The following is a guest post that I wrote for From Britain with Love, a site that showcases not only British made products, but also all the best that Britain has to offer, including travel features and course reviews.
There are 80 billion new garments produced annually worldwide, most of which will end up in landfill. In fact, clothing makes up 1.5 million tons of the rubbish that we throw away in Britain every year. Such is our appetite for fast, throwaway fashion, that the majority of orders for clothing and accessories now go off-shore to enormous factories in the Far East, because the smaller, specialist units that were making our products in the UK just cannot compete on price or turnaround.
In 1981 the British clothing and footwear market imported 29% of the fashion that we consumed, by 2001 that figure had risen to 90%.
Many factories in the UK have had to close down in the last few years as a result of this decrease in demand, and as a consequence not only have skilled workers here in Britain been left without jobs, but there is no one left to train up a new generation of machinists and pattern cutters should we need them in the future.
With a desire to put things right, Make it British, a website dedicated to supporting British made clothing and accessories, carried out a survey to discover if consumers are starting to turn their backs on this mass-produced clothing, and the results were quite encouraging.
More than two-thirds of respondents do now look at where their garment is produced before they buy it, although they say that this information is not always easy to find. Not surprising then that nearly everyone surveyed would like to see clearer labelling to show the country of origin of a garment.
And whilst design and price are still the most important factors for the majority when choosing clothing and accessories, where a garment is made was the principal factor for more than 30% of those that answered the survey.
So the British public does care, and they want it made easier for them to discover more about the provenance of their clothes. That is why websites like Make it British and From Britain with Love are doing the best that they can to provide a resource to those fantastic brands and individual makers who are keeping their production here in Britain. So together, let’s make it British!