I have been really enjoying watching Mary Portas’s TV programme ‘The Bottom Line’ but also love the way that it has renewed the focus on clothing being Made in Britain. The funny thing is that I often go out of my way to buy Fairtrade and ethical clothing made abroad in countries like Africa or India so buying Made in Britain is the complete opposite. But I also think that it is important to support our own economy and help those in this country that are struggling to find a job and as the clothing industry is so huge their is probably room for both.
That said, I don’t neccaserily think that just because something is ‘Made in Britain’, it is ethical. For example, it may be made using cotton that is picked by children in Uzbekistan and grown using environmentally damaging pesticides. There are however some key benefits that I can see in buying clothes made in Britain, which include:
Supporting the British economy and providing jobs for those in Britain.
Preserving specialist skills for clothing manufacture in Britain.
Quality, British products are known for their high quality and workmanship.
Strict UK and EU working regulations ensure high standards in British factories and give greater confidence in that workers have been treated well.
Cutting down on transportation and therefore carbon footprint of clothing.
I am not going to write any more about Mary Portas and her Kinky Knickers as I think most people will already have watched the programme. If you haven’t, you can find out more here. Instead I wanted to share some fantastic brands that are both ‘Made in Britain’, ethical and probably most importantly when it comes to fashion, look great!
The dress that I wearing in the pictures above is by Nancy Dee, an ethical and sustainable fashion brand that manufactures all if its clothing in the UK using a variety of sustainable materials including organic cotton, Bamboo, soya bean and modal. It is definitely one of my favourite dresses. It is beautifully made, unique and individal with only limited runs of designs using their own specially made fabrics (I have not seen anyone else out and about wearing my flamingo print dress), washes well and is really comfortable to wear. I also love the flattering cut. If you like the sound of Nancy Dee, please check out there website here which has a fantastic sale at the moment, including the Flamingo dress that I am wearing.
Who Made Your Pants a campaigning ethical underwear brand based in Southampton. Their pants are designed to sit flat under clothes, have no VPL, and be comfortable and all day fabulous. I saw a selection of them at the Good Fashion Show and I can vouch for the fact that they are beautifully made. They use fabric sold on by big underwear companies at the end of season and stop them ending up as landfill and they employ refugees from war torn countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, the Sudan in a woman only environment where they can feel safe, learn new skills and provide themselves with an income.
Another exciting ‘Made in Britain’ brand that has caught my eye recently is Hiut Denim. A brand that is all about reviving the jeans industry is a small Welsh town called Cardigan. I spent many childhood holidays in Cardigan which is a seaside town in West Wales and also where my Grandparents lived and my Father grew up. My Grandfather was the Principle of the local technical college. Sadly over the years many young people have been forced to move away for Cardigan due to lack of job opportunities and the closure of the local jeans factory which employed 400 people and made 35,000 pairs of jeans a week in part contributed to this.
Hiut denim is bringing employment back to the area and allowing the people of Cardigan to do what they do best. It seems to be focussing on simplicty with just a few styles of jeans (at the moment) made incredibly well using the expertise from the people who were originally employed in the factory and high quality denim including organic and selvedge denim.
The brand is also trying to move away from the idea that clothing is a throw away commodity, instead making jeans that will be valued and treasured. They are the first ever company to make jeans with a history tag. Customers can register their jeans unique number with the HIstorytag website and then upload memories (or where you went, what you did). If the jeans are every passed on or donated to a charity shop, these memories will go with them.
I know there are many more amazing ethical ‘Made in Britain’ brands, many of which I hope to share with you soon. I will continue to support Fairtrade and brands which are working to alleviate poverty in other countries but I also love the idea of buying more locally and supporting people a little closer to home. As I don’t buy any fast fashion clothes manufactured in sweatshops, I definitely think it is possible for me to do both and as a result build a very stylish wardrobe packed with beautiful high quality clothes.
What do you think?
With warmest wishes