Made in Britain

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UK Factory Tours

I love a great factory tour, don’t you?  Factory tours are a great way to spend a morning or afternoon, finding out exactly #whomademyclothes and discovering the craftsmanship that goes into making them.

Unfortunately although we come across more great factory shops every week, factory tours are proving much harder to come by. As there seems to be only a small number of factories in the UK that throw open doors open to the public, it’s becomes even more important to celebrate the ones that do.

We have located a number of great UK Well Fashioned factories who offer tours around their premises:

David Nieper, Womenswear

  • Tour its Derbyshire factory and design studios, and treat yourself to a homemade cream tea in the staff cafe!
  • Nottingham Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire, DE55 7LE
  • Call 01773 522 662 to join a factory tour in the summer months.

Johnstons of Elgin, Knitwear

  • Elgin Mill Tours are available 10am- 3pm Monday- Thursday, 10am- 12 noon Friday.
    • JOHNSTONS OF ELGIN CASHMERE, Heritage Centre, Newmill, Elgin, Moray, IV30 4AF
  • Hawick Mill Tours are available 10:30am-1:30pm Monday to Thursday, 10am on Friday.
    • JOHNSTONS OF ELGIN CASHMERE, Visitor Centre, Eastfield Mills, Mansfield Road, Hawick, TD9 8AA
  • The factories are occasionally closed for maintenance. To avoid disappointment call in advance on 01343 554088 (Elgin) or 01450 360549 (Hawick)

Tusting, Womenswear

  • Tours of the workshop available on request from 10am-4pm Monday to Friday
  • The Tannery Warehouse, 29 Olney Road, Lavendon, Olney, Buckinghamshire, MK46 4EU
  • Call 01234 712266 or email for more information.

Private White V.C., Menswear, and selected womenswear

  • 10am & 2pm Monday-Thursday, 10am Friday
  • A small fee may apply to parties of more than five
  • Cottenham House, 1 Cottenham Ln, Salford M3 7LJ
  • Complete a Tour Enquiry Form in order to visit.

Van Dal, Footwear

  • 10.30am & 1.30pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Groups between 10-30 people
  • Dibden Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 4RR
  • Pre book on 01603 493116 or email

Chapman Bags, Accessories

  • Max group size 15-20 people
  • John Chapman Limited, Gallery House, Tannery Road, Harraby Green Business Part, Carlisle CA1 2SS
  • Call 01228 514514 to book a tour.

Owen Barry, Accessories

  • 11am & 2pm Monday- Friday
  • Groups of 8+ people
  • Owen Barry Ltd, Number 3, The Tanyard, Leigh Road, Street, Somerset, BA16 0HD
  • Call 01458 442858 or email for more information.

Fashion Enter

  • Tours of the factory producing garments for a large variety of brands including ASOS and M&S available for students only
  • The Factory, Unit 14, Crusader Estate, 167 Hermitage Road, London, N4 1LZ
  • Email for tour enquiries

NPS Shoes

  • 10am-4pm Monday-Saturday and 11am-4pm Sunday. Occasionally they are not open on weekends, so double check before you visit.
  • 2 Holyoake Rd, Wollaston, Northamptonshire, NN29 7RZ
  • Fill out the registration form to book a private tour or call 01933 664 207  for more information

We will keep adding to this list of Made in UK Factory Tours with every Well Fashioned factory tour we find. If you know of any great tours in the UK please email or tweet us @wellfashioneduk to share your fantastic finds.   

Want to discover UK Well Fashioned factory shops? Have a look at our factory shop list to grab yourself a bargain…happy shopping!

Well Fashioned Credits: Images courtesy of Chapman Bags. The photographs were taken in their Carlisle factory.

Luxury Swimdress Made in Britain

David Nieper swimdress

I’m often seen squeezing myself into a swimsuit that is unfortunately too small – being tall and long in the body has its disadvantages. To be honest, I’m beyond caring – as I firmly believe that the best way to get a bikini body – is just put one on. Not sure who said that, but thanks, I agree.

