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Is “Made In Britain” the new buzz phrase? – One year on

Ayten Roberts

A year ago I voiced my views on the current ‘Made in Britain’ trend and my concern that the phase was only a buzzword that would be used until the spotlight faded on the subject. The launch of Mary Portas’ Kinky Knickers meant the UK fashion industry was in the public eye and it seemed the press loved that Portas was “turning the lights back on for Great British manufacturing”. Though I was disappointed to see that independent designers, myself included, were not being acknowledged for their continued support of the industry, I was hoping that it would highlight the importance of the UK manufacturing trade to a wider audience.

A year on and I am pleased to say there have been some changes in the industry. The brands who manufactured in the UK last year are still doing so, and the boutiques who have always supported them are still buying. But there does seem to be a wider awareness of the Made in Britain stamp. Fantastic blogs and directories, such as makeitbritish.co.uk, are amazing in creating more exposure for brands. While social media networks are buzzing with #buybritish hashtags and British independent designer groups, another exciting development is the launch of Best Of Britannia in October last year. Now in it’s second year, the London event celebrates British design and manufacturing skills and features exhibitors such as Age Of Scarves, The Merchant Fox and Tusting Bags. This year we are proud to announce Best Of Britannia will showcase Ayten Gasson Lingerie alongside these truly British brands.

It seems to me that the independent designers who have been passionate about manufacturing in the UK are still working as hard as ever to draw attention to their ethics. The popularity of social media sites have made it easier for these brands to meet and support each other, and for journalists, bloggers and stylists to take note. One disappointing factor though is that the larger companies who were in the spotlight last year no longer seem to be trying to boost production in the UK. The factory used by Mary Portas for her Kinky Knicker collection is still in operation, but new collections by Portas, such as her range for House of Frasier, seems to be produced aboard. There is no mention on their website of where the pieces have been made while the Kinky Knickers web page is decorated in Made in Britain banners and tag lines. With so many great clothing manufacturers still operating in the UK, it is a shame they can’t be utilised.

Pictured: The classic collection silk underwired bra and skirted knicker (left) & the organic silk camisole and knicker set (right). 
All made in the UK using Nottingham lace and UK made ribbon trims.

So a year on from my original Made in Britain article I am glad to say in general that it seems to have not been a passing fad like so many in the fashion world. And although some of the larger brands may have reverted to their old ways, i believe it will be the smaller, independent designers and boutiques who will keep alive the commitment to British made products.

This article was originally published on http://www.lingerie-stylist.com on the 31st March 2013.