Retail group on a mission to save European clothing and leather producers

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During the last decade almost all clothing and footwear manufacture in Europe has been relocated to low cost centres in Asia and South America. Now a new UK retailing group is being launched to help save jobs in traditional manufacturing regions in the hard hit Italian and Spanish economies. The Federation of European Employers reports .....

Today there are only a handful of producers and even Italian leather is being shipped to China to be made into bags and purses

The growth of cause-related businesses since the mid-70s has seen the emergence of 'Body Shop' with its emphasis on the environment and 'AquAid Water Coolers' helping to bring clean water supplies into many parts of Africa. The latest and most ambitious initiative to date is shortly to be launched through a series of fashion boutiques originating in the west of England.

The Anna Perra Fashion Group has not one, but two causes. The first is to reverse the hemorrhaging of clothing and footwear manufacture from traditional centres in Europe to low cost production countries such as India and China. The second mission is to raise the self-esteem of middle-aged and older women who all too frequently internalise the social expectations of others and make them settle for dullness and frumpiness.

The Italian founder of the business, Anna Perra, speaks with passion and determination about her beliefs that the modern world can change fundamentally if people can only be prepared to select what they wear from a sense of their own individuality and not be drawn in by the cheap mass imports from the far east.

“ Italy used to be alive with the bustle of often small clothing producers making innovative clothing from local designers. Today there are only a handful of producers and even Italian leather is being shipped to China to be made into bags and purses that will not last the lifetime that home produced items were made to do.”

Anna is no less committed to her concern about women who too often lose an interest in the way they look when they start a family or have to don conventional business clothing to further their careers.

“ A person’s self-confidence and esteem does stem - to a large extent - from their image of themselves. Very often older women are frightened to change the way they look for fear of critical comments from their family and suspicions from their partner that they are having an affair. I want women to break through this barrier and also realise that it does not have to cost a fortune to look great again. Sometimes it only takes a simple accessory - such as a new smart bag or scarf - to change the way that other people regard you and, more importantly, to change the way you feel about yourself”.

Anna Perra Fashion will be rolling out its boutiques across the south of England over the next three years and its first outlet is in the Somerset town of Shepton Mallet.

“I suppose, admits Anna, I even have a third cause. Because I would like my shops to bring life to towns that seem to have lost their way. Shepton Mallet lies under the shadow of the lovely Mendip Hills, but has always played second fiddle to its neighbouring cathedral city of Wells. I hope that my shop there will bring a ray of light to the crumbling high street of Shepton Mallet and encourage other adventurous and outward-looking enterprises to follow.”

Although the intention is to begin with just five boutiques in the west of England – all styled in a unique way, with a luxuriant feel – Anna has plans which extend well beyond the UK. Even bringing Italian and Spanish produced fashion to cities and towns around the Mediterranean..

The launch of her first shop by the acclaimed women’s novelist Kylie Fitzpatrick will take place at 6.30pm on Friday, September 21st. Please contact Anna if you would like to attend the reception.

For further information contact Anna on 07939 321 423 or anna(at)annaperra(dot)com.

Anna Perra Fashion Limited is a corporate member of The Federation of European Employers (FedEE) and participates in its 'Partnership for Jobs' Programme.

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