But, having said that, I do miss the glamour and comfort of a beautifully-made swimsuit. The kind you can actually swim in, the kind that fits and the very elusive kind that gives you confidence if you ever get the chance to lounge around the pool on a hot summer day. In my case, it’s the quick run into the outdoor lido.

So eye spy David Nieper and this luxury swimdress. I’m a big lover of swimdresses but they are so difficult to get right. If the skirt part is too long, swimming is impossible and sometimes the ‘retro’ look is hard to get right. From limited sewing knowledge i.e. watching the Great British Sewing Bee, sewing swimwear is a difficult job and only experienced seamstresses can cope with the stretchy material. View Post

Made in Britain Socks for all Seasons

I’ve got a thing for socks.  I carry one with me – a lucky one that is – but I’ll save that story for another time, and many many years ago my mum used to work for a sock factory in Stapleford, Nottinghamshire.  

Yet, despite my love of socks and fond sock-making memories, my collection is sadly lacking and I don’t get the gift of socks anymore.  

Instead, I always end up borrowing those of my other half – the half that always gets the socks for Christmas, birthdays, Father’s Day and maybe (if he’s lucky) Valentine’s Day.

But no more – us women shouldn’t be ignored on the sock front – so campaign ‘give me socks for all seasons’ starts now, and will even be buying my own as well as more to borrow too.     

In my mind, socks so do indeed maketh the shoes especially when your shoes are a bit down in dumps, so in my attempt to be a bit more #wellfashioned here’s a few Made in Britain sock makers for you to check out.

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I was first introduced or rather stumbled upon Age of Reason Studios when I went along to the Best of Britannia event back in 2014.  Spotting the designer Ali Mapletoft from afar, I plucked up the courage to copy her ahem get a lesson in how to wear a scarf (believe me I needed one) and then walked away wearing or rather making a statement in my I will never surrender scarf.

A rare and wonderful find.

To this day, it is still one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever owned and still looks as good as new despite almost daily wear.  This is one piece of clothing that I’ve never regretted buying.  It is so well made and still surprises me how it can just transform whatever I’m wearing and make me feel seriously Well Fashioned.

I can also wear it without guilt knowing that no sweatshop labour has ever been involved in its making, and I’m doing my little bit to support UK manufacturing and British made.

Indeed, what I really love about Age of Reason Studios is that they are fully upfront and transparent about their supply chain and suppliers and try to source everything sustainably.  They even namecheck their suppliers, including The Pin House for sewing and North Ronaldsay Yarn for its wool, and use older models too which for a gal like me in her 40s is the kinda thing I like and makes me feel that looking good isn’t out of my reach.  I’ll post up some pics soon of me, my scarf and I.

As well as scarves, Ali also designs and prints womenswear and cushions, and sends out great offers in her regular Age Reason Studios emails so sign-up to her mailing list quick.

Well Fashioned Credits

Made in Britain

Listed on the Well Fashioned Made in UK womenswear directory

Images all Age of Reason Studios

The next Best of Britannia London event is 12/13 October 2017

Tips on scarf wearing


The Contemporary Craft Festival

Contemporary Craft Festival

Lynsey Walters

The Contemporary Craft Festival – I owe you an apology.

I’ve always been a bit mistrusting of craft festivals and tend to give craft fairs a serious wide berth. And with that attitude, I almost didn’t make it to Bovey Tracey and The Contemporary Craft Festival today.

But went along I did. It’s quite local to me and as my Well Fashioned mission is to seek out more makers of the #wellfashioned kind – I decided to give it a go – and thank goodness I did as it has answered so many of my Well Fashioned prayers. To think I used to never be able to find jewellery, textiles and accessories that were, you know, a bit different, headturning and well made. Here, I was in my element and completely spoilt for choice – a new way to shop for me.

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