Father & Son Lifetime Achievement
24th June 2014 Paul Andrews
David Nieper and Christopher Nieper receive the ECMOD Direct Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award for contribution to British fashion and home shopping
Founder of the British-made fashion brand, David Nieper, and his son, Christopher Nieper, have been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 ECMOD Direct Commerce Awards, for their outstanding contribution to British fashion and the home shopping industry.
The father and son team, were recognised at a gala awards ceremony at the Hurlingham Club, London on 5 June 2014, for their 50 year commitment to British-designed and British-made fashion and building of the successful David Nieper brand – which is sold direct-to-consumers in the UK and overseas.
David Nieper established his namesake company in 1961, designing and manufacturing luxury lingerie and nightwear in Alfreton, Derbyshire. Christopher Nieper, who joined the company in 1986, is managing director and his father David Nieper remains the company’s creative director.
A second-generation family business, David Nieper is still based in Alfreton and is currently enjoying its highest-ever level of sales. The company exports over a third of its British-made fashion globally, with the style conscious French, providing the company’s biggest overseas market.
Nigel Swabey, President of the CatEx Direct Commerce Association and Chairman of direct retailer Scotts & Co, who presented the Lifetime Achievement Award, said: “Ever since the launch of the first David Nieper colour catalogue in 1984, I have been tracking the remarkable progress and achievements of this dynamic father and son team and I’m full of admiration for what they have done to build their business and establish David Nieper as a quintessentially British brand."
“Whilst the vast majority of UK clothing brands have abandoned UK garment manufacturing, David and Christopher have stuck to their guns and persevered with UK design and manufacture across their range. They have succeeded with this strategy by making a virtue of the very ‘Britishness’ of their designs and the quality of their manufacturing process."
“Many congratulations to both David and Christopher. Together with their team in Alfreton, Derbyshire they have created a company and a brand of which they can be very proud indeed.”
Previously selling through well-known retailers such as Harrods and Selfridges, David Nieper took the bold decision to switch to sell direct to consumers in the late 1980’s, and in so doing never left Britain – despite the offshoring of many of the UK’s retailers and fashion manufacturers that went overseas in search of low cost labour.
Choosing to go against this ‘offshoring’ trend and remain steadfast in its commitment to British manufacturing and jobs, David Nieper has put in place a number of education initiatives such as schools involvement, internships and university scholarships – aimed at passing on specialist fashion manufacturing skills to the next generation and to deliver continuous and sustainable growth.
The company, which is almost completely vertical in structure, has also invested considerably in its manufacturing infrastructure and since the beginning of the last recession has launched both its own in-house knitwear division and a new state-of the-art catalogue printing facility.
The ECMOD Direct Commerce Awards, now in its 16th year, celebrates the success of home shopping businesses across 25 categories, forming part of the annual ECMOD CatEX DCA industry conference. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognises outstanding individual contributions to the sector, and has been presented to only eight people in the past, including Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris of Hotel Chocolat, Chrissie Rucker of The White Company, and Nick Wheeler of Charles Tyrwhitt.
Receiving the award, managing director, Christopher Nieper, said: “It was a huge surprise to receive the award on the night and it's wonderful for our company to be recognised for its longstanding commitment to British-made fashion."
“The award is also for my father, the founder of our company and each and every member of staff – many of whom have been with us for over 25 years, it's their skills and commitment which has made the business what it is today.”
David Nieper employs 230 highly skilled staff in Alfreton, Derbyshire. The company is experiencing continued growth, taking on over 40 new staff since the beginning of 2013.