Is it me or is it nearly impossible to make clothes in England?

I am looking to manufacture a small range of extremely well made, hard wearing surf shorts in England at the moment.
Being an ethical British brand trying to keep as much of the process at arms reach is proving extremely tuff to say the least, however should it be this way?

Having been in the garment industry 10 years I am fully aware of why people make abroad, yet I am trying to find out exactly what our shores have to offer and whether there are small outfits suited to small specialised needs.

In an era where craftsmanship, service, understanding and honesty are needed more and more in a diluted, me-too world, wouldn't it be great to know that your free range boardies were locally sewn and locally sold, just like your tatties!

Idealism aside , there are many factories that have been shut down recently, including the Burberry one, where I am guessing there are a lot of skilled machinists with a fantastic yet dying skill base going to waste.
With all the young start up brands, struggling to get going, and not knowing how to source, let alone being able to meet the huge far east minimums, maybe a local more reactive co-operative could exist to boost and enable our huge talents to grow?

Any help on this would be great..


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Hello Riz,
I don´t sure if this information that I go to tell you is exactly that you are looking for but... in Bricklane, East London are a small manufacture. Is a women´s project that sewing with small quantities. Their name is Heba Women´s Project and the contact number is:
02073770400 ask for andreu.
And if you find another small manufacture do you could let me know? Thanks and good luck!
Heba are great! I am talking to them very soon about getting a small order made. Prices are very reasonable and the workmanship is lovely. Also recommend Workwell in Stepney (near Royal London Hospital) they're also very good.
Hey thanks Tabitha,
I gave them a quick call, them seem really nice, I may pop in and see them, however I need maybe some more hardcore workmanship
being surf shorts,, What did you make there?

Hi Riz, I agree with you, I am also looking for manufacturing here in England for finishing, there used to be a place off Bricklane , but it closed down.
I am checking to see if there is anything similar, will let you know if I find it. Am also looking for additional overseas manufacturing in West Africa,any ideas let me know on that. Cloudia
Hey Cloudia,
It seems that Heba on Brick Lane have been well recommended.
What type of stuff are you making?
I've also got a contact in North London, but they do high fashion ..

Hi Riz,
I totally agree with your idealism. I am with you - I'm also looking for manufacturing in England. I'll let you know what I find and hopefully it will be useful to you too. Have you looked outside of London? North West England and Midlands? Good Luck!

I'm looking for manufacturers who can produce garments made from silk and silk mixes. This isn't a strength in the UK, I know, but if anyone knows of anywhere I'd love to hear.
You may concern the easten,such as China
Hi Riz, Tabitha, Cloudia and Helen,

I am also producing here in England and like you, find it tricky.

I have produced with 3 factories so far who do small quantities:

Maderite (Bethnal green, London): contact Hamid or Oz: 0207 7396602... they are moving to Whitechapel at the mo...
FFGM (Canning town, London): contact Benjamin: 020 7474 4853,,
B&B Knitwear (Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire): contact Emma: 01159722471 they group all kind of factories, not only knit and jersey, woven as well and silks...

I went to visit HEBA on Brick Lane too, but have not produced anything with them yet...
Hey Aude,

Thanks for all the info, great! I like your site, may have to get myself one of your Love Tees and spread the love...

Which place have you found best for wovens that you have used?

If you go onto, they have manufacturers online catalogue,, loads to sift through... although I haven't been to any yet, although am in discussions with Avic Star..

I too same thing for this matter. I am pleased from your posts. You need tosgare you ideas much more so that we can get more from you.

Hi Riz,

I remember you from Trent.I lived with your friend Michael-just spoke to him yesterday actually.

If you find anywhere where the costs are not too high then i'd love to hear about it.

I'M hearing things about the exploitation of workers by factory owners in this country, particularly when work is outsourced, just one to keep in mind.
I've sent a list of shoe manufacturers to the EEF office but not seen it on the their web site yet; hopefully they'll do this and add something about cut make and trim factories. A Wiki format might be easiest to keep up to date.

It's a problem that EEF seem only to be posting firms that make organic products, which, with 3 million unemployed and 25% of government spending borrowed, seems a lower priority than making things in the UK.

By the way, if anyone wants the wallet factory, JJBlackledge of Manchester, it is reduced for quick sale by Poppleton and Appleby, accountants. The factory traded from a rented industrial unit until 16th October, making nice wallets and such in vegan materials, organic leather or recycled leather. Their main market it corporate gifts - quite a cyclical market - and they were caught relying on a lot of borrowing at a time when one of their customers closed this autumn. If no buyer is found then there will be an equipment auction.

Good luck with your search for shorts manufacturers.


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