Mary Portas

Mary Portas, Chief Creative Officer, Portas

Widely recognized as the UK’s foremost authority on retail and brand communication, Mary Portas has a multitude of expertise; business woman, advertising executive, retail expert, Government adviser, broadcaster and consumer champion.  Her programme Mary’s Bottom Line saw Mary reopen a clothing factory in Manchester and staff it with handpicked apprentices. The final product- “Kinky Knickers” – is stocked by top UK retailers including  Liberty, Boots and

Mary will be discussing why she thinks that manufacturing in the UK is the responsible thing to do, and how a Made in Britain label could give businesses of all sizes a competitive edge.

Speaker schedule

Day One 9:45-10:15 Opening Keynote
Day One 11:45-1:00 Panel Discussion “What do the words made in Britain mean to you?”

Tony Lutwyche

Tony Lutwyche, Founder, Creative Director and Executive Chariman, Lutwyche Holdings

Once described by the Financial Times as the most important figure in English tailoring, Tony Lutwyche is passionate about English qualities and values. He first became a tailor in 2000 after serving in the Britsh army, and has reinvigorated the face of English tailoring by investing in the extraordinary talent that exists here in the UK. Lutwyche is now investing in the future of English tailoring by creating new apprenticeships.

Tony also owns Cheshire Bespoke, a workshop in Crewe that manufactures Ready to Wear, Made to Measure and Bespoke hand-cut, fully canvassed, hand finished suits. Cheshire Bespoke’s clients include Chester Barrie, Ralph Lauren and Marks & Spencer.

Tony Lutwyche will be sharing his thoughts on English tailoring, and how he has invested over £3m in developing the Cheshire Bespoke workshop to ensure that tailoring skills remain in the UK.

Speaker schedule

Day One 10:45- 11:15 Nurturing skills and talent in English tailoring

Steven Barr MAS

Steven Barr, Head of Manufacturing Advisory Service

Steven is an Associate Director with Grant Thornton and the Head of the Manufacturing Advisory Service, with overall responsibility for the delivery of this major government programme. His experience includes engineering and management consultancy, most recently with a number of high-profile manufacturers in sectors including automotive, defence, construction and mobile devices.  He is a specialist in supply chain strategy and performance improvement. A Chartered Engineer, he holds a Masters degree in Operational Research.

Steven will be providing details of the Manufacturing Advisory Service’s Reshore UK initiative, which it is running in partnership with the UKTI. He will outline the support available for businesses looking to bring their production back to the UK as a result of Britain’s move to become the ‘re-shore nation’.

Speaker schedule

Day One 10:15 – 10:45 “Reshore UK”

Lucy Siegle

Lucy Siegle, Journalist, Author & Broadcaster

Lucy writes an ethical living column for The Observer and is also the author of two books, Green Living in the Urban Jungle and To Die For.  She has contributed to various television and radio programmes, where she reports and speaks about environmental issues, including ITV1’s The 5 O’Clock Show, Five’s The Wright Stuff, Sky News and BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours. Siegle is currently a reporter for BBC One’s The One Show.

Lucy will be chairing the debate on Day One of the conference

Speaker schedule

Day One 11:45-1:00 Panel Discussion “What do the words Made in Britain mean to you?”

Ian Maclean John Smedley

Ian Maclean, Managing Director, John Smedley

Ian Maclean is the 8th generation member of the family that owns John Smedley. He began working at the family business as a non-executive director in 2000, and became managing director in 2008.

Having started in 1784, John Smedley is the oldest continuously operating factory in the world. 400,000 garments are sold each year, with more that 60% exported to over 30 countries around the world. John Smedley is truly a ‘Made in Britain’ brand.

Ian will be explaining how John Smedley has continued to maintain its position as a great British-made brand for over 230 years, and why he believes that the UK is entering the age of a second industrial revolution.

Speaker schedule

Day Two 9:45 – 10:15 “A second industrial revolution – building the new great British brands”

Ian Scott, Group Supply Director, Mulberry

Ian joined Mulberry 9 years ago as Group Supply Director for the highly successful Luxury brand retailer of leather goods, clothing & footwear. Ian is responsible for the technical development, quality, external sourcing of all raw materials and finished goods from overseas factories and the production at Mulberry’s UK factories. Mulberry has two factories in Somerset, the first employs 280 craft workers in Chilcompton. The second was built in 2013 and employs over 300 Craft workers, making Mulberry the biggest manufacturer of leather goods in the UK.
Ian has been instrumental in the development of skills at Mulberry with their successful apprenticeship program and the recent strategy to recruit and train 300 new craftsmen and women for the new Bridgwater factory.

