles hosted HRH Princess Anne, who was given a tour of their factory on Graham Street, as they unveiled a new logo to mark 40 years.
Zeb Pervaiz, managing director, said he sees a future for textiles in Yorkshire, with the family moving back into knitting in 2013. He told The Yorkshire Post: “I hope other companies are going to onshore as well.
“Even in China, they want something made in the UK, made in Yorkshire and that’s what we’re giving them.”
Both Mr Pervaiz and his brother Sajid, who is the accountant, had taken the decision to exit knitting and import material from China, after they moved from Commercial Mills on Firth Street to the current site in 2003. At that point, SKA Textiles had around 130 knitting machines.
But in 2013 both the brothers took the decision to go back into knitting, starting off with 12 machines. Now the firm has 47 knitting machines as they have seen a growth in demand for quality material.
SKA Textiles was started in Dewsbury by their father, Khalid Pervaiz, and grandfather, Mohammed Siddiq, providing Jacquard fabric for ladies garments to local stores in the North.
Mr Pervaiz said: “They started the business back in 1975 with four knitting machines.
He added that his father got on with the work, displaying an entrepreneurial spirit. “He developed it and we went from four machines to eight machines to 12 machines in Dewsbury,” he said.
However, they wanted to expand the business further, but had run out of space. As a result in the 1980s they moved to Commercial Mills on Firth Street in Huddersfield.
Between the early part of the decade and 1988 SKA Textiles built a dye house with four machines – two new and two used. That along with its bigger knitting plant allowed the firm to offer quick turnaround times to customers.
Mr Pervaiz said: “We ran it five days a week, got fabrics in and out, got them dyed.”
It was at that point, in the early 1990s, that the business reached a crossroads.
“We had a choice, either go with the store groups or go with the sportsware. At that point football was taking off, Premier League had just been born then, so naturally the progression for us was to go into football jerseys,” said Mr Pervaiz.
SKA Textiles gained accreditation from the likes of Adidas, Nike and Reebok.
This led to an expansion of the knitting plant.
But towards the tail end of the decade the family noticed that a lot of the sportsware manufacturers were offshoring so that the fabric would be closer to where the garment makers were. The family decided to combat this by moving back into fashion.
It began supplying the likes of New Look, Arcadia Group and Debenhams. Capitalising on the fast fashion boom said Mr Pervaiz.
SKA Textiles employs 47 people. Mr Pervaiz said the turnover of the business is around £7m
Along with Zeb Pervaiz, his brother Sajid and father Khalid are all directors at the firm.
Taking on the Chinese firms
In 2013 SKA Textiles decided to move back into knitting, after exiting it in 2003, the family felt it could outdo Chinese companies on turnaround times and quality.
Zeb Pervaiz, said: “We can develop a fabric for customers to their specification within a week.”
He added that if a Chinese firm was to manufacture the fabric it would take three to four weeks with another five weeks for the materials to be shipped across. It allows SKA Textiles to move on from one order to another in a much shorter time than a rival manufacturer from the Far East.