With just over 2 weeks until the UK leaves the EU, Adrian Chiles made a radio programme for BBC Radio 4 called Living British. He challenged me to dress him head to toe in British-made, and I obliged with the help of our Make it British members.
In November 2020 I received a call from BBC Radio 4 asking if I'd help to dress journalist and presenter Adrian Chiles for a one-off show called Living British.
I rose to the challenge by putting a call out to our Make it British members. They supplied me with an amazing selection of British-made clothing and accessories; from jeans to hats; bow ties to shirts; and even underpants and Christmas jumpers.
What Adrian Chiles Already Owned That Was British-made
I then went to Adrian's flat in London to find out what he already had in his wardrobe that was made in the UK. Turns out it wasn't much!
It wasn’t all doom and gloom, amongst the shirts made in Thailand and jeans made in China I found a pair of Bridgedale merino socks which are made in Northern Ireland, a John Smedley jumper made in Derbyshire and a pair of Churches shoes made in Northampton.
Dressing Adrian Chiles in British-made Gear
From the arsenal of UK-made clothing I'd brought along for Adrian to wear he particularly loved the T-shirts from Big Fox Apparel, which suited his laid-back, casual style.
The totally British-made boxer shorts from Portsmouth-based manufacturer Halcyon Blue went on a treat too! The fabric on their new range of underwear is knitted in Nottingham too, by fellow members Rainbow Jersey.
Other products that I showed Adrian included a 100% organic cotton and a British tweed sweatshirt from clothing brand Touch of Tweed, a pair of recycled wool socks from Socko, a shirt from Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, and a 100% Merino lambswool cable crew neck jumper and a pair of sheepskin slippers from Celtic & Co.
A British Christmas Jumper for Adrian Chiles
I also brought with me a British wool and Harris Tweed jumper made by Yorkshire Dales based Glencroft, with matching tweed hat, but as much as he loved the jumper he finds wool next to his skin too itchy.
Who came to the rescue with some trousers?
Adrian had something to say when he noticed the lack of trousers in the clothes I brought along with me. While there are a few companies who do make jeans here, there aren’t that many options for UK-made men’s trousers.
I had in fact ordered him a pair of HebTroCo’s premium selvedge denim jeans that I knew Adrian was going to love. While they hadn’t arrived before recording the programme at Adrian’s house, Brant, one half of the duo founders of HebTroCo, agreed to drop off the jeans to Adrian personally.
Brant managed to rendezvous with Adrian in a car park off the A672 to show him a selection of their jeans. Very impressed with the fit and quality of the jeans, we’ve heard that since the recording of the programme, Adrian has purchased more of them from HebTroCo.
Adrian Chiles Living British
By the end of his Living British programme, Adrian felt much more confident about the idea of buying British. He concluded dressing head to toe in British-made is possible if you know where to look - and now you do!
Living British aired on 15th December 2020 at 4pm on BBC Radio 4 and it will be repeated on Boxing day at 12pm. If you can't wait till then, you can listen to the radio feature Living British on BBC Sounds.
Update December 2023: Adrian Chiles is still wearing his British Christmas Jumper!
According to research by environmental charity Hubbub, one in four Christmas jumpers bought are thrown away or are unlikely to be worn more than once.
So it was great to see that 3 years later Adrian is still wearing the Christmas jumper that I gave him.