When you see the term ‘British made’, what does it make you think of? Hopefully, you think of items made here in the UK, by makers and craftspeople whose skills create high quality, long-lasting products. Unfortunately though, British made is a loose term that can include almost anything – from fast fashion made by people being paid less than minimum wage, to items that are made abroad, but are finalised here in the UK.
Hope + Story is an online destination redefining that term for the better. After discovering their curated digital marketplace of over 300 small, quality brands that have ethics and sustainability at their heart, I knew I had to feature them here. I mean, we both love curating lists of sustainable brands, and we both love encouraging everyone to buy less, buy better, so it’s been a match made in heaven!
What Does ‘British Made’ Mean?
When you see a label indicating that a product is made in Britain, you might assume that the people who made it are based in the UK, or that the product’s entire manufacturing process is located in the UK. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. The law states that a product must go through a ‘substantial transformation’ to qualify for the label ‘made in the UK’, but this could be as simple as sewing buttons onto a shirt that was made in Bangladesh. At best, this definition seems a little misleading.
Hope + Story is redefining what ‘British Made’ means, by ensuring all brands they stock are designing, sourcing, and making their products here in the UK. With this considered and transparent approach, they boil in the fact that people are paid fairly for their work, with your purchases supporting small businesses and local economies across the UK. It also comes with the assurance that the impact of your item is reduced, especially across freighting and delivery.
Put simply, the British made goods carefully curated by Hope + Story are all 100% made in the UK – and you can check with their ‘Born, Bred, Manufactured’ checklist on each item. They’re of a high quality, made with care, by people who are paid well, and are passionate about what they do.
Four Of My Favourite British Made Brands
Hope + Story is home to over 300 independent brands crafting their goods here in the UK, so it was tough to narrow down who to feature in this post! Here’s four brands that I personally love, who I’ve been following on their sustainable journeys for years now, many of whom I’ve previously purchased from too…
When I did my deep dive into sustainable leather, I concluded that true circularity in the leather industry was in its infancy. BEEN London is shaking that up, creating an entire collection of leather and vegan leather handbags from waste.
Founder Genia Mineeva took a novel approach to her business, looking at problems in the fashion industry and vowing to remedy them with her brand. BEEN London was born from the leather industry’s wasteful offcuts, and helped revive one of East London’s last bag-makers, helping to preserve intergenerational craftsmanship and interweaving sustainability.
My East Tote in Desert Tan is wholly made from leather offcuts. It has been designed to be zero waste, consisting of clean lines to produce as little offcuts as possible. It’s simply and beautifully constructed, and has been left unlined, showcasing the quality of the material.
BEEN London also produces bags and accessories in a range of vegan leathers, using linings and zips made from landfill-bound plastics.
Onto the dreamiest of jumpers… This is the Donegal Merino Wool Sweater from OUBAS. It’s a soft woollen knit in a traditional Donegal fleck, with the wool being spun and dyed in Donegal, Ireland. The jumper itself is made made by OUBAS in Cumbria, England; the brand takes its name from ‘Oubas Hill’, in Ulverston, Cumbria.
This jumper represents the preservation of traditional British and Irish textile making. It’s a piece that’s designed to last – soft against the skin, classically cut, and a comfortable fit. And it’s available in sizes XS to XL, making it more inclusive too.
OUBAS was founded in 2012 by Kate Stalker. For over a decade, OUBAS has been producing knitwear in small batches, tapping into a localised, sustainable future. All of their clothing is designed and made by their team in their one workshop, using high quality natural fibres. I’m a big fan.
Working within a small, very clean facility, Peper Harow uses a combination of high tech equipment and skilled craftspeople to make their luxury socks. Their production line is almost entirely zero waste, and incredible efficient to ensure as low impact as possible.
Peper Harow’s socks are made from a range of high quality materials – primarily organic cotton, recycled cotton, and supima cotton. They are skilfully hand-finished with a seamless toe, ensuring comfort and longevity.
Finally, I had to include Pott Candles. I met founder Ailis Topley last year, where I followed her candle-making workshop (and quickly discovered it takes a lot of skill to make such beautiful candles!)
In the UK, 360 million candles are burned every year. Ailis recognised that this ends up in 360 million empty candle pots lying around or going to landfill – so instead, she designed candles with pots designed to be reused.
In my home, I have the Eden Candle as well as a Refill waiting on standby. The pots of each Pott candle are hand-thrown by a few UK-based potters Ailis works closely with, meaning each pot is unique, and they’re just beautiful. And, the candles themselves are handmade in the UK using natural rapeseed and coconut wax.
Hope + Story x Curiously Conscious
Choosing to shop British made with local businesses really does support a whole host of people who will be so thrilled to receive your orders. And more than that – buying less, and buying better, from brands that truly champion social and environmental sustainability, helps to bring about a brighter future. It’s been a joy to discover the brands curated by Hope + Story, and work with the Hope + Story team for this piece. Please do bookmark their website and consider their homewares, clothing, and gifts the next time you’re on the lookout.