Meet the Manufacturer 1 year on - The only UK specific trade event for British Manufacturers
Hey everyone!This week, I’m excited to say I attended the Meet the manufacturer trade show, hosted by Kate Hills at Truman’s Brewery just off Shoreditch High Street. This year the show is focusing on promoting British made products in a whole new light. There was a Brand hall which will focus on promoting new British made products as well as demonstrations and seminars from industry leaders. Last year at the show I was assisting Mary Portas ‘Queen Of Shops’, making garments for her living and giving charity shop in partnership with save the children. The main reason I’ve been asked to visit this event is due to the fact that Blue Badge Co. discovered me here… I’m only kidding. I graduated 2 years ago from the London college off fashion gaining my Masters degree in menswear and crossed paths with Tom Blue Badge Co.’s Operations Manager. Since then I’ve been advising Blue Badge Co. on their new product ranges, assisting develop new product ranges and re-develop the company’s branding. After all when working within any means of design, you have to understand the entire design process of a product whether it be a denim jacket or a new leather wallet, you need to understand how everything works cohesively – luckily for Blue Badge Co. I do, and I’m a dab hand at using the Adobe Suite.
My focus of attending this show is to check out innovative products that are being produced in the UK and to actually meet the manufacturers producing them. It’s a really exciting part of my job as I enjoy discovering new ideas or ways of producing a product. I first wanted to check out the brand hall to check out some of the new brands and what products they were showcasing. There really was something for everyone, whether you were looking at sourcing footwear, leather goods underwear, the designers showed a vast array of talent and creativity which I love to see. I noticed there was a lot of knitwear designers and suppliers showcasing in both halls, perhaps an influx in British made knitwear is causing more and more businesses specialising in knitwear to come our and showcase what they can do. It was exciting to see most of them were Leicester based, as I graduated from De Montfort which, back in the day, was the hub of knitwear, and is really great for the city, which I hold close to my heart.
The company famous for their pure virgin wool, that’s woven in the Scottish Outer Hebrides really stood out. I could only briefly speak to the representative, as the stand was busy. There’s something I really love about Harris Tweed, for me it sums up British heritage, tradition and skill.
I went for a wander in the main hall and spoke with a few of our suppliers from which we source different component parts to make some of our products. A company that produce our wash bags were showcasing so I made sure I introduced myself and spoke about how well our customers are enjoying their products. I wanted to check out the demonstration area where I was discovered. This year the AE Sewing studio was being utilised by designers and pattern cutters who were demonstrating their skills, I managed to briefly watch a demonstration of milliner Chloe Hayward. When I joined the audience she was burning plastic, creating a fascinator. I didn’t have time to stay for the entire demonstration as I was heading to the seminar hall.
I went to two different seminars, one which was conducted by Kate, and Graham Holbrook of Turtle Doves. An idea consisting of recycling old cashmere jumpers, turning them into fingerless gloves has turned into a million pound business. Their talk involved how keeping production in house is vital for innovation – something I couldn’t agree more with. The second seminar was from Hal Watts from Unmade, an innovative knitwear company who have recently collaborated with opening ceremony and how their partnership with one of the oldest knitwear companies in the UK has turned the way items are customised on its head. The software they developed has been licensed to use by companies who turn over £50m+ so you’ll be seeing personalisation aspects to bigger brands soon I expect. In a few weeks I’ll be writing a blog about our personalisation services we offer here at Blue Badge Co. You’ll be able to get a real understanding of what love care and attention goes into making your products. Overall the show was a success giving me a few different ideas to explore, looking forward to sharing them with you all soon. Thanks for having me again at Meet the Manufacturer cant wait for next year!