Saturday, 14 September 2013

Buy British

Buy British



Putting a little more thought into the origins of clothes, skincare, technology and even our reading material often comes at a price. Things made in Britain are generally a touch more expensive and perhaps it's time we just accepted it. No one that hasn't been living under a very dark rock for the past ten years can claim ignorance of the appalling conditions many factories in developing countries, whose produce is sold in the UK, force workers to endure. 

Just to further confuse everyone, brands shore up clever advertising departments that would have you believe your coat, wellingtons or whatever are made here, when in fact they have more air miles than a particularly hard working international salesman tacked to the sole. The sneaky sods. Often these brands are founded on a British heritage that they play endlessly upon. Their factories used to operate in the UK but they’ve either long since shut up shop and found cheaper labour on the other side of the earth or keep a token service open here whilst manufacturing the majority of their stuff abroad. What is more, they’ll charge you the price tag of something crafted on this fair isle for the pleasure of taking it off their hands. It’s just not cricket.

That said, there are still old school and newer names beavering away in Britain. It’s time to vote, nay protest with your purse and get some jolly good bits and pieces whilst doing so. Everyone’s a winner. Here are a few I've personally picked out :


1. MiMi Berry - take note, this is what a real 'bag for life' looks like. No loud branding, no ridiculous prints that will be out of favour and at the back of a wardrobe in a year's time. Yes, they're expensive but compared to other makes of a similar quality they're incredibly fair and will, as I say, last you a life time - perhaps even longer, it's an heirloom piece if ever I saw one.

2. B-Skincare - I have been a devotee of this company for years and successfully converted friends with similarly fussy skin. The Cornish based geniuses stir it all up in their own vats and don't put anything in that might raise so much as an 'oh, oh dear' from a sensitive epidermis. The packaging is smart enough for gifting, lovely things to sit on a bathroom shelf, and prices are extremely reasonable - ranging from £2.95 for a particularly fantastic lip salve to £6.50 for a moisturiser good enough to rival any expensive brand.

3. Suzannah -  I own two of their dresses and frankly if there was nothing else in my wardrobe whatsoever, I'd manage. I confess I bought both in the last legs of the sale but if you can afford them full price they're still worth it. Be warned, strangers will stop you in the street to compliment the neckline. Suzannah also offer a mind boggingly beautiful range of wedding couture if you're in the market for such a thing.

4. The Cambridge Raincoat Company - forget the Cambridge Satchel Company, okay, well don't forget, they're pretty darn great but you've seen them before, and take a peek at these traditional raincoats. Eye-blastingly bright. That red number, though perhaps a little long for vertically challenged folk like me, would look fantastic on a Sunday morning stroll in the woods. Just make sure you keep an eye out for wolves with a taste for cross dressing.

5. PeppersmithThese guys are obsessed. It's almost worth buying a box for the intricacies of the packaging alone. I'm a fan of the little pouch of papers tucked under the flap for disposing of your gum, illustrated and stuffed with little facts as they are. Did you know the oldest piece of gum ever found is over 9000 years old? No? me neither. Order yourself a multipack of the lemon and peppermint, you won't regret it.

6. Grenson - just look at these jodhpur boots. I refuse to call them 'chelsea' boots, you don't need to aspire to one of London's most expensive post codes to own a pair of these. Near the £200 mark yes, but they are built to last and so smart. Grenson also have a tempting sale section.

7. Kinky Knickers - never have I been so enthused about a pair of pants. More than I'd usually spend, my natural inclination being toward the M&S '3 for £5' and wearing knickers with a polar bear print year round just because they were extraordinarily cheap. Fifteen smackeroos they might be but that's more than matched in pure, lacey goodness. The perfect point between pretty but impractical and large but unsightly, these knickers are sewn to please a nation of Bridget lovers. I cannot express how flattering they are to one's posterior - go and  buy them now and see for yourself. ASOS are currently selling a fair few colours half price.

8. The Gentlewoman - the sort of publication I wish was around whilst I was a teenager slugging through GCSE art. It is inspiring. The photography alone is stunning and it celebrates women at the top of their game in a way that I've seen many another attempt but not quite get the tone right. About twice the price of your average glossy, but average glossy they are not. Published twice a year, the gentle woman is available online from WHSmith and Unique Magazines.

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