I love a great factory tour, don’t you?  Factory tours are a great way to spend a morning or afternoon, finding out exactly #whomademyclothes and discovering the craftsmanship that goes into making them.

Unfortunately although we come across more great factory shops every week, factory tours are proving much harder to come by. As there seems to be only a small number of factories in the UK that throw open doors open to the public, it’s becomes even more important to celebrate the ones that do.

We have located a number of great UK Well Fashioned factories who offer tours around their premises:

David Nieper, Womenswear

  • Tour its Derbyshire factory and design studios, and treat yourself to a homemade cream tea in the staff cafe!
  • Nottingham Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire, DE55 7LE
  • Call 01773 522 662 to join a factory tour in the summer months.

Johnstons of Elgin, Knitwear

  • Elgin Mill Tours are available 10am- 3pm Monday- Thursday, 10am- 12 noon Friday.
    • JOHNSTONS OF ELGIN CASHMERE, Heritage Centre, Newmill, Elgin, Moray, IV30 4AF
  • Hawick Mill Tours are available 10:30am-1:30pm Monday to Thursday, 10am on Friday.
    • JOHNSTONS OF ELGIN CASHMERE, Visitor Centre, Eastfield Mills, Mansfield Road, Hawick, TD9 8AA
  • The factories are occasionally closed for maintenance. To avoid disappointment call in advance on 01343 554088 (Elgin) or 01450 360549 (Hawick)

Tusting, Womenswear

  • Tours of the workshop available on request from 10am-4pm Monday to Friday
  • The Tannery Warehouse, 29 Olney Road, Lavendon, Olney, Buckinghamshire, MK46 4EU
  • Call 01234 712266 or email info@tusting.co.uk for more information.

Private White V.C., Menswear, and selected womenswear

  • 10am & 2pm Monday-Thursday, 10am Friday
  • A small fee may apply to parties of more than five
  • Cottenham House, 1 Cottenham Ln, Salford M3 7LJ
  • Complete a Tour Enquiry Form in order to visit.

Van Dal, Footwear

  • 10.30am & 1.30pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Groups between 10-30 people
  • Dibden Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 4RR
  • Pre book on 01603 493116 or email consumer.sales@floridagroup.co.uk

Chapman Bags, Accessories

  • Max group size 15-20 people
  • John Chapman Limited, Gallery House, Tannery Road, Harraby Green Business Part, Carlisle CA1 2SS
  • Call 01228 514514 to book a tour.

Owen Barry, Accessories

  • 11am & 2pm Monday- Friday
  • Groups of 8+ people
  • Owen Barry Ltd, Number 3, The Tanyard, Leigh Road, Street, Somerset, BA16 0HD
  • Call 01458 442858 or email info@owenbarry.com for more information.

Fashion Enter

  • Tours of the factory producing garments for a large variety of brands including ASOS and M&S available for students only
  • The Factory, Unit 14, Crusader Estate, 167 Hermitage Road, London, N4 1LZ
  • Email education@fashioncapital.co.uk for tour enquiries

 

We will keep adding to this list of Made in UK Factory Tours with every Well Fashioned factory tour we find. If you know of any great tours in the UK please email ellen@wellfashioned.co.uk or tweet us @wellfashioneduk to share your fantastic finds.   

Want to discover UK Well Fashioned factory shops? Have a look at our factory shop list to grab yourself a bargain…happy shopping!

Well Fashioned Credits: Images courtesy of Chapman Bags. The photographs were taken in their Carlisle factory.

Bridd’s Hats Made in Devon

Every week I discover more brilliant brands, manufactured in locations from the Scottish Highlands to Mumbai, the range of brands championing a Well Fashioned ethos never fails to surprise me.

This week, however, my Friday Find is much closer to home. Bridd’s make all their high quality crocheted hats in our home of Devon.

Ruth Briddon, the founder of Bridd’s, started crocheting as a hobby just over two years ago. Alongside her growing love for the craft, her belief and support for UK talent encouraged Ruth to establish a UK-made brand and provide her customers with a slice of Devon.

With this idea in mind, alongside the frustration of slow shipping and poor customer service, Ruth decided to ditch the materials she once sourced online from China and switched to sourcing from the UK. After bracing herself for a rise in price, she was surprised that her assumption wasn’t true. Everything Bridd’s use in manufacturing, from faux fur to hooks and packaging, is now sourced in the UK with no extra costs to pass on to customers. The wool used in Bridd’s hats is a soft acrylic and merino mix, and although Bridd’s haven’t found their perfect partner yet they hope to source their wool locally from Devon soon.

‘Why blend in when you can stand out?’ Bridd’s makes a range of hats in various colours – from stand-out pom-poms or stylish beanies.  They also work with other UK businesses to gift you a little extra something with every order, helping to create a UK manufacturing community.

Ruth has said that her biggest challenge as a new business is getting shops to take a chance on her product. As the majority of items sold in shops are machine made they can be produced quickly and cheaply but Bridd’s is determined to hand make their hats to ensure the highest quality. e.

Check out Ruth’s designs here, and buy directly from her to help support a company which champions a love for Devon and the UK, in its design, sourcing, and manufacturing. What a better way to beat those summer blues that updating your winter wardrobe and also keeping your head warm.

Honiton lace making photographed by Matt Austin.

