Welcome to the brand new BoB Blog
We hope you like it and that you come back regularly to check on the latest developments in British manufacture, design and creativity across all the sectors that BoB is proud to represent. Our contributors and contributions will be as wide as the genre’s covered at our annual BoB event itself so look out for forthcoming features from experienced writers, bloggers and industry experts on cycling, motoring, style, fashion, footwear, accessories, music, film and very often a hotch-potch of pretty much all of the above.
Contributions are also welcomed from all of our exhibitors so whether you already express or are yearning to express the inner-writer in you, give us your very best wordsmithery and we will give it a voice. So if you are interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org and get involved.
What we have been delighted to discover through the process of putting on two highly successful shows is the amazing range of ideas and collaborations that have emerged from brand’s meeting at BoB events. Musicians have been talent-spotted, boats have been commissioned and built, scarves have been exclusively designed, cars have been test-driven and featured in MTV videos and film-crews from the BBC have decided on the spot to cancel all their other film arrangements for the day and to spend an entire day filming with us simply because of the sheer number of individual brand-stories there were to tell.
The BoB Blog aims to be an online microcosm of the show – so expect a little (or a lot) of everything and if we’ve missed something, please tell us so that we can look to getting it in there pronto. We won’t preach, as by reading this hopefully you’re already converted. We all share a will and desire to let as many people as possible know how many great things are being made in Britain again and to champion the brands that are truly British and unashamedly ignore the ones that aren’t (in the hope that they get the message and start manufacturing back in the UK again).
For now we’ll hand over to our first guest contributor The Grey Fox for his look at the Rise of British style manufacture…
The Rise of British Style Manufacture
In my blog, Grey Fox, I write about men’s style and fashion. When, just over two years ago, I set out on a search for style as an older man, I didn’t anticipate coming across a remarkable renaissance in British design and manufacture that is once again placing this country on the world map as a place to buy goods of quality and style.
This rebirth of British fashion design and manufacturing, particularly in menswear, has really excited me. I had imagined that our country had lost the manufacturing heritage born in the industrial revolution and which lasted until the sixties, when mills and clothing factories closed by the hundred each year. But things are looking up and Best of Britannia is the best evidence of the vitality and creativity that has revived in the UK.
What I’ve found is that we have a quite remarkable core of entrepreneurs, many quite young, who are rediscovering this heritage of quality and good design. All this is happening at a time when, particularly in the clothing industry, consumers are increasingly aware of the ethics and sustainability of the products they buy. As the many disasters in Asian clothing factories have shown, there is a human cost to the cheap prices that we pay for some foreign-made goods – but we can be confident that UK workers are fairly paid and work in safe conditions.
Over the next few months I want to introduce you to some of the exciting businesses that are helping revive our British design and fashion industries – many of whom are exhibiting at Best of Britannia. But we do have challenges to meet. Many of the businesses I’ve talked to are finding their most enthusiastic markets, not in the UK, but in the Far East – Japan and, increasingly, China. In these countries, British menswear has a justified reputation for quality and high standards, founded on a long heritage of garment design and manufacturing.
I’d like to see that enthusiasm reflected in the UK, where we could do more to appreciate the treasures manufactured here. Best of Britannia will help us achieve that end.
Coming back to BoB 2014
Great news this month is that more past-exhibitors have signed up to come back to BoB 2014 including:
G Plan, Susannah Hall, Jeffery West, Simon Frederick, Fletcher Boats, Chapman Bags, Cherchbi, Walsh, Charnwood, Cheany, Hetty Rose, Moulton, Nyetimber, NPS Solvair, Penrose Products, The Do Book Company, Vickers, White Dove & Wonder and Gillies Jones.
Just confirmed as coming back to BOB for the third year GPlan Vintage is soon to unveil The Fifty Eight, the newest addition to their celebrated vintage range, in partnership with Hemingway Design.
‘We’re really proud of this model. It’s very sleek and compact and perfect for small spaces. It’s stylish but like all G Plan furniture extremely comfy too’, said Tilly Hemingway.
