Drapers gets to know some of the UK manufacturers on the British Fashion Council’s new database.
The British Fashion Council (BFC) unveiled a database of high-end manufacturers last month, highlighting some of the very best British manufacturers. The nationwide database is free to use. and the manufacturers listed come on the recommendation of designers, as well as on research carried out by the BFC.
The need for a database has been highlighted by proponents of British manufacturing, including Cambridge Satchel Company founder Julie Dean, who argue it will help businesses produce in the UK with confidence.
In the first in a series, Drapers meets two of the manufacturers that feature on the BFC database.
blackhorse lane atelier
Blackhorse Lane Ateliers
Average weekly production capacity: 600 units
Based in north London, Blackhorse Lane Ateliers is home to all things denim. Launched in April last year, the private label and denim manufacturer makes raw, selvedge and organic denim and has worked with designer Christopher Raeburn and British menswear brand Drakes, among others. The atelier was founded by Hans Ates, who previously worked in both textile manufacturing and the restaurant industry before starting Blackhorse Lane.
“There are three main parts to the business,” explains head of digital and retail David Giusti. “There’s the ready-to-wear denim line, where the styles include 1940s high-rise vintage fit and modern super-slim skinny jeans. The second part is collaborating with like-minded labels with a common philosophy of recycling and protecting the environment. And the third part is classic CMT production, where we do everything from sampling to full production runs. We focus on heavyweight fabrics like denim, chambray and corduroy.”
As well as manufacturing, Blackhorse Lane is seeking to make denim connoisseurs out of consumers through its own-label product.
“There are similarities between how people approach denim and how they think about products like coffee,” adds Giusti. “They start with the cheaper high street jeans and then might refine their pallet with denim from APC or Nudie Jeans before finding our jeans.”
There is more to Blackhorse Lane Atelier than denim, however. The Walthamstow factory is also home to pop-up restaurant Denim and Dine, which aims to bring new customers to Blackhorse Lane and encourage “cross pollination” between the two.
“If people can eat amazing food and sit next to the jeans in the factory, that’s another we’re introducing them to the brand,” says Giusti. “Similarly, if people already shopping can have a meal here, it becomes a real experience for them.”
Average weekly production capacity: 150 units
Founded by Sital Punja, London-based manufacturer Threads has been going for four years and focusses on creating detailed women’s and children’s occasionwear. Previous clients have included bridal specialist Nicki Macfarlane, designer JW Anderson, shirt brand Palmer Harding and Ted Baker.
“We like to work collaboratively with designers, enabling them to get the best they can and concentrating on high-end manufacturing,” Punja tells Drapers.
Threads also aims to work sustainably, souring locally and recycling wherever possible, as well as using green energy. Punja is a passionate proponent of British manufacturing and is determined to make sure skills are retained.
“I saw that the skillset needed to make beautiful products over here, rather than offshoring, was being lost and I wanted to empower those skills,” she says.
She hopes being part of the BFC’s database will help retailers find credible British manufacturers more easily.
“We need a database – we need something that can give labels a one-stop shop for good manufacturers and help them discern who to work with.”