This year’s Meet the Manufacturer event, organised by Make it British, attracted more interest than ever on a global scale, with international visitors doubling year-on-year, accounting for 8 per cent of total visitor figures.
Now in its fourth year, the event was bigger than ever at 50,000 sq ft, with 200 exhibitors throughout The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, and over 5,000 visitors.
“When we launched in 2014 we could never have guessed that thousands of people from all over the country, as well as visitors from as far away as America and Japan, would come to a small venue in East London,” says Kate Hills, founder and CEO of Make it British.
“This is a clear indication of the rising demand for UK manufacturing and British-made brands. Meet the Manufacturer is now attracting companies from all over the world and this makes me more enthusiastic than ever about manufacturing in the UK. We hope that Meet the Manufacturer continues to inspire more businesses to ‘make it British’.”
A highlight of the event was British fashion designer Patrick Grant, director of E-Tautz and Norton & Sons of Savile Row, talking about his new Community Clothing project as he seeks to revive British garment manufacturing via a network of factories in the north of England and Scotland.
“We have a sustainable business model in clothing, with everything made to order in the shop and with fabrics, woollens and worsteds manufactured in Britain,” says Grant.
Key events throughout Meet the Manufacturer included a two-day programme of talks on partnerships, province and production, a series of live interactive workshops and demonstrations including hat making, leather bag construction, screen printing and pattern-cutting, as well as a pop-art Sheepish studio featuring product from Alternative Flooring, Ian Mankin, Jessica Dance, Melaine Porter and Maud Designs.