For some Brits, Brexit appears to have revived feelings of nationalism, as Mintel research on Clothing Retailing reveals that close to nine in 10 British shoppers would be interested in buying clothes made in Britain. This high level of interest in locally made clothes contrasts with consumer sentiment prior to the June 2016 referendum, where clothes made in Britain came close to the bottom of the list.

Whilst the Brexit vote posed a number of challenges for a host of fashion businesses, it has sparked increased demand for British apparel. There is scope for clothing brands to emphasise their heritage to attract consumers and tap into a growing momentum for Made in Britain, and the retailers tapping into the British fashion opportunity are not exclusively luxury brands. Indeed, women aged 45 and over are most interested in clothes made in Britain, showing that this is a good way of driving purchasing among this demographic.

UK brands tapping into the rising demand for British goods

In recent years, we’ve seen several high-street retailers experimenting with UK manufacturers, ranging from value to premium brands. Footwear specialist Clarks is the latest retailer to reassess its supply chain, reinvesting in British manufacturing as it looks to become more responsive to fast-changing trends. Demand for fashion that is made in the UK is growing and the decision to invest in British production will not only reaffirm a brand’s heritage, but will also help companies like Clarks differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive footwear market. Elsewhere, as part of the company’s rebrand in 2016, Warehouse unveiled a new tagline ‘Resoluted British Now’.

At the premium end of the market, luxury fashion house Burberry has continued to draw attention to its Britishness, and the brand’s iconic English aesthetic and brand history have become integral elements in its success. Last year, the brand further emphasised its heritage, notably through its Thomas Burberry Christmas campaign, a well-considered and well-timed move given the increasing appetite for British-made clothing in its domestic market.

Demand for British fashion is not just exclusive to clothing, and there is an opportunity to invest in locally produced accessories too. Indeed, it seems that a number of consumers would like more handbags to be made in Britain.

Samantha joined Mintel in 2016, analysing and writing reports on the retail sector. Prior to joining Mintel, Samantha worked as a Fashion Analyst for EDITED, a retail technology company specialising in data software. Here she worked on the company’s retail data analytics, trend forecasting and runway coverage. She has a BA (Hons) in Fashion Marketing from Northumbria University.

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