Products made in Britain will most often demand a high price point, including British fashion. So why pay that extra cost? Is it worth that higher price?
Considering the industrial revolution and clothing manufacture began in Britain, it is not surprising that we are known around the world for producing high quality goods. Making simple, quality items is what we do best. John Smedley, for example, are the longest running factory in the world who still make beautiful, fine gauge knitwear just as they have done for hundreds of years.
Not all British factories are run ethically, it has to be said, but the majority of them are. Having a short supply chain makes it far easier for designers or brands to work closely with their makers to ensure ethical policies are adhered to. Britain also has high legal standards on workers’ rights, health and safety in the workplace and wage level minimums in comparison to other garment producing countries. Ethical credentials should always be checked and good brands will proudly show them.
Being close to the manufacturing base means significantly fewer miles are clocked up in shipping fabrics and goods around. This is evident in the example of Private White VC, 90% of their raw materials are sourced within a 40 miles of their factory. Road haulage for transportation also means less carbon emitted than sea or air cargo too. Global brands who manufacture off-shore in the far-east will have to fly regularly to oversee factory production, thereby further adding to their carbon footprint. Local production also means less waste is also produced due to being able to turn around stock much quicker.
Britain has produced many great designers and among them Vivienne Westwood, Mary Quant and Paul Smith have a unique ‘Britishness’. This is often expressed with quirkiness and sense of humour that you don’t often find anywhere else. On the other hand designer brands such as Burberry and Stella McCartney offer the more aspirational side of British design classics. This is also embodied in British icons of design such as the Mini, Rolls Royce and even Dyson.
Providence and a strong story are often a big part of what a British brand is about. Hiut denim & HebTroCo are great examples of this. They both brought manufacturing back to the area they are from before it disappeared forever and produce quality pieces made to last using traditional techniques and preserving local skills and economies. What started as personal missions with a passion for their local communities are now highly successful and acclaimed businesses with a real personal touch.
Britain has a rich textile heritage that many brands draw from including the production of high quality cloths such as tweed, linen and tartan. There are many regional areas that have historical or even current links to fashion & textile manufacturing. From lace making in Nottingham, to knitwear in Hawick, Scotland, from shoe making in Northampton, to woollen cloth in Yorkshire, Britain has it all .
All this put together means you are often buying a product with real authenticity, that will last a long time and could sell well at a later date. What could be better slow fashion than that?
Be aware, however, that many brands portray themselves as being British by putting a Union Jack on their products whilst not actually making them in Britain at all. You can find lots of lovely British-made brands including ourselves in the Make it British directory here.
Do you have a favourite made in Britain brand? Do you buy British? What does British made mean to you? We would love to hear from you.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
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