Not on the High Street
This month our fashionista Chantele has been scouring the internet for UK based designers who are bucking the trend and bringing manufacturing back to Britain. The refreshing thing is that the prices are highly competitive with the mass produced offerings available in mainstream retail outlets
I noticed that my pieces always seem to focus around the high street and large national or even international stores, which is actually pretty funny as I rarely shop on the high street myself. I’m a fan of online stores and small independent companies, or even better hand-made items from stores on internet sites like Etsy.
So this month I thought I would cover something a little bit different, I’ve been on the hunt for some of the best small shops and designers the UK has to offer, the ones you can’t find on your high street but are more likely to pop up at your local craft market.
What I love most about companies like these is that nothing is mass produced, ok the larger companies I have found may produce a few 100 of things, but nothing in comparison to the 100,000s that a high street store would make. You know you’re getting something a little bit special and in many cases unique! Who doesn’t want to own some-thing original? I love knowing that I am unlikely to ever see someone else with the same items as me. When people are hand making items like this, they put a lot more care and attention into the design and production – and they have a passion for what they do too.
I’ve found some brilliant companies based in Wales and elsewhere in the UK, covering women’s wear, menswear, kid’s clothing and a great array of jewellery and accessories. You can buy them all online, and if the item is a one off you can check out the other items the designer has to offer (or even commission a piece in some cases). I hope you find something you like, and discover a whole new world of shopping with independent traders.
Freeload Accessories – www.freeloadaccessories.com
Designer Debbie MacPherson started Freeload Accessories in 2006 after graduating from Cordwainers College in London. Her bags and accessories for men and women are all designed and hand-made in her South Devon studio using the highest quality Italian leather.
Lauren Catris – www.laurencatris.com
Lauren graduated in Surface Pattern Design from Swansea Metropolitan University in 2012 and since then has
dedicated her time to creating a contemporary but classic range of silk scarves and pocket squares.
Catherine Aitken – www.catherineaitken.com
Catherine Aitken started her career behind the silver screen, producing feature films and TV dramas, but in recent years has launched her increasingly popular bag range made of heritage cloths, many of which are locally produced in Scotland. Her bags have been shown in London, New York and LA and she recently designed a collection for the National Galleries of Scotland Titian Exhibition.
Be.Loved Handbags – www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BeLovedHandbags
These beautiful real leather bags and satchels are designed by Saffy Allen and are all made in the UK. Saffy is proud
to say all the craftsmen involved in the building of her bags live within 1 hour of her handbag base in Wrexham. Be.Loved Handbags are built to last, so are made from quality leather and come with a 2 year craftsman guarantee.
Angie Kirby Designs – www.angiekirbyjewellery.com
I actually had the pleasure of meeting Angie recently at a charity event. As well as being a talented jewellery designer she is also a very talented folk musician. Angie works mainly with silver and copper using silver-smithing and ceramic
techniques. She is inspired by nature and its abundance of textures and shapes.
Sparkle Motion – www.etsy.com/shop/ShopSparkleMotion
Sparkle Motion is the perfect shop for those ladies who love not only jewellery but also animals. Designer Tessa Holly’s collection of wood cut animal necklaces and brooches are simple and the perfect addition to any outfit. Everything is designed and handmade in Cardiff. Tessa is a fellow blogger and also creates some beautiful graphic print silk skirts.
Claire Hill Designs – www.clairehilldesigns.co.uk
Claire Hill is a Cardiff based jewellery and accessories designer whose delicate designs are inspired by nature. Her items are all made to order, so if you fancy changing them a little just ask her. She is also working on an fabulous range of wedding headdresses.
Koppit’s Creations – koppitscreations.tictail.com
Koppit’s Creations are designed and handmade to order by mother of three Sam. She taught herself to use a sewing machine in 2012 and since then has been utterly hooked on making adorable clothes for little ones. Her creations are made using delicate almost vintage style patterned fabrics, and she is soon to launch an adult range too.
PLEASE NOTE!! Prices range from £15 – £120 depending on size and fabric, we do not have exact prices for images.
Poppy England – www.poppyengland.com
Poppy England isn’t just a kid’s wear designer, but they also make an amazing range of matching dresses and skirts for mums too. So whether you are looking for adorable dresses for big or small girls they have something that will fit, and they really are the most delightful dresses ever! All their fabric is illustrated and designed in house, and they use materials that will last for years. (Plus they have a home-ware range)
Bows and Bespoke – www.bowsandbespoke.co.uk
Bows and Bespoke offer a beautiful range of bespoke handmade to order clothing and headbands for your little darlings. All items are designed and handmade by Chantal Turner from her home in Manchester. She started her company when she couldn’t find shops to buy items to dress her daughter in the style she loved.
Rooby Lane – www.roobylane.co.uk
Rooby Lane is a shop that has been on my radar for a number of years now, I am a little in love with her Alice in Wonderland and Doctor Who inspired skirts. Rooby designs all the fabric herself and has a small local dedicated team of home-working machinists who bring her creations to life.
E and W – www.eandwcouture.co.uk
This beautiful collection of unique bridal and occasional wear is designed and made in-house at the E&W studio in Cardiff. Established in 2012 by designer Sophie Creed, she prides herself on making alternative and superior quality wedding dresses and evening wear. She says her aim is to deliver a personal service to every one of her brides from beginning to end.
Portna – www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Portna
Portna is run by Jessica Melville-Brown an enamel jewellery designer based in Bristol. She works with communities around the world, running creative workshops for people who are unemployed, affected by HIV and women trapped in street sex work to help them create a sustainable income.
Rachel McMillan – www.rachel-mcmillan.com
Glasgow born Rachel McMillan graduated in 2012 from Heriot Watt School of Textiles and Design in Galashiels. Her range is unique and innovative, using bold graphic prints. Within 6 months of launch Rachel McMillan designs she was nominated for Young Designer of the Year and featured in a multitude of global magazines.
Ardour – www.ardourbrand.com
Ardour is the brainchild of Saul and Shaun, two creative guys who thought it was about time they turned their ideas and dreams into reality and launch their own brand of quality British made garments for men. They wanted a line that reflected their own style, so every item they produce is something they would both wear themselves, and it is all handmade in the UK.
Winkin Bitsy – www.winkinbitsy.com
Winkin Bitsy is the creative home of Durham artist and clothing designer Helen Temperly. Helen is inspired by wildlife, the environment, vintage illustrations and everyday life, which you can see in her collection of simply line drawn graphic printed t-shirts. You’ll find a great selection of women’s items on her Etsy shop too.
Mamnick – www.mamnick.com
Mamnick is owned and run by Thom Barnett, who named his company after the road from Hope Valley that runs to Mam Tor in the Peak District. He feels ‘The Peaks’ is one of the most picturesque locations in Britain and his brand is inspired by this glorious location. His products are all made in the UK by a small firm in South Yorkshire. His company ethos is “do one thing at a time, as beautifully as possible”.