Magherafelt-based KK Model is benefiting from a revival of interest in traditional, bespoke school wear, particularly in Great Britain, and now counts top English schools among its expanding client base.

The company, has also been helped with marketing techniques from Invest NI’s Marketing Awareness Programme.

Over the past year, KK Model has supplied uniform garments such as skirts, pinafores, coats and jackets to the top 12 independent schools in Great Britain, including North London Collegiate, Wycombe Abbey in Buckinghamshire and Godolphin School for Girls at Salisbury in Buckinghamshire and won contracts from Whitehall Clothiers in London and London Oratory.

Michele Shirlow, Invest NI’s Deputy Director of Trade said: “KK Model is an example of how a company in the hard pressed clothing industry can achieve success through a combination of niche marketing and a focus on fast response manufacture of dependably high quality products to customer requirements.

“KK Model has diversified in order to exploit market opportunities. The move into bespoke schoolwear carries forward a longstanding expertise in quality garment manufacture that stretches back over 50 years,” she added.

Mona Huston, KK Model’s Marketing Director, said the company expects to double its sales by 2006 from a proactive marketing of its expertise and customer services to independent schools in Great Britain.

“During the MAP course we carried out a survey of independent schools in the South East of England. This highlighted increasing demand for bespoke school uniforms.

“The programme helped us to pinpoint a niche market for private label schoolwear, the type of high quality, bespoke and low volume garments that are our speciality, and gave us the expertise and confidence to market our services proactively.

”Another factor contributing to the renewed interest in bespoke uniforms is the development of school league tables, which are now being published in national newspapers such as the Sunday Times. This has produced a sharper focus on image and identity,” added Mrs Huston.