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Whether you’re a beauty novice or a confirmed fashionista, this topic is for consulting Mumsnetters on all things style-related. Plus, check out our Swears By page for the inside track on the next Mumsnet must-have.


(76 Posts)
sylviewylvie Wed 04-Oct-17 13:00:43

Hi everyone,
I have a quick question for people who live in the UK.

There's something that bugs me about 'British' clothing brands that flaunt their Britishness, but nearly all of their clothing care labels state that their clothing is made cheaply abroad.

This kind of saddens me personally because my family went bankrupt in the 80s due to this. They used to successfully manufacture clothing for some of these brands until they were ditched for cheap overseas manufacture. They had to make hundreds of employees redundant and they saw so many other manufacturers go bust.

I would just like to hear your opinion: would you be more likely to buy clothing from a 'Quintessentially British' brand which manufactures its clothing here in the United Kingdom if it’s just as good as your favourite brand and if it costs the same? I would really appreciate your responses about why or why not, if you have the time.

Sylvie smile

WhooooAmI24601 Wed 04-Oct-17 13:06:18

Absolutely, I'd happily choose something manufactured locally to something made cheaply abroad.

I loved Reiss especially, until 5 years ago or so when they seemed to lose a little of their 'specialness' if you like and began incorporating cheaper materials and higher prices. I have Reiss dresses, blouses and knitwear from my late twenties (am now mid thirties) which will last me a lifetime. Their products now don't stand up so well, partly because they're more cheaply made.

TheSpottedZebra Wed 04-Oct-17 13:08:13

"...and if it costs the same?"

But it can't. It will have to be much more expensive.

Autumnleaves7 Wed 04-Oct-17 13:10:15

I do try and buy Brora for this reason, but I don't think it's accessible for most people, the jumpers are wonderful and I've had some 10 years but they're over £100 per item and Bryce lasted that long as they are very special to me - not possible to treat every day clothes so carefully wth small dc and pets etc.

sylviewylvie Wed 04-Oct-17 13:11:40

WhooooAmI24601 You're so right! A lot of the fashion brands that are supposed to be really high quality really aren't... Some people don't buy from Primark because of concerns about working conditions of the employees who manufacture the clothes, but they trust the more expensive brands far too much.
'Designer' items are's all a bit hush hush about how they're made in similar factories. Yes they're slightly better quality than REISS etc, (although not always) but the items are still made so cheaply.

sylviewylvie Wed 04-Oct-17 13:14:07

The SpottedZebra - I think that's a misconception. British made could cost a similar amount to the usual British brands, but most companies think about making the highest net profit. They don't care about the clothing being made in the UK and being more sustainable.

sylviewylvie Wed 04-Oct-17 13:14:41

Autumnleaves7 - I hadn't heard of that brand, I'll check it out. smile

HotelEuphoria Wed 04-Oct-17 13:14:47

*"...and if it costs the same?"

But it can't. It will have to be much more expensive.. *

Agreed, or the seamstress (or male version of the same) would have to be paid considerably less than the minimum wage.

MadisonMontgomery Wed 04-Oct-17 13:15:17

If it was good quality I would be willing to pay for it - my biggest bugbear is how Joules, Boden etc have gone downhill in quality in recent years, so I would love if they brought manufacturing back to the UK and made genuinely long lasting clothes, and I would be happy to pay more for them.

AnnabelleLecter Wed 04-Oct-17 13:15:19

I'd be happy to pay more. I don't like fast fashion or loads of cheap tat in my wardrobe.
I suppose manufacturers didn't have much choice at the time and ended up having to compete with others.
I do remember reading something about M&S trying to keep it here until the last but ended up having to do the same in the end.

sylviewylvie Wed 04-Oct-17 13:23:19

I forgot to mention White Stuff and Boden. Some of the items cost so much for what they are. Thin cotton t-shirts and dresses for £49+ makes me laugh.
I really think that it costs them pennies to make the clothing. There's a reason why they're worth millions of pounds. There's a reason why REISS made over 500 million last year.
It's just that it drives me insane how they don't care about the environment or quality. Or creating more jobs in the UK for people interested in fashion.

annandale Wed 04-Oct-17 13:25:16

A relative of mine recently liked a brand called Cabbage Roses on FBI that claims to sell all British made prices. The clothes are OK though I don't love them, the prices are so much more than we expect to pay now (think £200 for a single dull item, IIRC a top). Fast fashion sellers and the industry generally have moved us away from buying a garment that has no fashion pretensions but will do a job, a bit itchily, for twenty, thirty years or more. We are used to changing what we wear all the time instead of having a day outfit, a Sunday outfit and a coat, which all get washed twice a year. If I were investing in an item i really did expect to wear for the rest of my life, £200 might look fine. The whole system has changed.

