The groundswell of support for UK-based designers and manufacturers continued this week with the launch of the inaugural Buy British Day, which will take place on October 3.
The day will be run in conjunction with Best of Britannia, an event showcasing British-made brands, which will take place for the third time in London on October 2-4. It is supported by shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry, Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury, and former business and enterprise minister Michael Fallon.
There will be a national PR campaign in the run-up, as well as live marketing events in locations around the capital on the day, including stunts and street theatre. British manufacturers will be invited to give talks at Best of Britannia.
At a launch event at the House of Commons today (July 22), bespoke tailor and designer Timothy Everest said: “So many people are looking at Britain at the moment in the wake of events such as the Olympics. It’s a fantastic place to be. We should be celebrating that.”
He said Buy British Day would help educate British consumers about the high quality of goods produced in the UK. “It’s a hard slog to get people to buy British. It might be more expensive, but if people understand why, I’m sure they will buy into it.”
Dale Gatehouse, director and chief executive of London-based shoemaker Caterina Belluardo, said buyers visiting the brand at London Collections: Men and White in Milan this year were surprised to find the shoes were made in Britain rather than Italy.
She added: “The product is high end and expensive, but nobody batted an eyelid at the price. The quality speaks for itself – these shoes are not coming off a production line in China or the Far East. Buy British Day will educate people that we can make shoes as well as the Italians.”
Other businesses at the event included the British Footwear Association, tailor Susannah Hall, designer menswear brand Private White VC, accessories brands Cherchbi, Chapman and Owen Barry, and footwear brand Cheaney.
Hall said: “What annoys me is when people claim a garment was made in Britain, but you look at the label and it was actually made in China.” This can happen when items are assembled in Britain, but made abroad, she pointed out.
Best of Britannia’s non-executive director Wayne Hemingway said there were a number of reasons to support British manufacturing and design. “Its provenance is easier to trace, we know we treat our workers better here than in some countries – and it creates jobs for our children and future generations,” he explained.
“Britain leads the world when it comes to design. If we can make more local manufacturing ingenuity available to designers, we can go from strength to strength.”
If you would like to get involved in Buy British Day, contact Joe Pidgeon at Best of Britannia: firstname.lastname@example.org