FEARS for almost 180 jobs at Barrie Knitwear in Hawick have been lifted with confirmation that the company has been bought by Chanel, writes Bob Burgess.
The cashmere firm’s parent company Dawson International went into administration in August because of pension problems.
Bruno Pavlovsky – Chanel’s fashion president – commented: The acquisition of Barrie by Chanel is all the more natural as the factory has worked with us for more than 25 years producing cashmere knitwear, including Chanel’s iconic two-tone cashmere cardigans.
“Through this acquisition, we reaffirm our commitment to traditional expertise and craftsmanship and our wish to safeguard their future and support their development.”
Senior Scottish organiser of the GMB trade union Alex McLuckie said : “We always felt confident that this highly skilled, productive and fairly loyal workforce which produces a high quality product, would be saved.
“It lifts the uncertainty for the 180 employees and we can now look forward to continuing employment for our members in the Hawick site, now and into the future.”
Blair Nimmo, joint administrator of Dawson International said he believed the sale had secured a sustainable future for Barie.
Local MSP John Lamont described the news as fantastic and said it would come as a great relief to the workforce.
He added: “Chanel is a world famous company that operates on a global scale and with Barrie Knitwear in their ownership I am confident that the future of the firm is safe for the foreseeable future.”
Hawick’s MP Michael Moore said : “This is great news for Hawick and particularly for the 176 people employed at the company whose jobs have now been safeguarded.
“I am very pleased that Chanel has made this investment in Barrie which recognises the company’s historical significance to the textile industry and its importance as a major employer in the Borders.”
The price paid by Chanel has not been disclosed But Chanel did say that Barrie would continue to grow its own brands presence around the world. There would no exclusivity, said Chanel.