Ian is also Non Exec Chairman of the Ethical Childrenswear brand Frugi and Non Exec Director of SWMAS, the manufacturing advisory consultancy.

Prior to joining Mulberry, Ian worked for Marks and Spencer for 17 years where he started in commercial store management before working through the buying teams to become Head of Technology and Procurement for their Womenswear business.

Speaker schedule

Day One 2:55 – 3:20 “Training up a new generation of craftspeople”

Dave Alexander Bridgwater College

Dave Alexander, Head of Fashion & Textiles, Bridgwater College

As Head of Fashion & Textiles at Bridgwater College, Dave oversees both a vibrant full-time A level and BTEC Fashion & Textiles provision as well as a Creative Skillset Tick endorsed Apprenticeship element with employers such as Mulberry, Royal Opera House and Sassi Holford. A belief in the vocational links between education and industry underpins this delivery and Bridgwater College has been innovative in its partnerships, projects and delivery, maximising the opportunities for growing UK talent in the industry. The College was awarded the Times Educational Supplement Further Education Award for Employer Engagement earlier this year.

Since 2006 Mulberry and Bridgwater College have worked in partnership to rebalance the manufacturer’s ageing workforce and double Mulberry’s UK production capacity. Dave, and Ian Scott from Mulberry, will discuss how 370 local people have benefited from the training and employment opportunities created by this activity and have gone on to become craftspeople producing luxury leather handbags.

Speaker schedule

Day One 2:55 – 3:20 “Training up a new generation of craftspeople”

David Evans Grey Fox

David Evans, Author, Grey Fox Blog

David Evans trained as a lawyer and teacher and writes Grey Fox Blog, which describes his search for style as an older man. He has also written in various publications about the renaissance of UK menswear manufacture. His current projects include The Grey Style Project, a street style documentation of older men and a publication celebrating British menswear, under preparation for later this year.

Speaker schedule

Day One 11:45-1:00 Panel Discussion “What do the words Made in Britain mean to you?”

Jenny Holloway Fashion Enter

Jenny Holloway, CEO, Fashion Enter

Jenny Holloway has been working in the fashion industry for over twenty five years in both the private and public sector for fashion and textiles. Initially Jenny was an Assistant Buyer for Littlewoods, then a Selector for M&S and a Senior Buyer for the Arcadia Group before running her own design label Retro UK Ltd for 10 years.
Jenny launched Fashion Enter Ltd in 2006, and today it is a 7,500 square foot Factory in North London which manufacturers 7,500 – 12,000 garments a week for leading retailers such as ASOS, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis. 10% of the work force at  The Factory and The Fashion Studio are differently-abled and have been retrained as machinists, pressers and packers.

Jenny will be discussing how she believes that manufacturing in Britain is here to stay, due to the ever increasing demands for fast fashion, cost of transportation from off shore and the relaxation of immigration with countries where stitching skills exist.

Speaker schedule

Day One 2:30-3:00 “Why Made in Britain is here to stay”.

Sophie Glover, Head of Technical Services,

After graduating from MMU Sophie worked her way up from a Trainee Technologist at Topshop, to Head of Technical at Her current role involves the management of the garment technology team, along with the quality control team at the ASOS fulfillment centre in Barnsley.

Sophie is also a qualified teacher and has been involved in this capacity at the London College of Fashion and Fashion Enter, where she helped roll out the first ever National Apprenticeship Scheme course in garment technology in London. In 2011 she worked on the set up of ‘The Factory’ for Fashion Enter, and has helped to build its strengths as a quick response UK manufacturing unit. Sophie was also responsible, along with Fashion Enter, for the development and launch of the ASOS Stitching Academy in July 2013.

Speaker schedule

Day One 2:30-3:00 “Why Made in Britain is here to stay”

Toby Gaddum Tempus

Toby Gaddum, Director, Gaddum and Gaddum

Toby Gaddum owns and runs a sewing factory in Leek, Staffordshire set up in 2012, having already worked in the textile industry for 24 years. He previously cut his teeth on supplying yarns to the British knitting, weaving and hosiery industry.

Toby is very passionate about bringing textile manufacturing back to these shores, creating jobs for those who already have sewing experience and teaching new skills to the younger generation.

