Yorkshire knitwear entrepreneur showcased in China seeks Chamber International help with exports

Ross Barr founder, Ross Hoyland (Left), wearing one of his self-designed wool cardigans, The Spencer, with Chamber International China affairs associate, Matthew Grandage, at British Wool in Bradford.

Yorkshire knitwear business breaks into China with Chamber International

A Yorkshire men’s fashion company is to step up exporting to China after being selected for a major new showcase of British brands in Beijing.

Knitwear by Ross Barr, which won a start-up grant from The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme in 2015, is being displayed in department store, The British House, near Tiananmen Square, which is highlighting UK businesses to help them capitalise on China’s growing appetite for British goods.

Leeds-based Ross Barr has appointed overseas trade specialist, Chamber International, to help it develop sales in China and beyond.

Ross Barr founder, Ross Barr-Hoyland, 27, a self-taught clothing designer, uses Scottish wool fleeces, which are dyed and spun by West Yorkshire Spinners, Keighley, before being manufactured in Leicester.

The company’s first garment, a double-breasted cardigan, The Spencer, inspired by The Regency period, has sold worldwide and was worn by supermodel David Gandy for the Campaign for Wool Week in London in 2015.

Ross appointed Chamber International after attending an event staged jointly with Hong Kong Trade Development Council in Leeds this summer about opportunities for UK businesses being created by China’s 'new silk road'.

He said: “I aim to build an authentic British brand to help revive British textiles, combat the decline in former industrial heartlands and provide opportunities for people in these areas. 

“I was introduced to The British House by the Department for International Trade. It is an honour to be featured alongside well-known names.

“I’m looking forward to working with Chamber International to see how we can develop sales in China and along the ‘new silk road’ as it develops. As far as I’m concerned, the sky’s the limit.”

So far Ross has generated sales of The Spencer throughout the UK, continental Europe, China, Japan, South Africa, Australasia and South America and has developed two other garments, The Elliott and The Hoyland, which are also picking up overseas sales.

The British House department store in China was founded by Ms Yimei McCabe, a keen supporter of British business.

She is a China adviser to the Cambridge Institute of Sustainability, which trains policy, financial and business leaders from China, the World Bank, and EU.

The British House features British fashion, homeware, art and education, including well-known brands, such as Turnbull and Asser, Johnstons of Elgin, Heals, Duke and Dexter and John Smedley, and Ross Barr’s garments will be displayed in the Men’s Dressing Room, alongside other clothing and accessory brands.

Group Retail and marketing director for The British House, Jamie Powell, said: “Ross Barr is one of our young designers with an innovative product which supports UK manufacturing.

“We hope to offer Ross a platform for new business in Beijing and internationally.”

Chamber International China affairs associate, Matthew Grandage, says “Britain has a well-deserved reputation for being at the global forefront of fashion and clothing design.

“China's middle-class and wealthy consumers are increasingly seeking out boutique, quality brands with a story to tell, rather than just the major international labels. 

“Ross is quick off the mark in realizing the importance of this, and we look forward to working with him to bring his unique knitwear to customers around the world.”