‘Made in the UK’ menswear looks to the future in 2022
UK menswear brands are taking full advantage of the opportunities of manufacturing expertise built up over centuries while also ensuring their quality collections meet the exacting demands of today’s international consumers in terms of functionality and sustainable credentials.
The UK is home to a number of longstanding mills and manufacturers, artisan producers, skilled craftspeople and talented specialists in textiles, garment and leather production. While in many cases the best heritage techniques have been preserved, new technology and creative approaches are expanding the opportunities of what can be achieved. For menswear in particular, this creates a fertile source of inspiration for the kind of quality, luxury products that are coveted around the world.
Marina Iremonger, Head of Trade Team Consumer Goods and Creative Industries at the Department for International Trade (DIT) in Italy, believes that it is the unique combination of heritage and tradition with contemporary design and innovation that makes UK menswear so special.
“This results in unique, quintessentially British products made with high quality fabrics and materials using local craftsmanship and global creative talents,” she says.
Federica Montelli, head of fashion buying at luxury Italian retailer Rinascente, says: “British fashion has always been at the forefront of creativity, especially menswear with several of the international talents of the past decade coming from its designer pool.
“As buyers, we also look at British designers for their most up to date perspective on sustainability and for designers that are very good at connecting with the younger generations through their social activism.”
Gianluca Bauzano, a journalist for Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, says: “UK men’s fashion is about unique fabrics and longstanding traditions, but there is also a commitment to continuous renewal. The UK has been a leader in sustainability, demonstrated by the launch of the Campaign for Wool in 2010 by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and who has since go on to launch The Sustainable Markets Initiative. The UK and Italy have close links in this respect, collaborating on Sustainable Fashion Day, an event to showcase Lessons in Sustainable Fashion, confirming that sustainability and ethical commitments are the future of fashion and the planet.”
Marina at DIT Italy agrees: “Visiting British mills and factories as well as tradefairs, I have found a wealth of British knits and weaves and tartans, and seen British local craft revived by established and emerging brands. Upcycling and recycling practices implemented across supply chains, water efficiency in mills and factories, fair trade and support to local communities, are just a few of the sustainable clothing criteria, set out in the Textile 2030 agreement – a voluntary agreement supported by the UK government – which aims to engage the majority of the UK fashion and textile organisations in collaborative climate action.”
Discover some of the Made in The UK menswear brands looking to the future this season…
John Smedley is the oldest continuously operating manufacturer in the world, producing fine gauge knitwear from their Lea Mills, Derbyshire factory since 1784. Crafted from the finest noble fibres of extra fine Merino Wool, John Smedley’s Sea Island Cotton and other luxury blends. John Smedley’s latest collections also incorporate English wool, Merino-cotton blends and Eco Cashmere, created using a blend of 50% virgin cashmere fibre alongside 50% regenerated Merino. John Smedley holds two Royal Warrants of Appointment for the manufacturing of fine knitwear from Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
Johnstons of Elgin has worked with the world’s finest natural, biodegradable fibres for 224 years, creating luxurious, high-quality designs, with products made to last for more than a lifetime. The knitwear and fine woollen specialist is committed to continually improving its sustainability and reducing its environmental footprint. The company’s Elgin and Hawick mills are still family-owned, with Elgin being the only vertical mill in Scotland, meaning everything is dyed, spun, woven and finished on site. Johnstons of Elgin marries delicate care and soft Scottish water with innovative technology, outstanding design and unrivalled craftsmanship, to deliver products to be proud of – all Made in Scotland.
Dents of England has handmade the world’s finest leather gloves since 1777 and is a holder of the HRH the Prince of Wales Royal Warrant. Today, the best traditions of this time-honoured craft are combined with contemporary design and luxury leather in stylish accessories including gloves, wallets, and belts. All the Heritage Collection leather gloves are British designed and made in the brand’s custom built Warminster factory. Heritage Collection accessories are also designed and made in the UK.
Fox has produced handmade umbrellas in the UK since 1868 and has built a reputation for excellence, skill and superb craftsmanship. Today quality and attention to detail are still the hallmark of a Fox umbrella. Fox Umbrellas has supplied to the English and Japanese Royal families and also the late President of the USA J.F. Kennedy. Fox Umbrellas makes for film companies, television and stage, notably the John Steed umbrella in the Avengers.
Hardy & Parsons was founded in 2002 by Maurice Greig to address a niche in the prestige market for superbly crafted belts and leather goods. The range is handmade by a team of master saddlers at the design studio in Chelsea, England. With 11 different leather colours, 12 different thread colours and over 300 different webbing colour options, the choice is truly amazing! The portfolio of products consists of: belts, key fobs, braces, wallets, card holders, dog collars and leads, tote bags, conical flasks and drinks cabinets as well as specially designed and hand crafted bespoke products.
