Monday, 5 March 2012

Made in Britain

Last month, London was buzzing with fashion week. For me, what was most significant was the raising of the profile - Made in Britain. It now appears that all over the world there is a real appetite for all things British.

We have a wealth of talented young designers putting together collections that are made here in Britain. Sir Philip Green, one who is never slow to react to a trend, is lending his support for British manufacturing. A move I applaud, though quite sensibly with the caveat that it must be sustainable.

I remember when I started Hackett, 99% of what we sold was made in The British Isles. Sadly, over the last 25 years, a great number of the factories I worked with have closed down. Fortunately, we still have a relatively strong cloth manufacturing business, though that too has shrunk in the last couple of decades. It’s refreshing to see mills like Fox Bros in Somerset enjoying a revival under new ownership having previously almost gone bankrupt. Harris Tweed too is making a strong comeback.

Slowly but surely small factory units are once again opening but I think it is something the government should get behind and actively encourage with grants to open manufacturing bases across the country. Creating jobs for our disenchanted youth because the fashion business is a young and vibrant business and here is an opportunity to teach them a trade.

Britain was famous for its manufacturing and I as one retailer will buy Made in Britain. After all, it's what made us great.

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