The recent ASBCI fashion industry conference 'Making it in the UK - Ready or not? The reality of manufacturing fashion in Britain' explored the theme of British manufacturing for fashion retailers.
Alek Adamski, partner, UK supply chain practice at Kurt Salmon, set the tone for the day with his optimistic scene setting presentation. After fast tracking delegates through the off-shore manufacturing exodus that began in the 1980’s he proclaimed: “Good news – things are changing and moving rapidly the other way!”
Increased labour and freight costs, difficulties in sourcing raw materials, environmental and ethical concerns and China’s focus on the demands of its domestic market have made UK retailers look again at UK sourcing. Cost to serve he explained is key and retailers have started to understand the true cost differentials in sourcing from the Far East as opposed to the UK.
This is translating into action. John Lewis’ Made in the UK label is now branded on 10,500 garments (July 2013) and M&S, River Island and George Clothing are just some of the retailers who are sourcing from the UK wherever possible. While those in the luxury clothing sector have long been capitalising on their Made in the UK credentials at home and overseas, the volume retailers are now following suit and consumers are helping by demanding quality not quantity.
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