Castledawson Link To Business Deal In South Korea

Savile Row shirts designed in Castledawson will shortly go on sale throughout South Korea with help from Invest Northern Ireland.

The company, which employs 110 people in the Co Londonderry town, has recently signed a major licensing deal in Korea with one of Asia’s top clothing businesses. Invest NI’s office in Seoul, the Korean capital, helped Savile Row to find the Korean partner.

Jeffrey Doltis, Savile Row’s Managing Director, says: “Our research highlighted South Korea as potentially a very strong market for our range of quality garments. Business people in particular in Korea still dress formally and look for ‘London look’ suits and shirts. I approached Invest NI’s advisor on strategic alliances and was introduced to the office in Seoul. Staff there researched the market and found the right licensing partner for us.

“We are supplying our new partner with suits, shirts, ties and casualwear. The shirts will be designed by the team in Castledawson. Our logistics and merchandising operations, which support our licensing and franchise retail business, are also based at our factory in the town.

“Licensing is now the fastest growing part of our business. We’ve also been experiencing significant growth in franchising particularly in Asia where we now have a network of over 25 Savile Row shops in markets such as Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. In Thailand, for example, we now have 15 Savile Row franchised shops selling shirts designed in Castledawson but manufactured in Asia,” he adds.

Alan Hingston, lnvest NI’s Trade Director, says: “Savile Row is demonstrating that substantial business benefits can flow from a strategy focused on strategic alliances and blended sourcing: that combines manufacturing in low cost regions with higher value added activities, such as design and fast response production in Northern Ireland.   The company has used a range of our Passport to Export services to develop a strong market position worldwide that is also benefiting its local operations.”

Savile Row has strengthened its design and merchandising operations in Northern Ireland – it currently employs 50 people in these activities. A further 60 people at Castledawson manufacture quality shirts, mostly for upmarket retailers in the British Isles including the company’s own shop at Savile Row in London. The company has a contact centre in Castledawson for its successful mail order business.

It has also been helped by Invest NI to develop a partnerships in the US and India. It has been making quality shirts since 1938 for customers in over 30 countries worldwide. It has also expanded its business to provide suits and ties.