The Vogue Festival was on this weekend. We couldn't go. Jems had to go back to Cambridge to see her parents, Kitty was banging on about some warehouse party and I, well, I just wanted some alone time, am I right, The Boy Least Likely To? Also, apparently, you needed to have a ticket to go. We didn't have any.
So there I was in my pyjamas, this afternoon, following the hashtag voguefestival on twitter, you know, to indirectly hear what Mrs. Beckham and Ms. Versace had to say about running a business in the world of fashion - it's all about staying in the loop - and I came across this tweet. I replied, being ever curious, with "What does 'British as a brand' mean? The designer is British? It is manufactured in Britain?". I did not get an answer, directly. But that is understandable as Ms. Wilkins, a.k.a Liberty London Girl, was very busy tweeting from the Vogue Festival (well done, by the way) and she does have over 84k followers (as I write). However, an answer, in the form of a tweet directed at Anya Hindmarch (she does have some nice bags), did come twenty-six minutes later on her feed. I, having followed Ms. Wilkin's tweets all afternoon, knew her format and can assume that they are Anya's words, I stand to be corrected.
Right, "the fact that the core of the design is here in the UK makes it British". Ok, we have a confession to make. Are you ready? Awkward. Right, here goes: our ruck-tote is Peruvian - see corrected image below. Sorry. You see, the "core of the design" of that bag was done by Jems, last summer, whilst she was trekking in the wildest parts of Peru on her way to Machu Picchu. As the story goes, her rucksack was digging into her shoulders and she had no handbag to glam up for a night out with the Indios. She put the two together. Jems, with her British passport, came back from Peru and we, all British citizens, set up INMIY in a factory in the east end of London. Crap, confession time again: the leather we buy in Britain is Italian. I feel as if we have - wait for it! You know it's my favourite word - hoodwinked the good folk, you. We promise, from now on, to disclose to you where the "core of the design" has been carried out, in the case that it is not here in London. Because, as I have discovered today, that is where the product is from.
Staying on subject but deviating slightly, I did a bit of research and found this interview with Anya Hindmarch from two months ago. I did not know she was one of Cameron's UK Business Ambassadors. I don't take issue with the fact that most of her manufacturing is done abroad and yet she puts 'London' on her logo because she invoices here - in the end, having London/Britain on your branding is good for business, otherwise why would she mention it, but also brings in over 20 billion pounds, that's 4 billion 'Winstons' to the economy a year - and, let's be clear, she has not put 'Made in London'. Maybe they should make a system so consumers have a clearer idea, mmm, I will think about it and get back to you. I don't even take issue that her solution is a short-term one because unfortunately this is simply a symptom of how things are run nowadays. That is, taking her words, "(I)t would be wonderful to think that you could manufacture everything in the UK, and it's always been slightly my dream*...(but)...the handbag industry rather died in the 50s". A woman in her position, UK Business Ambassador, should be a fore-runner in trying to manufacture in Britain, that is, implementing the long-term solution to teach a trade, set up factories. But that is not my issue, my issue is that she says the handbag industry died. It didn't. It is on life-support but it didn't die. Otherwise, what are we doing? That reminds me, I need to see how Mary Portas' knickers are doing.
*What is 'slightly a dream'? I imagine it that moment between sleeping and fully waking up. In Italian there is a word for it, dormiveglia, you're not asleep and you're not awake. And your mind goes...in slightly a dream?