He lives in Leek and in his spare time is an Army Reservist. He is also an active Liveryman in the Worshipful Company of Weavers.

Speaker schedule

Day One 3:45-4:45 Panel Discussion: “Making it British – The Challenges & Opportunities”

Daliah Simble, Head of Sourcing & Production, Roland Mouret

Daliah Simble has over 20 years experience in the fashion production and product life cycle sector, and previous roles include Consultant Director of Production and Sourcing at Liberty, Production and Development Manager at Frost French, Merchandise Manager at French Connection, Head Merchandiser at Nicole Farhi, and Production Manager at Monsoon.

Daliah is a ‘UK Manufacture’ supporter and has implemented a sourcing strategy at Roland Mouret that currently accounts for 70% of production being manufactured in London.  Daliah also lectures in Global Sourcing and Supply Chain at Westminster University for both MA & BA students and is active on a number of industry panels.

She will share her thoughts on the challenges faced because of the skills gap in UK apparel manufacturing and how she thinks the solutions to these challenges can be met.

Speaker schedule

Day One 3:20 – 3:45 The skills gap in UK apparel manufacturing at a factory and head office level

Day One 3:45 – 4:45 Panel Discussion “Making it British – The Challenges and Opportunities”

Jayne West Creative Skillset

Jayne West, National Partnership Manager Fashion and Textiles, Creative Skillset

Jayne West sits on the European Sector Skills Council for Textiles, Clothing, Leather and Footwear. She grew up surrounded by the leather and footwear industry in Northamptonshire. She now works with Creative Skillset and is responsible for developing, and supporting the delivery of the Skills Strategy for the Fashion and Textiles sector. Jayne works in close partnership with industry, training providers, universities, government departments trade / professional associations, interest groups and stand-alone projects.

Speaker schedule

Day One 3:45 – 4:45 Panel Discussion “Making it British – The Challenges and Opportunities”

Simon Middleton

Simon Middleton, Founder & MD of The Great British Banjo Company

In the Spring of 2013 Simon Middleton decided to start the first British banjo-manufacturing enterprise in more than 60 years. Everybody told him it couldn’t be done. In August 2013 he launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign which raised nearly £50,000 and created nearly 150 advance orders for his first product. In addition he raised over £150,000 in angel equity funding. The Shackleton Banjo (designed and manufactured in Britain) appeared in March this year, and in November a special version of the instrument will be ski-hauled across the Antarctic as part of an expedition to mark Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Endurance adventure (in which a banjo played a vital role). Simon will explain how he created a banjo brand and restarted a dormant industry, with minimal capital, no factory, and no previous manufacturing experience.

Simon is also one of the UK’s best known brand strategy advisers. His consultancy firm Brand Strategy Guru worked with high profile clients including: British Airways, Aviva, Pret A Manger, Etisalat, Volvo Construction, Norfolk Broads National Park, World Vision, Send A Cow, Anthony Nolan and many more. Simon speaks internationally about brand, marketing, entrepreneurship, innovation and creative thinking and is the author of three branding, marketing and personal-development books

Speaker schedule

Day Two 10:15-10:45  Creating a manufacturing business out of an idea

Day Two 11:45-1:00 Panel Discussion “What makes a great British brand?”

William Church, Cheaney Shoes

William Church, Managing Director, Joseph Cheaney & Sons

William Church was born into a family of shoemakers – being the fifth generation of the Church family, who have been making shoes in Britain since the late nineteenth century. After originally training as a Chartered Surveyor, William joined the family footwear business, Church & Co. Ltd, in 1995 and was a director of the business in 1999 when it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Prada Group. At that time he conducted a management buyout of Joseph Cheaney & Sons with his cousin Jonathan Church, which had been acquired by Church Group in the 1960’s.

Under William and Johnathan’s ownership, Joseph Cheaney & Sons has focussed on export and directly operated stores, resulting in export turnover more than doubling in the last 3 years and the opening of 4 Cheaney stores around London in the West End, City and Spitalfields. All Cheaney shoes are resolutely Made in England – with no subcontracting of any part of the process to overseas manufacturers.

William will be joining in the debate in the morning of day one, and telling us what ‘made in Britain’ means to him.

Speaker schedule

Day One 11:45 Panel Discussion “What do the words made in Britain mean to you?”

