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The last UK kit manufacturers?

With an increasing amount of football kit suppliers and brands choosing to import their goods from abroad, it seems that sourcing a new football kit which is manufactured in the UK is next to impossible.  Well, not quite.  Tucked away in Wigan, Lancashire, kit brand Sporta represent a rare showcase of football kit manufacturing with a unique printing method that can’t be found elsewhere.

After witnessing the mass exodus of manufacturing from the UK and with over 25 years experience in the market, Sports Attire was formed with the brand Sporta and has gone onto work with the likes of Blackpool and Cambridge City in football and a host of rugby clubs including Salford Reds and Harlequins.

“We had the expertise and experience so we decided to set up a company with the purpose of dealing with clubs both professional and amateur directly as well as for the major brands that needed kit quickly,” owner Neil Smith explains.

“Contact sports, in particularly rugby, need a good product to stand up to the rigours of the sport and we found imported products often failed to do it.  We can produce in four weeks whereas if you’re importing you have to wait over a much longer process from the time of placing an order,” he added.

Furthermore to being produced in the UK, Sporta’s unique digital printing method, which sees the ink embedded into the fabric, allows clubs to have a robust kit and a completely bespoke design which eliminates the need for embroidery.

Smith said: “Embroidery is heavy and holds water.  We have perfected the process of permanent ink transfer which prints into the fabric.  As a result of this technology we have gone into a variety of sports.

“We can specifically tailor the kit to exactly what a club wants, we can create a design or clubs can design their own and I firmly believe the product is second to none.  The digital printing we are using at the moment is fantastic.  There is no restriction on the amount of colouring we can use or on design.  We can even place photographs onto kit, such as imposing stadiums onto shirts, it’s an exciting era in shirt manufacturing.

“We often get asked to develop something completely different and off the wall from clubs and we can do it, there are no limitations, whatever a design thought a club has we can make it and the players can be wearing it!”

With a small yet dedicated team, Sporta have built a reputation by liaising with clients from their initial ideas to a final concept to deliver to clubs their design on time.

“Often we have heard of clubs being let down by imported kit which has seen them not have the kit ready for launch, we are in a prime position to ensure the kit is delivered on time to spec.”

Sporta produce kit across football, rugby, ice hockey and more, for professional, amateur and educational institutions.   For more information visit www.­sportsattire.­co.­uk, call 01942 825841 or e-mail sportaone@yahoo.co.uk.

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