Made in Britain – what does it mean for the industry?
I was very excited to attend the fourth “Make it British Live” previously known as “Meet the manufacturer” show in the Old Truman Brewery, East London on the 23rd and 24th May. For those of you who don’t know this show, the aim is to introduce brands and buyers to manufacturers across the UK.
Running alongside this two day show was two full days of Industry speakers, all championing the concept of “Making it British. Hosting the Symposium was the esteemed Eric Musgrove who has 35 years experience in the fashion industry. Eric Musgrave is a hugely experienced and respected professional, with a reputation that extends from the UK to Europe and beyond. Eric is the undisputed face of Drapers, the UK’s leading provider of fashion business intelligence, and although now editorial director he has also been CEO of the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT)
The first speaker to kick off day one was Simon Middleton from Blackshore, a new British brand all about British Costal clothing. Simon spoke about new business start-ups, particularly branding and how to raise and seek funding. Most enlightening to share his journey…
Many talkers followed and it became abundantly clear during the day that people have a deep passion for UK manufacturing and it may come as a big surprise to some of you that products being made in GB are considered highly desirable and carry a huge kudos around the world! The saying that was repeated many times throughout the event was”got to use it or going to lose it”
The government need to continue to invest in UK manufacturing or the skillset will be gone if we don’t invest in training and make a career in manufacturing appealing and “sexy” to the next generation.
It is reported that manufacturing in GB, when compared to Europe is similar in cost and in some cases can be cheaper! So let’s start blowing all those misconceptions and perception about problems away…
As far as lingerie manufacturing in the UK is concerned, our Industry is still NOT represented at shows such as Make it British. Why? Well all I can assume is that the very limited production that we do have here in the UK is at, or nearing maximum capacity. For the fashion industry generally though, demand is high and continues to grow.
Brands that are making their product in the UK must communicate the brands UK heritage, i.e. the story, and shout about the core message as this will help the consumer understand and appreciate the cost and values associated with making in GB.UK retailers and brands surely have some social responsibility to support UK manufacturing along with ASOS. JLP & Retail Giant M&S are doing just that.
So what does Made in GB mean to us, most agree it stands for quality & integrity, but there is so much more:-
- Cost effective
- Lower minimum orders
- Faster lead times
- Supporting local communities
- Duty free
- Skilled, local workforce
- Made by people and companies that pay taxes in the Uk!
- Revival of skills
It’s worth noting that legally, products only need to be finished in the UK to carry the made in GB label and there is a lot of ambiguity currently associated with made in GB, which should change.
Look out for made in GB brands, make a story in your shop, don’t be frightened of higher prices, be proud to stock these lines, shout about them, monitor sales and tell the story of these brands that you are selling, so consumers can associate themselves with the founders, it so important.