2014newme Wed 04-Oct-17 13:28:01

Yes but they would not cost the same. It's not possible as your story about your family has demonstrated

CruCru Wed 04-Oct-17 13:29:47

I don't think anything I've bought from Boden has ever been made in the UK - however, I do really notice that the quality is worse when it has a Made In China label rather than Portugal.

elevenclips Wed 04-Oct-17 13:40:23

The thing is most clothing is such terrible quality. I like to have a few items of clothing only and wear and wash them all a lot. So now I would be afraid to buy anything expensive in case it wears out in under a year.

Regarding your "British" questions I think the likes of Boden and Joules are British style/branded but that absolutely doesn't mean actually made in the U.K. I wouldn't buy something expensive just because it was UK made because I'd worry it'd fall apart regardless.

sylviewylvie Wed 04-Oct-17 13:40:40

CruCru, I think initially when clothing brands try to establish themselves they make sure their clothing is of good quality, however when they become established, thousands of people will still buy their items, so they increase profits by reducing quality.
And then there's the whole stock market and investor issue whereby they're pressured to show they are making more and more profits each year. Sometimes these companies get bought by big investors who will change everything to make more money.
Boden is getting much much worse...

DilysMoon Wed 04-Oct-17 13:45:12

I realise this is nothing to do with the above but could someone please tell me how to pronounce Joules. (I would say Jools) I have a friend who pronounces is jou-lay as if it's a French name and won't have it any other way! Appreciate it's a minor thig but bugs me every time it's mentioned... Unless I'm saying it wrong of course.

RosyPony Wed 04-Oct-17 13:46:51

It bugs the hell out of me that Joules plays on its Britishness and yet is made in China, for Joules prices I expect it to be made in a factory like the knitting Nannas on the Shreddies advert.

RosyPony Wed 04-Oct-17 13:47:38

Definitely provinces Jools!

sylviewylvie Wed 04-Oct-17 13:49:46

elevenclips - don't you think the "Britishness" of the brand is slightly misleading? E.g. "Joules- established in the fields of Great Britain." in 1989. It implies that it's somehow more British than say, Primark. I feel there are connotations in that statement (that they still use) which might make people think that they're buying something which is of really good quality and miles better than the likes of Primark - who don't declare how British they are. Even though the first Primark store opened in 1973 in Derby, UK - before Joules.

sylviewylvie Wed 04-Oct-17 13:52:00

RosyPony That's hilarious! I'm so glad you understand what I mean! I know it's not explicitly a "Made in the UK" brand, but they imply a kind of wholesome Britishness... just to make more profit.
Oh and it's definitely not pronounced "Jou-Lay!" haha!

JanetStWalker Wed 04-Oct-17 14:09:01

Crying at 'Jou-lay' grin

Is your friend called Mrs Bucket by any chance?

Ttbb Wed 04-Oct-17 14:13:09

Nope, I'm not racist or protectionist. I think that Taiwanese workers have just as much right to make a living as British, if they can do it at a lower rate then businesses have every right to choose their labour.

Autumnleaves7 Wed 04-Oct-17 14:27:28

oh yes, boden, the ever worsening quality and the 'british design'. I've got old boden knitwear that's outlasted and will outlast anything i've bought from them in the last 3-4 years. It sells though - there is not a large enough market for british made.

Abraham Moon - beautiful yorkshire tweed - one of their biggest buyers? JCrew. Laura Ashley and Boden have had some of their tweed but not to the same extent.

TheSpottedZebra Wed 04-Oct-17 14:39:44

There's a reason why REISS made over 500 million last year.

Er, they didn't. Sales are about £125m and profit well under £20m.

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