Hello dear readers,
After the strong words I had with myself last week it’s business as usual today. Sort of…
Firstly, I thought I’d get things back on track with a short and sweet January haul type style post; including a couple of Christmas prezzies, sales buys, vintage pieces and an amazing tour jacket…
As much as it’s a bit soulless to receive cash and vouchers for Christmas, I rarely know what I want till I see it; I couldn’t possibly write a fashion list for Santa at the start of December because I’d change my mind by the time my advent calendar windows are all opened. But there are some style-essential pieces that I’ve always wanted or I always need; namely leather trousers and Lepel underwear respectively.
Leather Trousers, ASOS
Leopard Print Devore Cape, Military Boots, River Island
Cream Cable Knit Jumper, Jack Wills
Blue Cable Knit Jumper. Farah
Black Lace Bra, Lepel
Vintage 60’s Black Bag, Judy’s Vintage Fair
Siouxsie & the Banshees Leather Tour Jacket, A Gift
Lepel if you haven’t heard of it, is a boutique lingerie brand made in a factory in Nottingham, England. (NB: Nottingham is famous for it vast 19th/20th century lace production). They also make the most comfortable, perfectly fitting, gorgeous underwear I’ve ever worn; and at around £20-£25 for a bra, is on the less expensive side what most of us spend on a good quality bra right?
So this underwear manufacturer is able to sell great quality underwear at a reasonable price. (I’ve been wearing their ‘Fiore’ bras for a few years now and have them in 7 different colours). I’m lead to believe that making products in Britain /Ireland costs too much and so companies outsource manufacturing. Which brings me round to my second point, it disturbs me just how much of the new clothes I buy aren’t made locally…
I started thinking about it when I saw a report from Rochdale, Lancashire on Sky News. It said that the area was suffering from 72% unemployment. If I use Rochdale as an quick example, Wikipedia names well over 100 mills that have known to have existed in Rochdale; 45 of which were textile mills; indeed Rochdale and much of Greater Manchester and Lancashire were known during the industrial revolution for cotton/woollen/textile production. During the 20th century it fell into a deep decline and eventually came to a halt.
There does however seem to be a re-spinning of the mill wheel so to speak, Mary Portas’ ‘The Bottom Line’ (shown on Ch4) highlighted the issue and the Manchester Evening news reported this story last November, it claims that 200,000 jobs could be created in 5 years if plans to re-establish textile manufacturing in the area transpire. But until companies begin to start sourcing components, and manufacturing produce locally, then I can’t see how these kind of problems can be resolved.
But should I care and just how big an issue is it? Not everything is made outside Britain/Ireland surely? I checked the labels in all my new clothes, here’s a list of their origin of manufacture:
ASOS Leather Trousers: Made in India, River Island Boots: Made in Brazil, River Island Cape: Made in China, Jack Wills Jumper: Made in China, Farah Jumper: Made in China, Vintage BLL Leather Tour Jacket: Unknown, Lepel Bra: Made in England, Vintage 60’s Leather bag: Made in England…
So as far we know, 2 out of the 8 pieces of clothing I have bought/received in the last month were made in Britain, and none were made in Ireland. Should we support British/Irish manufacturing? And even if we want to, do we have a choice?
If we want something on trend and cheap we pretty much know it’s not going to be made in Europe, but a Lambswool or Merino jumper that costs the best part of £100/€100, should we expect it to come from a local manufacturer for that price? I’d like to believe that I’d support local producers, (it’s pretty easy food-wise) but based on the above list, it seems I can only viably do it with clothes if I buy vintage.
When I read that both jumpers were made in China, I was surprised and for some reason I felt short changed, but why? Is buying local produce even a quality issue? Are products that are made in Britain/Ireland a better quality and thus they cost more, or it is purely the manufacturing costs that causes the price increase? Is buying local merely a moral issue then, and would places like Rochdale see an increase in employment if we all insist on buying local, the Manchester Evening News seems to think so.