Lacemaking has a significant place in our Well Fashioned hearts. My homes, old and new, are both rooted in UK lacemaking history. Nottingham is the lace making capital of the UK, its industry pre-dates the arrival of the Normans, with its own lace market area dating back to the middle ages. Devon, my new home, is the birthplace of Honiton lace, a type of bobbin lace mostly depicting natural objects such as flowers or leaves. Coincidence? Probably, but what a Well Fashioned perk!

The culture of this industry in the UK is definitely one to celebrate, and thus Lacemaking Day was born! On the 9th September, events around the UK are being held for national Lacemaking Day. Here are a few of my favourites that you could visit if you wanted to learn more about this historic trade, and even have a go at some lacemaking yourself.

Debbie Bryan, Nottingham

  • A talk on how the Heart of Heritage has and still inspires the Debbie Bryan Lace Archive as well as a demonstration of lace blueprinting and (as long as the sun is shining) an opportunity to create one yourself.

The Museum of English Rural Life, Reading

  • Learn more about the MERL’s lace-making collections, hear from experts in the field and enjoy demonstrations from the North Downs Lace-makers.

Inspired by Machinery Lace Exhibition, Redditch

  • Starting on the 8th September this exhibition runsuntil the 22nd October, the exhibitions displays a wide variety of lace inspired by everything from lighthouses to sewing machines.

MoleValley Lacemakers Demonstration & Exhibition, Great Bookham

  • Members will demonstrate how they make their lace and encourage the public to give it a go using both English and European lacemaking techniques

‘Inspired Lacemakers’ Demonstration, Cromford

  • The ‘Inspired Lacemakers’ will be demonstrating the bobbin lace technique over the weekend, why not drop in and give it a go?

Lace in Fashion Exhibition, Bath

  • If you aren’t free on the 9th September it doesn’t have to stop you from learning more about the industry as The Fashion Museum in Bath is displaying a beautiful lace exhibition until the 1st January 2018

Follow the Lace Society on Facebook to keep an eye out for other events!

Honiton lace making photographed by Matt Austin

Well Fashioned Credits: These wonderful lacemaking photos showing Honiton lace making are by Matt Austin, a freelancer photographer based in the South West. You can see more of Matt’s work at https://mattaustinimages.co.uk.

Heritage Open Days

It’s nearly back to school time and that awkward phase of the year when summer is ending but the leaves are yet to turn brown and I can’t even fathom the idea of mulled wine.  Let’s all face it, we can all get hit with the post-summer blues.

Heritage Open Days have timed their festival of history and culture just perfectly to pull me out of the fading-tan, pimms put to the back of the cupboard, mood. Every year for four days in September, places around Britain throw open their doors to celebrate British heritage and culture across approximately 5000 events, and what’s more, they are all free!

For Well Fashioned wearers, makers and followers this year the festival has ticked a lot of boxes. Here is a round-up of some of the best Well Fashioned Heritage Open Days, held 7-10 September – all focused on the things we love – lace, textiles, jewellery and amazing factory tours.

Here’s my Top Ten Heritage Open Days I wish I could go to:

South East

9th: Jeremy France Jewellers, tour of factory and traditional jewellery methods

9th: Museum of English Rural Life celebrate National Lace making day.

9th: MoleValley Lacemakers Demonstration & Exhibition

9th-10th: Vintage Make Do & Mend

South West:

8th: Dents Museum & Factory tours and demonstrations

East of England

7th-10th: The Maeldune Heritage Centre, home to Maldon Embroidery

8th & 9th: Warner Textile Archive

8th: Fashion through the decades

East Midlands:

7th: Unique Cottage Studios Fibre Art Group demonstrate heritage textile techniques

7th-10th: Talk – Nick Povey from Nottingham’s Fewkes Lace Factory

7th-9th: Exhibition of Scrap Happy Quilters’ new works

9th: G.H. Hurt & Son Ltd,: The Shawl Factory

9th: Northamptonshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers

9th-10th: ‘Inspired Lacemakers’ demonstrating bobbin lace

West Midlands:

9th: Costumed guided tour of Smith and Pepper jewellery factory

10th: Newman Brothers at the Coffin Works, tour of a historic Jewellery Quarter factory

North West:

7th-10th: The Leather Satchel Co. Story & demonstrations

9th: Guided tour of Standfast & Barracks textile factory

Yorkshire:

8th: Talk – The history of Carmichael and Sons, renowned jewellers.

If you want to search for more events from the Heritage Open Day festival click here. Happy visiting and discovering, and please share you experiences of Well Fashioned events with us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

David Nieper swimdress

I’m often seen squeezing myself into a swimsuit that is unfortunately too small – being tall and long in the body has its disadvantages. To be honest, I’m beyond caring – as I firmly believe that the best way to get a bikini body – is just put one on. Not sure who said that, but thanks, I agree.

But, having said that, I do miss the glamour and comfort of a beautifully-made swimsuit. The kind you can actually swim in, the kind that fits and the very elusive kind that gives you confidence if you ever get the chance to lounge around the pool on a hot summer day. In my case, it’s the quick run into the outdoor lido.

So eye spy David Nieper and this luxury swimdress. I’m a big lover of swimdresses but they are so difficult to get right. If the skirt part is too long, swimming is impossible and sometimes the ‘retro’ look is hard to get right. From limited sewing knowledge i.e. watching the Great British Sewing Bee, sewing swimwear is a difficult job and only experienced seamstresses can cope with the stretchy material. View Full Post