Thousands converge on London to Meet the Manufacturer

Over 3,000 visitors visited the inaugural Meet the Manufacturer event in the capital. Image courtesy of Steve Lancefield Photography.

Nearly 3,000 visitors descended on London last week to attend the first-ever Meet the Manufacturer textile event.

The event, organised by Make it British celebrating the UK textile industry, saw attendees ranging from Scottish kilt makers and lace weavers to brass and bra cup manufacturers present at the Old Truman Brewery.

Running alongside the trade show, Mary Portas and Ian Maclean from John Smedley headlined the Meet the Manufacturer conference with saw more than 20 industry experts share their experiences of successfully manufacturing in the UK.

Make it British founder, Kate Hills, said the reaction to the event exceeded the team’s expectations and showed demand for making goods in the UK is strong.

“If the passion, enthusiasm and networking in the halls over the course of the two days can convert to orders for my exhibiting manufacturers, I will have achieved what I set out to do,” he said.

Ms Hills added: “Our greatest challenge now is ensuring that we keep up the momentum, and that new skilled workers can be trained quickly enough to address the ageing workforce that exists within the industry.”

Speaking at the conference, Kate Dawson, founder of the All-in-One Company, who manufacture in Ashington, Northumberland, said:  “Meet the Manufacturer was an outstanding event – I’ve met so many fantastic people who I can relate to, and I no longer feel isolated in this industry.

“I feel so proud to have been a part of this landmark event and hope that I have inspired others to follow in my footsteps and make a commitment to British manufacturing – as together we can save the knowledge and skills that are vital to this industry before it is too late.”