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Liberty to source UK product for own label’s new categories

Department store Liberty is plotting an overhaul of the sourcing and production for its Liberty London own label, as part of its ‘best of British’ heritage strategy.

Liberty London’s range of menswear, nightwear, women’s shirts and home furnishings is currently manufactured in countries including Italy and Portugal, but it intends to move some production to the UK as it adds new product categories.

A kidswear range will launch  next summer, while a licensing deal with Italian manufacturer Slowear signed in May last year has seen the menswear range expand into trousers and outerwear.

Liberty wholesale managing director Kirstie Carey has recruited Daliah Simble, currently head of sourcing and production at designer label Roland Mouret, as product supply chain director. She will join Liberty London in January.

In the newly created role, Simble will oversee all Liberty London product development and sourcing.

Simble, who moved about half of Roland Mouret’s production back to the UK, will work with Carey to reassess the sourcing strategy.

Liberty has historically had a strong ‘best of British’ buying strategy across its branded business. For the past three years it has held a ‘Design Open Call’, inviting British designers and brands to exhibit their ranges to its buying panel.

Some of Liberty’s best-selling products, including silk scarves by Richard Weston and Silken Favours, and womenswear by Draw In Light, Geannine Pollazzon and Modern Love, have been sourced through this.

The Liberty London range was initially sold from a standalone store on Sloane Street, as well as the main Liberty store on Great Marlborough Street, but the Sloane Street boutique closed in 2009.

Earlier this year, UK department store John Lewis held a showcase for suppliers to inspire its buyers to source more product – own label and branded – from the UK. In October, Drapers reported that John Lewis is to put a ‘Made in UK’ stamp on items by 130 British manufacturers.

Liberty was unavailable for comment as Drapers went to press.

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