London event signals rising demand for UK manufacturing

Meet the Manufacturer, the UK sourcing event organised by Make it British, attracted a record number of visitors this year, indicating a rising demand for UK manufacturing and British-made brands.

More than 5,000 visitors gathered at the Old Truman Brewery in London for the two day event on May 24-25 to find out more about sourcing British fashion, accessories and homewear.

Now in its fourth year, this year’s Meet the Manufacturer was bigger than ever at 50,000ft2 and with 200 exhibitors, compared to 50 in 2014, coming together to share ideas and best practice.

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The show also attracted more interest from around the world, with international visitors double that of last year, accounting for 8% of total visitor numbers.

Kate Hills, founder and CEO of Make it British, said: “When we launched in 2014 we could never have guessed that thousands of people from all over the country, as well as visitors from as far away as America and Japan, would come to a small venue in east London.

“This is a clear indication of the rising demand for UK manufacturing and British-made brands.  Meet the Manufacturer is now attracting companies from all over the world and this makes me more enthusiastic than ever about manufacturing in the UK.  We hope that Meet the Manufacturer continues to inspire more businesses to Make it British.”

Simon Platts, sourcing director at ASOS, who was speaking at the event urged more people to take time out to come along to events like Meet the Manufacturer, saying: “Partnerships are built on trust and this is the place to meet people face-to-face to begin that collaboration to find the right UK manufacturer for your brand.  It’s important to take the time and initiative to talk to people and begin that process.”

Key features of this year’s event included a curated selection of British-made brands including Windemere-based Unibu, nightwear brand Esteem – No Pause and hosiery brand Pamela Mann.

There was also a two-day programme of informative talks on ‘partnerships, provenance and production’, and a series of live interactive workshops and demonstrations.