Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte: behind the scenes at the world-class Chorley apparel manufacturer making shorts for boxing royalty
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Suzi Wong Creations is a Chorley-based manufacturer of boxing shorts, fightwear, and training kit used by amateur and professional boxers across the world - boxers including Fury and Whyte themselves.
“We’re just working on Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte’s stuff for the big fight,” says Melissa Anglesea, Creative Director, the company’s creative director in early April. “Both their outfits plus most of the stuff for the undercards has been made here in Lancashire, which is great.
“We’re the go-to name in the industry and we’ve continuously invested in our company, which is why we’ve stood the test of time,” adds Melissa, 36, from Blackrod. “Weekend after weekend, our products are seen across the back pages of virtually every newspaper, so there’s an awful lot of pride in the work.”
Founded over three decades ago, SW Creations has firmly established itself as one of boxing’s premier sportswear designers, with their products worn by the likes of Tony Bellew, Anthony Joshua, Sunny Edwards, James Degale, Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe, Jorge Linares, and Tasha Jonas.
With all their products designed in-house and hand-made in Chorley, the company - which has 15 employees - doesn’t cater exclusively to the pros, however, offering amateurs across the world access to quality products with customisable features and luxury embroidery.
“Amateur sportspeople are a big part of our business, which is why we felt that impact during Covid, which was a massively tough time,” says Melissa. “We shut for a long time because there was just nothing to do - our industry just shut.
“We furloughed our entire staff and unfortunately had to make redundancies because the company didn’t have money coming in,” she adds. “It was hard because we felt responsible and all our staff are local.”
As lockdown lifted, however, the company has encountered a new issue: recruiting skilled workers or finding younger apprentices willing to commit to taking the time to become machinists and learn what is a rapidly-dwindling skillset.
“It’s highly-skilled work,” says Melissa. “When we’re making stuff, we always have a designer or someone with a creative eye on-hand to be ready to readjust things on the job. It’s always about how we can make things better and being flexible is huge.
“Lancashire is known for being a really creative manufacturing hub, but those skills are being lost and, unfortunately, there aren’t that many young machinists coming through,” she adds. “We used to get loads of applicants but we just don’t anymore.”
The future, however, looks bright.
“We just want to keep growing and training more people so we can bring manufacturing back to this country because, once people get a British-made Suzi Wong product, they never go back to cheaper stuff,” says Melissa. “The quality speaks for itself.”