21 Nov 2023

Clothing brand Kilt putting employees out of work just a month before Christmas

2:16 pm on 21 November 2023
The Napier Kilt store, on Hastings St. The retail stores remain open, it's just the factory which is affected.

Photo: RNZ / Kate Green

Local clothing brand Kilt is closing its Napier factory, putting workers out of jobs a month before Christmas.

While its 18 retail stores around the country remain open, the company has confirmed it has made the decision to close the doors on the Made It Here factory.

The brand prides itself on its clothing being locally made with its website listing factories in Auckland, Hamilton and Napier.

As of Tuesday morning, the brand's website carried a page titled 'Sustainability and Ethics', showing photos of 18 factory workers, captioned: "The lovely team in our Napier factory, 'Made It Here', make a majority of the clothing we sell. Between them, they have over 300 years of experience in the sewing industry."

By 1pm, the page had been altered, and the photos removed. However, it still reinforced the importance of buying New Zealand-made.

Business manager Lauren Hart said in an emailed statement: "Our mission here at KILT continues to be to provide the ultimate experience by helping KILTies feel amazing, with the best New Zealand made clothing at affordable prices, whilst impacting less on the environment.

"Delivering on this remains our priority focus."

The company has not responded to questions about why the factory is closing, how many workers are affected, or where the clothing will be manufactured instead.