A Concise History
The Sewing Machine Trade Association
Our trade association was established in the 1930’s by a group of sewing machine dealers whose livelihood in part was supplying machinery to garment factories. At that time most sewing machinery originated from the USA and Germany and distribution throughout the United Kingdom was a “closed-shop” of company branches. Dealers were not recognised and it was impossible for them to obtain machines and more importantly spare parts. Thanks to the dedication of our “founding father” David Rose, a London based dealer who petitioned dealers throughout the country over a number of years, our Association was founded to force machine manufacturers to change their monopoly practices.
The advent of the Second World War saw the temporary end of monopoly practices.
Sewing equipment and the engineers who serviced the industry were soon playing an important and strategic part in our war effort. There was an attempt by manufacturers to revert to their old pre-war trade policies but dealers and our Trade Association were now a powerful and important force. By the mid 1950’s the SMDA was recognised as the organisation for independent sewing machine dealers. It was now the turn of dealers who were not members of our Association to suffer since they were now denied access to machines and parts.
The consumer-led revolution of the 1960’s witnessed a major change in the purchasing habits of the Western world. A fashion conscious population were now spending some of their new found wealth on clothing, resulting in a proliferation of garment factories and a need for dealers to become more specialised to service clothing manufacturers. At the same time High Street spending expanded and domestic sewing machines became a “must-have” household appliance causing a major growth in sewing machine retail shops. It was natural that within our Association it was recognised that there were now two main branches of operation, Industrial and Domestic and our organisation was re-formed to assist both sections of our industry. Our name changed to the Sewing Machine Trade Association to acknowledge this development.
Today the majority of our members are household machine suppliers following the demise of the UK garment industry in the late 1990’s. We continue to serve the public, guaranteeing friendly, efficient, knowledgeable attention and the same time protecting the rights of dealers to cope with the trials of legislation and the pirating of our industry by internet scavengers.
We are always interested to hear from legitimately based sewing machine dealers who would like to join with us to protect our industry and ensure a future for high street trading. Contact us and we will send you further information about the Sewing Machine Trade Association.