British retailers asked to partner UK manufacturers

June 09, 2015 - United Kingdom

This year’s trade show ‘Meet the Manufacturer’ – a two-day conference and trade show in London recently, organised by ‘Make it British’ website called upon British retailers to forge partnerships partner UK manufacturers.

Over 100 companies from across the fashion and textile sectors came together to exhibit at this year’s trade show. And for the first time, the event included a fashion show, in collaboration with the Leicestershire Textiles Hub and styled by celebrity TV fashion and celebrity stylist Zoe Lem.

“The future of UK manufacturing has to be investment in skills, investment in machinery and investment in the fabric of our factories,” urged Patrick Grant as he opened this year’s ‘Meet the Manufacturer’ conference and trade show. The creative director of Savile Row’s Norton & Son and E. Tautz and star of BBC2’s Great British Sewing Bee went on to say: “Genuine partnerships between the large retailers and manufacturers - not just in the small, niche product lines, but as a genuine, fundamental part of everything that they do - can create an awful lot of jobs and an awful lot of value.”

Some 3,000 retailers, manufacturers and designers descended on London for this year’s ‘Meet the Manufacturer’.

Kate Hills, founder and CEO of ‘Make it British’, the campaign for the return of UK manufacturing, enthused: “There is an air of confidence in the industry that I haven’t seen for years and a real positivity about the future. Many of the big retailers turned out to hear the discussions and we now need them to put their money where their mouth is and start placing substantial orders with the factories here.”

Running alongside the trade show, Patrick Grant, headlined the conference, which included more than 20 industry experts passing on their advice and real-life experiences of building Great British brands, how to successfully manufacture in the UK and how to work with British factories. Day one focused on ‘can mass manufacturing return to the UK?’, while day two was aimed at smaller brands and start-up businesses.

“Having an event like this is important for bringing together manufacturers and showing the breadth of opportunity that there is in this country,” added Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council. (SH)