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73% of the people in Britain are increasingly favouring products “Made in the UK” or “Made in Britain”. Until recently, various factors such as rising labour and globalisation meant that many of the products we bought were manufactured overseas, but this is rapidly changing due to major factors such as Brexit, political climates, ethical trends and the economy.

Triumph have been building their famous motorbikes in the UK since 1902

Producing items of clothing that are made on your own turf is trending and back in style. The unique selling point of buying products that are made in Britain for example, instead of China, is that it promises quality, credibility and a level of sophistication. The British fashion industry has always achieved a certain level of worth with companies such as Mulberry and Burberry – but you would be surprised to find out how much is not actually made in the country. There is, however, a huge influx of sustainable fashion explaining why bloggers and fashion icons are appreciating the relevance as well as the impact of these local purchases on the fashion industry, as well as other global industries.

What is Made in Britain?

A lot of the things around us are currently “Made in China”, from your child’s new teddy bear, to your own smartphone – but why does that matter? Well, for one, ethically speaking, having products made in your own country is better for your own community and you’ve got to look at the way it affects economic growth generally speaking. An article I read earlier which I find really helpful quotes: The most powerful nations in the world — the “Great Powers” — are those that control the bulk of the global production of manufacturing technology.” Just think about the big powers out there, and imagine how much of the global production they control. Think China, USA etc. But Britain, believe it or not, is thriving when it comes to the transport industry. Think motorbike, car and train manufacturing, but also sugar producers, and is constantly working towards moving further companies back to the UK.

A recent example of a company that recently moved back home is British shoe manufacturer Clarks, as pictured below.

Clarks shoes returned to UK production in Somerset

Why does it matter?

Several studies have shown that in fact, supporting local businesses reinforces the strength of communities from the inside, resulting in benefiting the country as a whole. This is even more important during times of change and uncertainty in the markets like today. Buying from local shops also secures jobs for future generations and supports the creation of modern technology.

“Bringing manufacturing back to the UK could provide a £15billion boost to the economy and create 315,000 jobs.”

Another significant factor for us which we can’t ignore, is its connection to ethical consumerism, especially regarding the fashion industry. Vivienne Westwood is an ideal example of a British designer that fights for the various ethical sides of the fashion industry such as employment rights, correct national wages, exploitation, labor, and discrimination. She also highly criticises the issue of “fast fashion” which is strongly connected to mass-consumption, including mass-exportation.

“It is worse for someone to come out of a shop with an armful of new t-shirts made in a sweatshop than it is for a rich lady to buy one beautiful dress,” says Vivienne Westwood.

Since she began in the 1960s, Westwood has always brought an activist agenda to the mainstream stage.

Why is it changing?

There are a few reasons why countries are slowly “reshoring”. The main one as we’ve discussed above is the selling point of anything “Made in Britain” as a trending factor, but also regarding its higher quality of products as well as customization demands from the consumers. People are also following Vivienne Westwood’s movement against fast fashion and are more and more influenced by quality over quantity, faster delivery and wishing to support local products by adopting ethical thinking and consumption. Overall, as we’ve previously seen in our Ethical Fashion story, we’re living in times of change, slowly regressing towards traditional values, which will highly benefit individual countries, rather than supporting the gross consumer world of illegal labor and inequality.


Images/Sources: The Guardian, Roosevelt Institute, The Culture Trip, Mirror, American Made Matters, Original BTC

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