This is a funny snoop to write really as Rainbow Jersey are a commercial textile knitter based in Nottingham but as a designer and lover of fantastic textiles, particularly British textiles I wanted to shout out to all the unsung heros like Rainbow Jersey still hanging on in there after the fashion giants went overseas and left many of these specialist passionate businesses by the wayside. We don't think about the impact on many manufacturing companies and jobs, particularly in my industry, Fashion, when we as consumers opt to support brands who in turn are opting for cheap over quality from overseas. I have had the pleasure of working with Rainbow Jersey on a number of commercial projects and aside from being amazing people to deal with, their exquisite fabrics that come out of a small knitting unit in Nottingham are of the highest quality and why many high end brands like Burberry have sourced their fabrics here over the years.
We are seeing a shift back to quality and ethical with the rise of global movements like Fashion Revolution, challenging fashion consumers to ask "who made my clothes" in the hope of raising awareness about the still shocking practises of the brands we know and love and don't think it's just the cheap brands because many couture, high end houses are amongst the worst offenders. Did you know up to 60% of China's water supply is contaminated according to Greenpeace thanks to the refusal by fashion companies to dispose of their textile waste and chemicals used in the dying and finishing processes in a better, less harmful way to people and the environment.
Companies like Rainbow jersey and there are still quite a few left the U.K. doing things properly (100 years ago we were the world's leader) rarely get any recognition because brands don't want you to know where and who they are buying from. Even designer Stella McCartney is today calling for more sustainability in a business that is only less corrupt than the porn industry some analysts and pundits proclaim.
Times are changing and recently we have seen cotton spinning return to the UK, something which had been lost completely which I, as someone who grew up visiting the textile mills of Yorkshire and Lancashire, where my fashion for fabric began, see as a really good thing. Brands do have to disclose where things are made on the content labels, by law so start checking before you buy. (Do watch out for sneaky brands that say "Designed in Britain in large print and then Made in ....... in tiny writing though naming no names) These labels won't tell you where the fabric comes from but if you stick to natural fabrics like cotton, wool and silk, and eco synthetics like modal you are on the right track as these last longer, are more sustainable and do less harm if they do end up in landfill. Buying British means you are helping to rebuild industries crushed by big brands, corporate greed, taking business overseas where many workers are still exploited sadly. And the next time you pop into any fashion store do some homework before you part with your hard earned cash and find out what exactly you are supporting because we are not at a place yet where you can easily know your money is going to keep great businesses like this one afloat.
I work in leicester as a pattern cutter. I also create my design sampling.
I am a fashion graduate from De Montfort University, Leicester, originally from Nottingham. Favourite designer Vivienne Westwood. Really admire Katherine Hamnett also for bringing awareness of climate change impact through fashion.