Businesses are being urged to get tough on their staff uniforms by investing in workwear that is guaranteed not to rub them up the wrong way.
With the influx of cheap clothing on the high street, some businesses with an eye on cost-cutting may be thinking they can source an entire staff outfit for as little as £10 or £20.
But NKD Clothing, Scotland’s leading supplier of uniforms and corporate wear, is warning that with a cheap price tag comes poor quality and a short shelf life – creating a false economy for any business looking to project a good image through the credit crunch.
The Edinburgh-based company says the fabrics used to make its high quality garments have been tested vigorously – with the equivalent of the IKEA-style mattress test being used to prove they can endure up to 50% more friction rubbing than high street brands.
Gill Eastgate, Director of NKD Clothing, said: “Garments you buy on the high street are not meant to last.
“The fabrics and construction methods used are less durable. This is done on purpose; the retailer wants us to go out each new season and buy new garments.
“Although this is perfectly fine for fashionable pieces that go out of date quickly and may only be worn a couple of times, it is not suitable for uniforms that are worn day in and day out and are used to project the image of a company.
“It may be sound odd to think about the chafing factor of a pair of trousers, but with this test comes the reassurance that what you have bought will last.
“I understand that many businesses are struggling through this economic downturn but scrimping on the quality of staff uniforms now will cost a business more in the future.”
All the products NKD Clothing supplies are selected from corporate ranges or designed bespoke using fabrics which have been tested to withstand the demands from everyday wear in a corporate environment.
Within the textile industry one of the main fabric tests carried out is called the Martindale Abrasion Test, where fabric is rubbed together on a machine to a point where the fibres tear and break down – this is to stimulate rubbing and abrasion in wear.
In high street stores such as Marks & Spencer and Next the fabrics used break down between 16,000 and 20,000 rubs and this level is deemed acceptable for retail use.
And the construction quality of garments from lower end stores such as Primark is so poor that they could fall apart after just a few wears.
For corporate use, fabrics are only passed if they can withstand 25,000-40,000 rubs.
Gill added: “Garments bought from retail just simply will not last within a corporate environment and a cheap suit is screamingly obvious.
“Other factors that need to be considered are the fit, look and style of these items. Cheap products do not benefit from the expert tailoring put into a more expensive and suitable garment. Shabby looking staff say a lot about an organisation.
“In an increasingly challenging time for all businesses, appearance is vitally important. A great staff image exudes confidence, professionalism and a top-quality service – which can undoubtedly give a business the edge to survive.”