In recent times, the British Footwear Association (BFA) has had about five enquiries a month from footwear people in the UK and abroad asking where they can have shoes made in this country.
In the great majority of cases, we have to point out that this isn’t likely to happen. The men’s factories are working flat out, mainly for their own labels, and there are virtually no women’s factories - and again, they are focusing on their house brands.
With the impressive popularity of the Made in Britain tag and with UK factory prices becoming comparatively more attractive, this trend is likely to continue.
The BFA thinks it knows the great majority of UK footwear manufacturers but there may be smaller ones out there that we should know about and who we can work with so we can refer potential clients to them. This may also assist those few leather and component suppliers that still exist in this country.
The BFA is actively seeking out those footwear producers (other than handmade) to service this growing demand. While we are unlikely to ever return to the heyday of footwear manufacturing in the UK, now is the time to build on the pent-up demand. The Made in Britain part of the BFA website is one of the most visited sections. We can build on this.
- Richard Kottler, Chief executive of the British Footwear Association