Due to launch this spring, The Fifty Eight model complements the existing collection and is exclusive to independent retailers. New Festival brights and striking Dogtooth fabric designs are being introduced on this model. The Fifty Eight has a fixed single seat and back cushions with the option to have matching contrast seat and buttons; an elegant wooden plinth completes the look. The Fifty Eight is a refined collection, which will bring an individual look to any room.
Combining style and comfort, all G Plan Vintage pieces are made in the UK.
Since exhibiting for the first time at BOB 2013 we have been privileged to be in touch with many other amazing companies who not only make here in Britain but are so proud to do so! And we are delighted to say that we have already booked our space for BOB 2014 to build upon and conginue connections made last year.
Not only have we made contact with new suppliers of wonderful British goods but we have kept in touch using various social media, including Twitter. Through these communications we came across a fabulous illustrator, Ste Johnson, whose style we just love! We decided that his figures should feature at our showroom on the Clerkenwell Road, and so the project began.
We asked Ste to draw three men in suits, and within no time we had the initial sketches. We then had to decide what they should wear, and what colours should be used; suits were the obvious choice. And here they are, these amazing characters, dressed with style and panache. And to complete the group we have our own ‘door man’ in his smart navy blazer. We are over the moon with the window display, which went up this week and are so grateful to Ste Johnson for getting involved and making our idea come to life.
The company was founded by John Chapman as a manufacturer of fishing and shooting bags. Over the years Chapman has become well known to discerning customers around the world for its authentically British made shoulder bags, luggage and accessories, of rugged construction and featuring natural materials of the highest quality.
Chapman is one of the only British brands to manufacture its bags exclusively in its own British factory in Carlisle, Cumbria in an industrial site dating back over 300 years. They believe that manufacturing their products here in Britain is a defining aspect of their authenticity.
The latest addition to the Chapman range is an exclusive capsule collection, which pushes both modern trends and utilitarian boundaries, to bring bold, contemporary designs.
The much anticipated first release from the collection is the ‘Totepack’ – a versatile, multifunctional must-have. Combining the practicality and style of both a tote bag and a backpack; with a simple alteration of the straps, the bag transforms to meet your street wear needs. Complete with many large open compartments and a secure zipped pocket, for simple and organised carrying.
The Totepack also conceals an enforced tablet carrying pouch, which can be removed from the bag and taken out to become an independent stylish clutch, whilst ensuring protection for electronic goods.
We are delighted that Simon Frederick will once again be setting up home at BoB in the form of his resident photographic studio. Simon is among a small number of Portraitists who are reviving and developing the art of contemporary photographic portraiture and he will spend 3 days at the BoB studio to create the definitive photographic “documentary” of who’s who and who was there at BoB.
Many people dream of owning their own iconic portrait, visitors will once again be able to pop in to the BoB photo studio, to make ownership of their own one off piece of art a reality.
New for 2014
Dozens of brands have jumped on board the BOB ship including on the food and drink side:
Pulled Food, Fever Tree and Origin plus brands including
Doochy, Katty Janneh, Kolin & Willian, Maksters,
Quinton & Chadwick, The British Belt Company,
The Little Shoemaker, Today I am Me, Vevian, Brenan & Burch,
Jacki Wareham and furniture designer Donald Baugh.
When a British drink is served in 7 out of 10 of the best restaurants in the world it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that it would be a natural fit for Best of Britannia. When that drink also happens to be the mixer of choice for many of the world’s top mixologists and they suggest bringing their cocktail bar to the BoB courtyard how could we say no?
Listed in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 in 2011 as the “fastest growing drinks export company” and with its status for three years in a row in the Cool Brands list Spring is very much in the air and we can taste the G&T’s already.
Amateur chefs & professional fun lovers who fell in love with pulled meat! From the very first pulled pork cooked, the start of a love affair began and the journey to launching Pulled unknowingly started!
Barbecue pulled pork has become such a favourite, they simply take things a step further, offering a full range of recipes, using British free range meats, all perfectly slow roasted….served in golden brioche with seasonal, crunchy slaws.
Origin is a speciality coffee roaster based in Cornwall. We source coffee direct from farmers around the world building ethical and commercially sustainable long-term relationships. We roast exceptional coffee at Origin because of our passion and determination to be great. We want our customers to invest in what we do and what we believe in – great coffee, great people, great ethics.