Ian Maclean, Managing Director of John Smedley, has been awarded an MBE for services to the UK textile industry and the Covid-19 response. 

The recognition comes after a 20 year tenure at John Smedley, where Ian currently serves as Managing Director. Having grown up with the John Smedley brand as an 8th generation family member, Ian joined the business as a Non-Executive Director in 2000, progressing to Chairman in 2008, and finally becoming Managing Director in 2010. In 2013, John Smedley was granted the Royal Warrant of Appointment by Her Majesty The Queen, and received a visit from Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh in 2014.

Ian’s nomination highlights that during the Covid-19 crisis a proportion of John Smedley’s workforce were redeployed in May and June 2020 to make medical grade reusable scrubs garments for the NHS, including supplying the University Hospital of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, over 25 local GP surgeries and care homes free of charge. 

 To do this, Ian and colleagues worked alongside the Emergency Design Network (a London based collective of Fashion Designers and Makers) to purchase hospital approved fabrics from British workwear fabrics supplier, Carrington Textiles Ltd. After ensuring a safe working environment of the Lea Mills factory, a team of volunteer lock-stitchers, seamers and over-lockers from within the workforce was formed and trained to make the garments to the required NHS standards. This team then produced batches of reusable scrubs, eventually totalling over 1000 sets. John Smedley then continued to support the Emergency Design Network via the donation of over 7000 trims and labels to assist in the further manufacturing of PPE by other individuals around the country. 

Alongside the response to the Covid-19 crisis, Ian works to ensure the longevity of the timehonoured craft of manufacturing knitwear and other textiles in the UK through two pro bono roles he undertakes: 

 Vice-Chairman of UK Fashion Textiles (UKFT) – Ian has been a Director and Vice-Chairman of UKFT for 4 years, working on the major goals of the UKFT to bring together British designers, manufacturers, suppliers, agents and retailers to promote their businesses and the fashion and textiles industry, both in the UK and throughout the world. In the last few years, John Smedley has been responsible for over 12 British designers and brands bringing their manufacturing of knitwear back to the UK. In addition, John Smedley has also become the lead employer in the development of a new Knitting Apprenticeship Standard developed by UKFT. 

 Trustee and Honourable Treasurer of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) – Ian became a Trustee of QEST in May 2020 and has specific responsibility for the Charity’s finances. QEST is the UK’s premier charity supporting excellence in British craftsmanship through Scholarship funding. Now in it’s 30th year, QEST has supported over 550 Scholars and Apprentices with £4.8m of grants during that time. 

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