M&S in 'Best of British' initiative

Marks & Spencer to collaborate with the British Fashion Council in a 3 year plan to bring Best of British manufacturing to the High Street

Marks and Spencer’s Best of British Collection

In an announcement made by the British Fashion Council (BFC) this week, it has begun a collaboration with retailing giant Marks & Spencer to celebrate ‘British fashion, home-grown talent and sustainability’.

Speaking about the announcement, Natalie Massenet, Chairman of the BFC, said “The M&S brand is synonymous with all things British so we are delighted that they will be partnering with us to champion the very best of the UK’s manufacturing, textiles and practice. We are charging them with taking a lead on positive fashion and change within our industry. Myself and the team are looking forward to developing this with them over the next three years”

As part of the initiative M&S will launch two new clothing collections in what it describes as a combination of ‘British heritage, sourcing and production’.

It always makes us a little nervous when the phrase ‘British Heritage’ is used by a brand or retailer as it often denotes implying a product is British made when not all of it actually is (read Burberry, Barbour et al), so we hope that M&S will be sticking to their guns on this one and making 100% of their ‘Best of British’ collections here. If they do it is a major step forward for British retail and we applaud them.

25 thoughts on “M&S in 'Best of British' initiative”

  1. Sadly we have heard all before, great British design and then find the product was produced overseas. Given the high shipping costs coupled with rising labour costs in many countries, we are long overdue in this country to take the long term approach to British Manufactuting again, as oppossed to the short term quick profit stance taken by many retailers and suppliers.

  2. I’m surprised M&S have the cheek to “back British”. All their stuff seems to be made abroad, even most of their greetings cards are made in China !

    1. Hi Rosemary
      I know it’s a difficult one.
      On one hand M&S had a massive impact on the UK manufacturing industry when they took all of their business away a decade ago, leaving factories to close and staff out of work.
      On the other hand I speak to factories that are making for them again and they say that with M&S placing orders with them again it means that they will be able to grow their businesses back up – which is the first time anyone has been talking like this for ages.
      What needs to happen is for the public to really buy into this new Best of British range so that M&S continue to grow it – if the public aren’t behind it then sadly I think that M&S will revert to China again 🙁

      1. Just a point , have an old M&S Jumper made in the UK -has outlived all other jumpers that i have had bought for me from the Store ( My Mum ) .I boycott all their clothing ;before they let the country down.

        Extra point
        Don’t want power cuts in the future .

        Sign petition so that there can be a debate in The House of Commons


        1. Hi Mark
          I also have some old M&S clothes that were made over 15 years ago and they are still going strong, but you’re right, their new stuff just doesn’t last as well.
          they have changed their quality standards to keep up with the prices at Primark and that is such a terrible shame.
          will be interesting to see if they have cut any corners with this new Best of British range.

  3. I am more than a little sceptical about this announcement and what it will actually achieve for British manufacturing. Twice I have written to M&S recently asking that more of their products should wholly made in the UK. This was prompted by the fact that I am a regular M&S customer and one day I examined all the lables on my clothes I was then wearing to find that only the belt was made in Britain.
    I wrote to the CEO pointing to the success of the Olympics and Lord Coe’s speech that people trusted the ‘Made in Britain’ label. I was first of all told that they insist on the highest quality standards and that I should have no worries, which is not what I was pointing out. In the second reponse I was told that the stores had to compete with other high street clothing stores and that was why they ‘HAD’ to manufacture abroad.
    My other point was that when they place manufacturing abroad, British people lose their jobs and can no longer afford to buy top quality clothing so no wonder they are looking for the cheapest on the high street. It’s a spiral caused by the stores themselves, but this country is not going to get out of the mess and trading deficit it is in until we start to bring mass jobs back to Britain. M&S could be starting this in a BIG way and not just tinker around the edges.

    1. Hi Jeff
      I agree completely with what you are saying, and good on you for voicing your concerns to M&S.
      If only more people would be like you and write to the CEO of companies to complain about their sourcing policies the industry would be in much better shape

  4. I’m old enough to remember the time when M&S used to advertise that a large % of their goods were made in the UK (I think it was 90%), nowadays the clothes are from China, Turkey, anywhere but the UK and we have little mainstream clothing made in this country. Their mens shoes are predominantly from India. I always think that with M&S, if you are going to buy Chinese or Indian goods, you can probably get them cheaper elsewhere.
    That having been said, I would be the first through their doors if they started producing UK manufactured affordable items. They could make a start with crockery, I can’t believe they couldn’t put Staffordshire-made tableware on their shelves and sell it at a price that wouldn’t bankrupt the supplier.

  5. I too feel a little sceptical, as has been said this is the same M&S which outsourced all their clothing some years ago. As someone else says I am also worried about the ‘British Heritage’ too may companies trade on this by implication, when in fact they manufacture abroad. I too have writted to M&S on the subject of British Made, poiting out that they are most definitely not ‘My M&S since I have not bought a single thing there since they outsourced.
    That said, perhaps they need to be pushed to be more specific as to whether they will source items actually made in the UK and if they do intend to, then full marks to them and I would shop there again!

  6. I hope M&S stick to their plan and raise the profile of genuinely British made products. I have difficulty sourcing genuinely British made fabrics to make my garments. Hopefully M&S will inspire and have enough demand on manufacturers to set up shop again.

  7. Really good to hear this, we all must try and buy British goods. The thing that really gets me is that we still are not getting into schools and educating the young. This is there future so perhaps people like M&S could have stalls within the shops to show people what items will be made in Britian and get into schools to show them how it works.
    A step in the right direction keep it up.

  8. I used to live near a factory that made shirts for M&S, production went to Turkey but the staff were asked to go abroad to train the workers that were taking their jobs! Guess what they said……

  9. As someone personally involved with NPS Solovair, a 100% British manufacturing shoe company (1881, is when we started), I can confirm that we will be making shoes for M&S for the 2013 Autumn season. Take a look at our website http://www.solovair.co.uk and find out who really made UK made DM’s in the 1960’s. We make some very nice leather soled shoes for other British companies too.

  10. The irony! M and S bought gloves from us for 50 years, then moved production to China without bothering to tell us until we turned up at the planning meeting. Not even an email. We lost £2 million pounds worth of turnover over night and M and S didn’t even want to discuss it with us.

    Luckily we are a resilient company who diversified into making the world’s best protective leather gloves for the fire service and we now export to 35 countries, but ‘initiatives’ like this still make me feel rather bitter!

    1. David Tower Garments (London)

      Perhaps Kate could start a secondary campaigne “is it British”. A question to be asked by all those who are passionate about our own goods whenever they shop. But be prepared to walk out when the answer is no. Perhaps the message might get across.

  11. Maybe if Kate had the time she could run a junior campaign called “Is it British” Everyone who is passionate about goods being made in Britain could ask the question when entering a shop. But be prepared to walk out when the answer is NO. Maybe the point would then sink in a bit deeper. It would also make going shopping so much cheeper as you would come back with the money you went out with!!

  12. To be honest it took me years to twig M&S did not manufacture their clothes in UK anymore – it was a very disappointing moment I can tell you !
    So, yes please may we buy British from you again !

  13. Hi. We’re a made in UK ethical fashion label and though it is clear that ‘made in UK’ is difficult to sell into larger chain retailers, (I have seen some smaller brands move their production overseas), we’re sticking to our guns and keeping manufacturing here.

    Our price points are premium to luxury, being that we also use cruelty free British made silk and not mass production silk from overseas that requires boiling silk worms alive, but we believe that the more Britain establishes itself as a manufacturing destination, the more competitively priced we can become. It will take some time, but we are in it for the long run!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.