There’s a label we should be looking out for in 2021: Made in the UK. In fact, the textile industry is long overdue a shift back to British manufacturers. Now, after Brexit and with the threat of our impending climate crisis, it’s more important than ever.
At MPLG Ltd, we’re of course a little biased. We’ve been in business for nearly fifty years at the heart of a city that was once the birthplace of the industrial revolution. It’s in our ethos to care about British manufacturing. Luckily, there are endless reasons why it’s time to be Made in the UK.
For the economy
The cost of Brexit and the pandemic to the economy has been felt nationwide. Our GDP shrank by 9.9% thanks to the Coronavirus and even before that, economists argue that Brexit cost us 1.3% of our GDP after the referendum. Forecasters are hopeful of an upturn as restrictions are gradually lifted, predicting that the economy will grow strongly in the second half of this year.
But for those of us in the textile and fashion industry, there’s more to do than wait for restrictions to ease. Deciding to work with manufacturers at home benefits the national and local economy. We don’t need to go into the hows and whys. We’re all well aware that investment in our own economy equals job creation.
With a higher demand for manufacturing jobs comes a need for training. Factories will need apprentices and with the graduate job market more crowded than ever before, apprenticeships are a fantastic alternative to university – if the demand does indeed grow. We stand behind pushes for greater opportunities for young people leaving school or college and hope to take several on should the industry improve.
For your business
We know that Made in the UK benefits the economy but there are also tangible benefits to this shift for your business.
Manufacturing in the UK as a UK business often means a quicker turnaround. Efficiency between production and delivery can increase and shipping fees from overseas don’t eat into your budget. It also gives you a certain control over the production process that you would not have manufacturing abroad. You’re able to visit the factory and assess quality before it goes anywhere.
From a PR side of things, the ability to visit a factory and demonstrate authenticity is incredibly beneficial. With some evidence of a preference against buying international goods growing, it certainly seems like a good idea to get ahead of the curve. There is also a certain reassurance regarding sustainability and ethical practice if you can assess such standards for yourself. Transparency matters these days.
The UK, Manchester in particular, has a long and esteemed history of manufacturing. Despite the industry’s decline in investment, skilled craftsmen still exist here, upholding decades of British expertise. Who knows how your product could improve – both functionally and aesthetically – with a trained eye?
For the environment
The UK manufacturing industry suffered in 2008 when many brands decided to manufacture for a fraction of the price in countries like China, India and Bangladesh. The cost-effectiveness is indeed too good to be true however, because workers in garment factories are notoriously underpaid and overworked. This is without mentioning the environmental strain.
Factories in these countries often dump untreated toxic wastewaters directly into rivers. These contain substances such as lead, mercury and arsenic which seriously harms aquatic life and the health of the millions of people living on the riverbanks. Such substances can make it into the food cycle through the consumption of fish living in polluted ocean water.
Had you looked at Manchester one hundred years ago, you would have found similar conditions and worse. Development will encourage better practice. Until then, having your products made in the UK ensures better practice, with factories having higher standards and cleaner policies.
It also means fewer ‘miles’ on your product; it won’t have to be imported and therefore less CO2 will be released into the environment. With the fashion industry already being the second largest contributor to global warming after the oil industry, it’s vital that we look at ways to cut our impact.
Should your budget allow for it, switching your products to be made in the UK is the ethical and sustainable decision. MPLG can answer any questions about getting started with us. We can also provide suggestions for more sustainable materials. Let’s get it made in the UK!
MPLG Ltd is a private label manufacturer of premium quality bags, backpacks and wallets, in leather, synthetics or textiles, for international brands. Established in 1976; we have capabilities and expertise in every area of sampling and production. We make all items in our own factory in Manchester, England.
All content and opinions stated here are to the best of our knowledge, true and correct. We cannot be held liable for any unintentional errors or omissions. We recommend that you make your own detailed enquiries before making any decision based on the above information.
© MPLG Ltd 2021