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I sense a revival of British clothes manufacturing. Much has gone, but there is still a fantastic choice of British made clothes out there, whether you want to spend a lot or not very much money.
Here you can find links and information, in no particular order, about British made clothes, for men, women and children. This article is ongoing and I will add to it when I discover more British clothes manufacturers and suppliers. Only companies that actually make or supply clothes made in the UK will be featured here, not simply companies that used to make clothes in the UK or are just selling clothes in the UK. The products I list here are genuinely made in the UK, not simply labelled to imply British heritage or manufacture.
Selfridges (Oxford) Ltd opened its doors in around 1972. Selfridges (Oxford) Ltd was a large and very prestigious department store located at 27 Westgate, Oxford, OX1 1LP. Sears (who by then owned Lewis’s, who were also the owners of the Selfridges London store) re-branded the store as Lewis’s in around 1989 and it traded under the Lewis’s name until around 1996 (from around 1991 Lewis’s had come under the ownership of Owen Owen). It then traded as Allders until around 2005 (Allders having purchased a number of the Owen Owen stores in 1996), when the store closed. This photograph circa 1988.
Selfridges (Oxford) Ltd from inside the Westgate Christmas time 1988.
Selfridges from inside the Westgate 1987.
Selfridges from inside the Westgate Shopping Centre in 1986 (the Westage had just had a £3m re-vamp at that time).
A pre-1986 photograph of the inside of the Westgate Centre (note that great menswear shop, now long gone, Dunn and Co). Selfridges is to the left, out of shot.
An update on John Lewis’s progress in buying more British goods from the British Family. JLP have delivered (and indeed it seems exceeded) on their promise to stock more British made goods. This article from the British Family gives you the detail and as James & Emily point out “his seems to be driven by a consumer demand for items made in the UK, which is exactly what needs to happen”. Well done JLP.
*Having looked at the spoke website and blog again today (22/11/14) I can find no reference to any of their products being made in England and on Facebook it says they are made in Europe, so this is wrong. Spoke clothes appear to be foreign made after all, although they do say they use some British fabrics.
It would be nice if JLP really does increase their proportion of British made products they sell. If they can bring more textile manufacture back to the UK in doing so all the better.
Disappointingly John Lewis do not always label their products with the country of origin and where this is the case the products in question are foreign made. JLP still have quite a way to go, as most of the products in their stores are foreign made.
The article also mentions “on-shoring” by other companies, including:
Topshop giving more work to British suppliers.
DFS increasing its UK production.
Hornby planning to make a new range of Airfix kits in Newhaven, East Sussex.
And online bathroom company Bathrooms.com giving more work to British suppliers.
Further update – it appears nothing could be done to save the store (or nothing was done perhaps). Today (21st December 2013) there was very little stock left in the shop, but there were lots of customers buying what little was left in the sale. Most of the stock will be sold at an auction in the store to be held on January 4th 2014. The store will close on Christmas Eve. It will be a sad loss for its loyal customers and for the town of Reading. It will be even harder now to find those hard to find things and to find somewhere that sells quality goods at realistic prices. Truly it is all very upsetting.
One positive thing is that Jacksons have sold their schoolwear business to Stevensons (who now have another shop in the Market Place), because Stevensons have a policy of “sourcing from UK manufacturers wherever possible” – http://stevensons.co.uk
Jacksons of Reading 21st December 2013 – the fabulous store will close its doors for the last time this Christmas Eve. Photograph by author.
Boyes are based in Scarborough in North Yorkshire where the Head Offices and Central Distribution Warehouses are located. BOYES have been trading since 1881 and now operate forty plus stores located in Yorkshire, Humberside, the North East, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire & Leicestershire. I’m from Yorkshire tell us a bit about the history of Boyes on their website (and kindly credit me for the photograph below). Pay a visit to Boyes next time you are up north. Fab stores.
Boyes Scarborough through the ages window display July 2016. Photograph by author.
Boys own brand British made writing pads and envelopes on display in the Scarborough store July 2016.
Boyes’ flagship store in Scarborough (16 Aug 2010)
Jacksons of Reading is a rabbit warren of a department store in Reading, Berkshire, England where you can get all those things you can’t find anywhere else and in a fabulous environment with lots of wood panelling, wood and drawers and counters. For example gifts, accessories, sewing stuff, knitting stuff (I found acrylic made in England from companies like Robins but sadly no British wool), linens and haberdashery, textiles, a good shoe department (specialising in wider fittings) and a large crafts section. They have a massive school and scout uniforms department, dancewear, bowls clothes, lingerie, nightwear, ladies fashions and a superb menswear department. Yesterday (8.12.12) the store was quite busy and I came across UK made HJ Hall socks at very reasonable prices and lovely James Aubrey men’s duffle coats. You’ll find brands like Peter England, Tootal, Somax and Double Two here too, but these days such brands manufacture abroad. Plus they have a great suits department and they sell things like British made braces. Look for the giant Jacksons Corner neon lights! Open Mon-Sat 09:00 – 17:30. The store unashamedly markets itself at the over 40s and prides itself on serving customers. This is most definitely not a self-service store. It is a beautiful building inside and out, with a fabulous pneumatic tubes system to handle cash. Founded in 1875 and still family run, this store is a must visit place when shopping in Reading.