Designed, Made & Finished in Britain!
Let’s face it, when it comes to inspirational fashion design Britain has no shortage of nominees. And thanks to a couple of little celebrations this year; The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and The Olympics, it would be fair to say that all things British have come under the international spotlight. Union Jack’s and corgi’s aside British creative talent has a weighty presence throughout the fashion industry and now British design labels are upping their game by fabric sourcing and manufacturing as well as designing in Britain.
The return of British manufacturing, albeit on a small scale, has been making the headlines over the last few years and concepts such as FashionCapital’s ‘Fashion Studio’ based at the University of East London has been taking on production for a roster of fashion designers and high street retailers as well as providing essential training and apprenticeship programmes. British manufacturing may have steadily declined over the last 30-years but issues of sustainability and the environment plus rising costs in overseas production not forgetting to mention a tighter reign on quality control has all contributed to keeping production closer to home. In fact if you look hard enough you’ll find hundreds of companies dotted all over the UK that make fabrics, clothing and the various components – it may not be on the scale of what the industry once was but it is certainly a positive step in the right direction.
3 Labels to Watch – Keeping it British from design sketch to finishing stitch:
Beautiful Soul London understands the balance and reconciliation between fashion, style and sustainability. The label is committed to a conscious approach to fabric sourcing and environmental impact and supporting the regeneration of UK manufacturing and textile production. Nicola, the designer and founder, passionately believes that taking a responsible approach to the planet is not a trend, it is the only way forward and it takes innovative, pioneering individuals to make these changes. As a lone player, change is difficult to influence, but working with like minded people Nicola believes it is possible to make a real change for good.
Nicola named the Autumn/Winter 2012/13 Beautiful Soul London collection after her two grandmothers ‘Olivia and Rose’. She drew inspiration from the love letters they each wrote in code to their sweethearts (her beloved grandfathers) whilst separated during the Second World War. As a sign of remembrance to Olivia and Rose, the unique Beautiful Soul London print this season, features the poppy, which was a favorite flower of both grandmothers and a symbol of the British Legion campaign which they both supported. The symbolic poppy is captured on the in-house designed prints which contrast with lace. The entire collection is made in Britain, using sustainable fabrics including luxurious silks, British wool, organic and Fair Trade fabrics and British lace produced in Nottingham, as the brands ethos includes supporting the regeneration of UK manufacturing and textile production.
Matilda & Quinn
Matilda & Quinn are a new luxe British Womenswear brand with a focus on quirky, stylish and on-trend soft tailoring. Matilda & Quinn garments are all work friendly without compromising on style or sophistication.
Maintaining their core modern heritage values coupled with quality fabrics in sophisticated shapes Matilda and Quinn present their Autumn/Winter pieces. Designed and made in Britain – modern Britishness remains key throughout the entire collection alongside contrasting block panels and vintage-inspired shapes perfect for day. Fabrics range from luxe cashmere, jacquard, heritage tweeds and silk melanges. Necklines are soft and occasionally adorned with buttons while shapes flatter and finish at the knee. Matilda & Quinn actively support the UK garment manufacturing industry and have made a concerted effort to work with the few high end manufacturers remaining in the UK.
Henry Hunt is the brainchild of Phoebe Garlick, established in December 2009 Phoebe has developed the company with the help of her family to create a modern strain of country clothing. With her unique designs Phoebe combines the practicality of country lifestyle with contemporary fashion touches and styling. Featured in prestigious magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Country Life, the company, only into its third year, is already sailing along amongst established brands and designers.
Growing up in the deep depths of the Blackdown Hills in Somerset and going to University to study Fashion Design in London, Phoebe wanted to bring the two lifestyles together and create a unique style of classic garments with an edge. Exposed to the true eccentricity of English fashion in London she wanted to exude the edgy and fun style that the capital is so famous for in her designs. Combining this with the classic cuts and traditional fabrics used for centuries for both country sporting and casual wear, she has developed the concept of Henry Hunt – Pure British Attire.
Phoebe comments: “At Henry Hunt, our roots are important to us. Based in Somerset we endeavour to support our local industries using manufacturers in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall as well as sourcing locally woven fabrics where possible. All of our stock is produced in small runs to ensure exclusivity and exceptional quality, to each and every customer.”
Alongside the mainline collection of quirky country pieces Phoebe offers the ‘Heirloom’ range – one-off occasionwear pieces made by Phoebe in her studio in Somerset. Created from the finest fabrics and hand selected materials, each piece is individually made for each client.
By JoJo Iles
JoJo is a fashion & trends reporter and heads up FashionCapital’s in-house PR service: The PR Dispensary.