Best of Britannia

Best of Britannia, or " BOB" as it has been called, gathered a selected numbers of companies ranging from any sector, from automotive, to fashion, to food, to furniture, all of them had to have their products made in Great Britain. All of them have been allocated in a Victorian disused factory in the City, the Farmiloe Building, in order to make stronger the link between industrial Great Britain and the brands hosted for these three days of britishness, that during the summer between the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games has been put forward to give a boost to our economy. Many companies had an heritage and a history behind them, but others were quite new and full of hope in being known for the quality and the uniqueness of their products as well as promoting the " Made in Britain".

Dashing Tweeds is a company founded by photographer Guy Hills and weaver Kirsty McDougall. Entirely made in Great Britain with yarns dyed in Yorkshire, the fabric woven in Scotland, the fashion collection made in Savile Row and North London and other accessories produced in Torquay or Bristol, Dashing Tweeds has put a new look into a fabric always seen as severe and old fashioned. Menswear has got a new cut and the colours are bright. I love the trainers. Check their  collection at www.dashingtweeds.co.uk

Age of Reason is a company in Brighton and the designer Ali Mapletoft makes the most exquisite silk scarves working with the best artisans to ensure that the quality of her works is of the highest standard. Every scarf is a painting and the style is inspired by the streets of London and with a punky edge. each scarf is finished by hand and the result is a fantastic bright scarf that it will be forever a statement accessory and it will give a new look every time it will be worn in a different style. www.age-of-reason-studios.com
I could not believe my eyes when at the next stand I've seen some handbags I've been chasing for years. Lie Down I Think I Love You started its business in 2006 thanks to Emily Trotter and Lisa Duleu. I've bought one of their first bags in a big shop and it still goes strong, but when I wanted to buy more of their products, I could not find them in the shop where I knew they were stocked. I was in love with the choice of leather, soft and in fantastic colours and the fact that they were matching the bags with a vintage scarf. When I've seen their new collection I could not resist and one bag came home with me. Those girls made my day. Check their website and my next post on them. www.liedownithinkiloveyou.com

Something for the boys with Magties, whose designer Alan Brooker showed me his creations, all made in silk from his studio in Southwark. Bright ties, neckties, bow ties were on display, some of them classic with a twist, others a bit more eccentric but all of them a little piece of art. Magties has got a great following of famous necks who wear its products. I really loved the idea of selling cufflinks inside small marmalade jars. On the first week end of December it will be possible to visit Alan at his studio at Peacock Yard, just check the Facebook page for Pullen Yards, it will be perfect for your Christmas shopping. www.magties.co.uk

Hose makes incredible tights using the hand screen printed tecnique. In a country where tights have to be worn nearly all year round, demand for this product will never stop. As you can see from the picture the colours are very bright with playful prints. Designer Rebecca Cluett set up her company in April, but already received few mentions from the press and her products are stocked in a couple of famous websites. Check her collection at www.hosetights.co.uk
Laura's Loom is based in Cumbria and its products are beautiful wool scarves and throws. Laura Rosenzweig designs and weaves her creations using wool sourced in Yorkshire from the Bluefaced Leicester sheep. I was so engrossed in talking about those fantastic pieces in the stand that I've forgotten to take a picture and kindly Laura sent it to me. The scarves are soft and warm and mainly they are made in the North of Great Britain. The throws are luxurious and there are some sweet baby blankets  framed by a silk hem. Cushion cases are so snuggly that the first instinct is to hug the pillow just to feel the warmth of the cloth. Check Laura 's fascinating story of her production on her website: www.laurasloom.co.uk
After visiting the exhibition the only thing I wanted to relax was a cup of tea and what better cup that those made by Sara Smith ? Produced in Stoke-on-Trent, where the first bone china teacups were made, Sara preferred to stay in England instead of following the big names and sending her production abroad. The look is very vintage but the size are very generous for a nice cup of tea and I don't even start with the choice of colours, for this year royal blue, amethyst purple and deep green are the stars, all decorated with a black coloured motif and  a golden rim. I know already which one is my favourite. www.sarasmith.co.uk

My wish for Best of Britannia is to visit its next edition given the great support given to the British companies that prefer quality to the lure of cheap manufacturing abroad and to see the exhibitors stocked everywhere, because I think is beautiful to own an item that has been made with passion.

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