Wait goes on for school blazers

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An apology has been given to Bell Baxter High School pupils and their parents who have been hit by yet another delay with the delivery of new school blazers.

CKL Clothing Distribution was supposed to supply SET Clothing with both wool and polyester blazers which have been paid for before the start of term but pupils, especially those in S1, were left disappointed when they did not arrive.

They were then told the order would be delivered later on in August but this week parents received an email from CKL apologising for the delay and saying they are expected to arrive in the next five to ten days.

The company said that despite the order from SET Clothing arriving too late it had tried to secure the supply from factories in the Far East. However, they were unable to produce the correct colour in the correct fabric or meet the standards of quality and so production was moved to Italy and Turkey with the company bearing the cost of the move.

The large order of blazers is the result of a whole school review into the dress code which prompted pupils to ask if they could wear a blazer, not just senior pupils.

CKL’s director Bali Rakhra said: “I personally flew to Italy and Turkey in July to approve the fabrics and make all the necessary preparations.

“I flew to Turkey a second time 10 days after to receive the fabric from Italy. However, the transport company delayed the delivery by five days, followed by a further 2 days by the Turkish customs. Both were completely outwith our control and the knock-on effect had far-reaching consequences on our carefully planned production schedule, as the factory could not wait and

“In fact, at this time, Turkish coat factories enter their busy for the winter and we were repeatedly told it was now ‘impossible’ to produce anything until near end of the year

We contacted our other factories, who wasted further time by agreeing to take on the job, only to cancel a few days later, when they realized that they simply could not fit it into their production schedule.

“I therefore returned to Turkey a third time - now in the middle of August - where I managed to establish a production schedule with one of our contacts but at an inflated cost.

“The pre-production samples were approved and the blazers are currently being produced for

dispatch to the UK this week. A pre-production sample of the blazer will be supplied to Bell Baxter this week.

“We are now near the end of our journey with this blazer, and we simply cannot describe the disappointment we feel with the extreme delays, and the frustration we have felt through battling with the sheer number of obstacles that threatened the production of the Bell Baxter blazer.”

He added: “However, in our opinion, what we are left with is a landmark blazer.

“In our experience as a school uniform supplier since 1972, it’s the highest quality wool blazerever produced for the UK schoolwear market.

“It is an entirely new product for us, and it has been a unquantifiably costly exercise for us to develop it and bring it to market this year. But we simply cannot be more proud of the end product.

“We did all we could have to prevent the delays and get the order to you, and we tried as hard as we could have to avoid this, and poured huge resources of time, money and effort into it, but the resultant blazer is of such high quality, we believe it has been worth it.

“When you finally receive the blazers in the next days, we very much hope that you will feel the same way.

“Until then, apologies again. I hope you can now better understand the reasons behind the delays, and I sincerely thank you for your extremely kind patience with us.”