Our friends at Hebtroco began their business in 2015 with the core principle of making all their products in the UK. They use manufacturers across the north of England, nothing much south of Nottingham. 100 years ago this would have been easy, now, not so.
You'd think the struggling UK factories would be falling over themselves to fulfil orders from an enthusiastic start-up, a company who pay up front and make a big deal about manufacturing in the area. Some factories do appreciate it, others decided it was better to mess Hebtroco around, rip off their designs and even try to go into competition with them. Hebtrco don't advertise these facts, they're cheerleaders for UK industry, but when I heard this I understand why so much manufacturing left the UK.
Hebtroco make high quality, super hardwearing casual clothing for outdoorsy types who like traditional stuff. They started out making trousers, hence the name Hebtroco, the Hebden Bridge Trouser Company. Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire was nicknamed Trouser Town because of the amount of specialist factories based there after the industrial revolution, but when Hebtrco launched there was just one struggling factory left, on the brink of collapse - and this turned out to be one of the companies that ending up stabbing Hebtroco in the back. Go figure. Since then, the founders, Ed and Brant, have made jackets, belts, boots, pocket knives, overshirts, socks, hats, T-shirts, art prints... All in England (though sometimes with fabric and materials brought from other countries). This is very different to a brand such as Burberry, who play up the fact they're British and try to convince the masses they manufacture in England, when the vast majority of their output is made in China and 'finished' in the UK. Apparently, sewing a Made In England label into a raincoat made entirely in China is enough to allow them to say it is 'made in England'. Burberry, by the way, continually 'move jobs' to China and cut their UK manufacturing staff (source: The Guardian)
The reason to post this now is because someone on social media asked Hebtroco, 'Are these jeans marketed at idiots only'. The angle was, who would pay £150 for a pair of jeans when a supermarket sells them for £35? The idiocy of the comment is only outweighed by the irony.
Not everyone can afford Hebtroco clobber, but plenty who can choose not to. They choose to buy cheap shit made in horrible conditions by people living in worse conditions and spend the money they 'saved' on more shit. Sideburn is not holier than thou, but we try to do our bit. We're not in the handmade clobber market, but we have chosen to cut our profit margin by printing on organic, Fair Wear T-shirts, that are printed in the UK. We have our number plates made in the UK, our hot shoe straps too. It's a drop in the ocean, but it's our drop. And we support Hebtroco. (By the way, Burberry jeans start at £320. They're not made in England.)