Eve Pollard OBE, Founder, Eve Pollard Designs

Eve Pollard is often referred to as ‘The First Lady of Fleet Street’.  She was one of the first female editors of a national newspaper in the UK, editing the Sunday Mirror from 1987-1991 and the Sunday Express from 1991-1994. In 1985 Eve was launch editor-in-chief of Elle Magazine in the US and edited the Sunday magazine for the News of the World and You Magazine for the Mail on Sunday.Her TV career saw her as the features editor for TV AM, and also devise the series Frocks-on-the-Box for TVS.

Becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of stylish clothes available for older women, Eve launched her own British-made range of dresses in 2013. Her first capsule collection has found favour with other like-minded women who may no longer be classed as ‘hot-totty’, but who definitely aren’t giving up and aren’t giving in!

Eve will be sharing her thoughts on how to build a good relationship with your factory.

Speaker schedule

Day Two 10:45-11:15 

James Shaw

James Shaw, Founder, Albam Clothing

James founded Albam in 2006, the Modern Crafted Clothing quickly earned the brand critical acclaim and a loyal customer following. Winner of Independent retailer awards in The Telegraph newspaper and Timeout magazine. James has championed the importance of local trade, having gained considerable knowledge of the UK manufacturing landscape with Albam. Alongside Albam, James is currently developing an activewear concept, while consulting for both start ups and international brands wishing to take advantage of UK manufacturing.

Speaker schedule

Day One 3:45 – 4:45pm Panel Discussion: “Making it British – The Challenges & Opportunities


Kate Dawson, Director, The All-in-One Company

Born in Oxford, Kate moved to the North East with her family in 2008 to be close to Cresswell beach and to live in a village community. Ashington is where her father was from originally and Kate had plenty of happy memories of childhood visiting Grandparents.

On looking for sleep suits for her daughter, and finding that there were none available for children over 18 months of age, Kate decided to research this further. She found fabric, zip and cuff suppliers, clothing manufacturers, pattern makers, web designers and packaging suppliers set out to fill a gap in the market and The All-in-One Company® was born. The website went live on 19th October 2008 and within 2 weeks it had to be taken off Google Adwords as there were too may orders to cope with. Orders from all over the world – for children and adults all using the all-in-one builder to design their own unique all-in-one! By July 2009 Kate had set up her own factory unit in Ashington so she could keep up with demand, and has gone on to build up a high performing production team, who are experts in mass customisation. . In 2012/13 The All-in-One Company® turned over in excess £1 Million.

Speaker schedule

Day Two 3:00 – 3:30 

Daniel Harris London Cloth

Daniel Harris, Designer & Weaver, The London Cloth Company

The London Cloth Company first came into being when Daniel rescued a rusting loom from an old barn in rural Wales, naively thinking all else he’d need would be a small hand bobbin winder.

With absolutely no training or prior knowledge of weaving, Daniel learnt as he went along. Fully dismantling and reassembling machines that hadn’t been touched for 30 years, he quickly taught himself all the intricacies of the different parts.

A year later, Daniel had acquired two further looms, two pern winders and a warping mill. The collection of machinery has been growing ever since. London Cloth moved down the road to a larger space in Clapton, which is rapidly becoming full to the brim with even more machinery, yarn and cloth.

His bespoke woven fabrics are much sought after by designers and companies wanting to buy his unique cloth,

Speaker schedule

Day Two 2:30 – 3:00

Debra Hepburn Young British Designers

Debra Hepburn, Co-founder, Young British Designers

Debra Hepburn is one of the co-founders of Young British Designers – the only online retailer exclusively dedicated to featuring and selling the work of the UK’s emerging fashion, jewellery and accessories talent and over the past three years Debra has built a reputation as one of the key voices in the world of emerging British fashion talent.  Debra is regularly asked to speak and comment about the UK’s fashion industry in particular, the finding and nurturing of talent. Most recently Debra was one of the judges for the annual Fashion Scout ‘Ones to Watch’. 2013 also saw her judging on the panels of Graduate Fashion Week and the Midlands Fashion Awards.

Outside of YBD Debra is also MD of Rees Bradley Hepburn, an award winning creative, digital marketing and social PR agency.

In September 2010, along with RBH Creative Director, Stuart Jackson and her husband Julian Whitehead, Debra co-founded Young British Designers; the mission was a desire to create a truly global e-commerce platform to represent the very best emerging British fashion design talent. Because, crazily, there wasn’t one!