The Loake family business has been making traditional shoes in Northamptonshire, England since 1880. Today, 140 years later, Loake’s legacy as manufacturers of fine footwear lives on. From the design bench to the finishing room, each pair is carefully crafted with an uncompromising attention-to-detail and infused with the individual flair, personality, and magic of dedicated makers. The famous Goodyear Welted construction for which the brand is known is an intricate process with each pair taking up to 8 weeks to produce. Loake is a truly authentic British brand, having made footwear for British soldiers and officers in two World Wars. The company has also produced iconic designs that have become synonymous with British youth culture, such as the Brighton loafer and Royal brogue, which were first introduced in the 70s and are still in production today. Despite its notable heritage however, Loake is very much a forward-looking company, and dedicated to improving its sustainable footprint. All the Goodyear welted footwear is designed to be repairable to prolong their lifespan and encourage ‘recycling’ of footwear over sending to landfill.
Pantherella first opened its doors in 1937 and is still designing and making all socks in its family-owned factory, situated in the same street in Leicester, England, as it was in 1937. Timeless designs, luxurious yarns: Cashmere, Silk, Merino Royale, Sea Island Cotton and fine-linked toe seams mean that Pantherella continues to be recognised as the maker of the finest quality socks in the world. Every Pantherella sock is crafted by the company’s skilled team of sock makers. In-house design, yarn sourcing, detailed quality control and expert manufacture – all these elements ensure a Pantherella sock is made to world class standards.
First established by brothers William and Thomas Sanders in Northamptonshire, England, and now in the fifth generation of family run business, Sanders & Sanders can count a long and established heritage of handmade luxury footwear dating back to 1873 and is one of the most sought after British heritage brands worldwide. Every pair of Sanders is lovingly handmade and crafted from only the finest materials, from soft calf leather to supple suede and the Goodyear welted soles provide durability and sustainability to ensure long wear. With a fine reputation for developing a range of timeless styles to cover a footwear connoisseur’s requirements, you are sure to find a style fit for any occasion.
The Cambridge Satchel Co. was born from a passion for excellence. A beautiful blend of old and new, that’s Cambridge, and it’s in the brand’s DNA. In all the bags you’ll find a taste of tradition, brought back to life with style, finesse and fun! Behind every design lies a story waiting to be told. Behind every bag, a story waiting to be written. The Cambridge Satchel Co. is committed to preserving exceptional British craftsmanship. All products are handmade by the team of highly skilled Makers at the brand’s Workshop in the heart of England.
Walker Slater was founded in 1989 in the Scottish Highlands before later settling Edinburgh’s Old Town, which is where its headquarters are today. Despite now being over 30 years old, the company has not deviated from its mission, which is to champion the heritage and sustainability of tweed and woollen fabrics through contemporary and elegant clothing. A fundamental area of the business is working in close proximity with its range suppliers and mills, most notably the world-renowned Harris Tweed Hebrides. Over the last three decades, Walker Slater has worked season on season with Harris Tweed to create a wide range of exclusive fabrics. In addition to that, it also supports and promotes the lesser-known mills in The Borders, as well as specialist mills in Italy and beyond.
Westley Richards is continuing a long tradition of outfitting sportsmen and adventurers for the rigours of outdoor life. Founded in 1812 by William Westley Richards, it is now the last-remaining gun company of Birmingham’s famous gun quarter; and has been handcrafting guns and outfitting clients ever since. The company offers a wide range of traditionally-tanned and exotic leather goods to adventurous travellers and field sports enthusiasts alike.
New & Lingwood was formed in Eton to serve the scholars of Eton College, the most famous of English Public Schools, and soon gained official status as outfitters to the College. The company has served many thousands of Etonians over more than 150 years. Today, New & Lingwood specialises in clothing with character, offering English ready-to-wear & made-to-measure tailoring, loungewear, accessories & shoes to a clientele of gentlemen of refinement and quiet good taste from all over the world. The New & Lingwood retail establishments in Jermyn Street, Eton and New York are well supported by workrooms where the company makes its own bespoke and ready-made shirts, the finest quality piped pyjamas, and bespoke shoes and boots.
RÆBURN is a collaborative, creative fashion studio where daily design meets responsible production, alongside monthly events, discussions and workshops. Since it was established in 2009, the brand has been bringing responsible design to a global audience and presenting a new definition of luxury with integrity. The RÆMADE ethos in particular has pioneered the reworking of surplus fabrics and garments to create innovative and functional pieces.
Peregrine offers English Heritage clothing including British Heritage Merino wool jumpers and cardigans, Millerain Wax jackets, Merino wool hats and scarves. Peregrine specialises in clothing made in England since 1796, characterised by functionality, adaptability and a play on tradition.
Founded in 1951, Gloverall is the archetypal duffle coat brand with a reputation built on hand-crafted garments which stand the test of time. The brand’s uncompromising quality is renowned worldwide and its raw classic style has become an iconic handwriting. Gloverall’s new and exclusive Autumn/Winter 2022 collection reinforces the brand’s ethos of hard wearing functional wool garments, for everyday life and protection from the elements. The new, elegant street style capsule collection, pushes the boundaries of Gloverall’s design looking to the future of outerwear.
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