Stephen Sidkin, Chair of the Fashion Law Group at Fox Williams.
What brands mean when they say their products were ‘Made in Britain’ has become increasingly important as they look to burnish their home credentials.
As far as the law is concerned, the words ‘made in’ mean to manufacture, produce, process or recondition the goods in question.
Accordingly, we must ask whether that which took place in Britain resulted in a substantial change to the goods. If it did, the claim ‘Made in Britain’ can be made.
Unfortunately, there is little guidance as to what is or is not ‘a substantial change’. There has only been one reported court case, and that took place outside the fashion industry. But from that ruling it would seem the test is a high one - possibly far higher than brands currently understand it to be.
It is also the case that statements of origin are being made that are more specific - a brand being made in London, for example, or even a part of London such as Shoreditch.
The issue is important in terms of consumer law as watchdogs look for discrepancies in claims as to origin.
But it is even more important that the cachet of ‘Made in Britain’ is preserved and safeguarded. If we do not do so, the whole of Britain’s fashion industry will be worse off.