Make it British was held on November 2 and attracted over 200 designers, manufacturers, retailers and academics, who gathered together to join a debate on how to build a British brand.
The UK textile industry, which has been in persistent decline since the late 1970s, has finally seen a rebirth. Several textile mills have opened, including the first cotton spinning plant in the UK for decades. Several factors have contributed to this turnaround. The cost of producing overseas has risen, particularly since the Brexit referendum, and the way the exchange rate is going has helped new UK producers and brands. Suddenly it has become more affordable to manufacture goods in Britain.
There has been a 25 per cent rise in the export of British-made clothing since 2011 largely due to emerging markets such as China and the US wanting to buy more products made in the UK. Issues like sustainability and transparency were acknowledged as some of the key aspects of having a manufacturing plant based in the UK. For manufacturers having a factory in the UK means they are flexible and very agile. Also, it means they are less exposed to currency fluctuations.
The shared opinion was, however, that it is important not to forget about functionality and relevance of the product, which should come before the emphasis on Brand British.