Debra is therefore highly qualified to be chairing our debate on day two about what makes a great British brand.

Speaker schedule

Day Two 11:45 – 1:00 Panel Discussion: “What makes a great British Brand?”

James Eden Private White VC

James Eden, Managing Director, Private White V.C.

 James Eden is the Managing Director of the Manchester-based Private White V.C. brand. He is also the great grandson of Founder Private Jack White who founded the fabric factory after being awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War.
Private White V.C. is a high integrity brand, starting with wool on a sheep, weaving it locally, carefully constructing the clothes in Manchester and selling them with love to people who care about such things. Their clothes are for people who have an emotional attachment to the clothes that accompany them through life. Today the brand delivers to over 25 countries around the world, with particularly high demand coming from East Asia, the U.S. and Germany.

James is therefore perfectly suited to our panel discussion in the morning of day two of the conference, when we will quiz him about what he thinks makes a Great British brand.

Speaker schedule

Day Two 11:45 – 1:00 Panel Discussion: “What makes a great British Brand?”

Polly Wilkson & Harriet Barford Draw in Light

Harriet Barford & Polly WIlkinson, Founders, Draw in Light 

DRAW IN LIGHT is a contemporary women’s wear brand. Free-hand silk-screen printing techniques are at the heart of the versatile silk and jersey pieces.  The garments are focused around feel, comfort and quality for women who appreciate individuality. You can consider the Draw in Light as ready to wear art, as each piece is slightly different from the other.

Harriet Barford and Polly Wilkinson founded DRAW IN LIGHT in January 2009. The first stockist being Liberty of London after winning Best of British 2009, since that time Draw In Light design has established a successful international wholesale platform stocking predominantly with independent boutiques.

Draw In Light design, print and manufacture in London, England.

Speaker schedule

Day Two 11:45 – 1:00 Panel Discussion: “What makes a great British Brand?”

Lindsay Taylor Holland & Sherry

Lindsay Taylor, Group Sales Director, Holland & Sherry

Holland & Sherry have been supplying prestigious tailors and luxury brands with the finest cloth for over 170 years. Their customer base covers a wide spectrum, from providing cloth for films such as Mission Impossible and Moulin Rouge to the cast of the English National Opera. They also pride themselves on supporting the next generation in the fashion and textile industry.

Speaker schedule

Day One 3:30 – 4:45 Panel Discussion “Working with UK manufacturers – how can I get the most out of the resource on my doorstep?”

James Fisher Globe-Trotter

James Fisher, General Manager, Globe-Trotter Leather Co

James Fisher joined luxury leathergoods manufacturer House of Patric s trainee leather cutter in 1988 and progressed to chief cutter/clicker in 1992. He then worked his way up through the company learning all aspects of leather goods production along the way and became factory manager in 1998.

In 2009 The House of Patric was sold to Globe-Trotter who were looking for a company to develop a range of soft luggage as well as small leather goods to compliment their long established range of vulcanised luggage.

James was instrumental in setting up the new Globe-Trotter 40,000 Sq foot factory in Hertfordshire, including the recruitment of both skilled and non skilled staff.

Having had over 25 years working in leathergoods manufacturing, both in production and sales, James will have plenty of advice to give on how to get the most out of working with a UK supply base.

Speaker schedule

Day One 3:30 – 4:45 Panel Discussion “Working with UK manufacturers – how can I get the most out of the resource on my doorstep?”

Sital Punja Threads London

Sital Punja, Founder, Threads London Limited

After a decade of working in the fashion industry, from launching an award winning ethical label to reviving a dying CMT, Sital Punja has launched Threads London Limited. A workshop dedicated to producing high end occasional wear for women and children.
Sital has worked with a strong portfolio of clients that include designers such as Palmer Harding, Nicki Macfarlane, Anna Scholtz, Viking Wong and JW Anderson. She has also production managed costumes for London Olympic Ceremonies, theatre and films which include Disney’s Man From Uncle and Cinderella. At Threads, she is adding to this portfolio to include labels such as Ted Baker, Fur Coat No Knickers and Lush.
Sital’s business background is uniquely complimented with technical skills and approach that a modern day CMT requires. Her passion for ethical manufacturing is reflected throughout the business from employment to environmental policies and she strongly believes in flying the flag for British Manufacturing.

Speaker schedule

Day One 3:30 – 4:45 Panel Discussion “Working with UK manufacturers – how can I get the most out of the resource on my doorstep?”