MONTREAL — The Made in Canada label will be stripped from Victoria Beckham’s high-end denim collection as the production of her dVb line shifts to Asia next year because of a soaring Canadian dollar and a shortage of skilled labor.
“There were actually two or three issues that converged to force our hand,” said Bob Silver, president of Western Glove Works of Winnipeg, which produces the jeans that retail for $250 to $300. “In addition to the increase in the Canadian dollar, there was a lack of support from subsuppliers and a lack of skilled workers. I somehow hoped I could avoid the move by paying extra for the product and being closer to the market.”
Instead, production will move to China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Bangladesh, where Western Glove’s other lines, including Silver and 1921, are manufactured.
The lack of skilled workers was especially acute in the prewashing or stonewashing end of the business. Western Glove had a supply of these skilled workers, but was recently forced to lay off about two dozen of them. They eventually were offered their old jobs, but most declined to return.
The Beckham line represents the last 5 percent of Western’s Canadian production and will result in the loss of another 100 jobs. Five years ago, the company had 1,200 employees; it will be down to 125 head-office jobs when production ceases in March.