The British Footwear Association kicked off its 120th Anniversary celebrations in style with a reception at the Houses of Parliament, hosted by the Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom MP.
Ms Leadsom spoke of her family connections to the footwear industry and encouraged BFA members to approach the challenges and changes in trade arising from Brexit, as a chance to push forward positively to a wider, world-wide audience.
BFA CEO John Saunders underlined the importance of working together in these unsettled times, highlighting that members are ‘stronger together’ under the BFA umbrella than they are alone. He said: “British Footwear continues to prove its resilience and flexibility under pressure. UK shoes are in increasing demand around the world, being recognised for great quality, innovation and design.
Mr Saunders added: “Brexit brings a new set of challenges but the sector is in a great place to exploit the new opportunities that will come from new trade agreements and relationships in the future.”
BFA chairman, Dan Gyves outlined the history of the BFA during a speech at the event. He highlighted the contribution footwear manufacturers had made to British industry over the last 120 years and recognised the problems faced by those in the past were still the focus of businesses today.
“From BFA’s inception in 1898, through to its centenary in 1998, similar issues albeit with a different and contemporary emphasise repeatedly arise,” Mr Gyves explained. “International trade, training, collective working and bargaining and promotion of our members are as important today as they were in years past.”
He also highlighted of the importance of the BFA’s work for the footwear industry: “Trade bodies are critical in enabling industries to collectively debate and take action on issues of the day. We are incredibly proud to launch a new website and ‘look’ for the BFA, enabling us to offer better promotion of members and better communication between us all.
“The BFA remains committed to supporting the British footwear industry during this period of dynamic evolution. Not just on international trade but throughout retail, design and product development.”
The BFA will be celebrating its 120th anniversary throughout 2019. Further details can be found on our website.