The UK retail sector is looking for UK manufactured textiles, both apparel and home textiles, that have integrity. Big retail brands don’t like being associated with sweatshops and poor quality raw materials. Consumers are demanding to know more about where things come from. Retailers want speed, quality and service. The government wants to create employment…
Currently only 20% of the textile home ware goods on sale in the UK are manufactured in the UK.
This all means that there is growing opportunity for UK textile mills. And there lies the problem. The UK is no longer the powerhouse of textiles that it once was.
Over recent decades two things happened. UK business people sent manufacturing to Asia and Eastern Europe and synthetic fibres crept into people’s lives.
Short-term profitability undermined the integrity of the products themselves, which reduced the experience of the products and subsequently the value. It seems short-term low cost ends up as long-term high-cost.
Now we have textile resurgence. There are little green shoots appearing with the remaining mills reinventing themselves. I know of several UK companies working on new luxury brands and filling their goods with natural fibres.
There is nothing wrong with imported goods, so long as those goods have integrity and you have the exported goods to make up the trade balance. (80% imports is not balance)
The government, the retail sector and now the manufacturing sector are all gearing up to create textiles in the UK and to create jobs. Great! Will the people respect quality, service and pay a fair price, or will the people buy the cheapest sweat shop produced, or plastic filled jersey or carpet and continue to wonder where all their jobs went?
Of course unless a product has added value, innovation, a point of difference and fluffy integrity, why should they buy it?