The Best of Britannia was a spectacular showcase of all of the design talent and brands that can be found throughout the UK. The products on show were exceptional with a great attention to detail, design and quality that was second to none. Here I found forever pieces with character, made with care that go beyond the cyclical beast that is today’s contemporary mainstream fashion and consumer culture. Without the overdraft busting prices as well.
The exhibition made me feel really happy, and maybe a little proud too, that I now call England my home.
Check out the gallery below (just click any of the images to open) to see snaps I took while I was there and some information about the various brands I became acquainted with.
Held at the Grade II listed Farmiloe Building, designed by architect Lewis Henry Isaacs for Browne and Robinson in 1868, in Clerkenwell.
Dhu Performance (dhuperformance.com), award winning sportswear with a focus on Performance Cashmere designed and manufactured in the Scottish Highlands.
Cycloc (cycloc.com) clever and innovated storage solutions for often cramped London spaces
A Hemingway (hemingwaydesign.co.uk) design for British Ceramic Tile (britishceramictile.com) based in Devon.
Every G Plan Vintage (gplanvintage.co.uk) piece is handcrafted in Wiltshire. I have my eye on a large Fifty Nine in olive leather!
Linen Lawn (linenlawn.com) produces ready to wear in amazing Liberty archival prints. My particular favorites were the fantastic shirtdresses.
Joseph Cheaney & Sons (cheaney.co.uk) founded in 1886 in Desborough, Northamptonshire.
Pantherella Socks (pantherella.com), established in 1937 and produced in Leicester. Cozying up in a pair of cashmere socks sounds so perfect for the cold months ahead!
The Big Tomato Company (bigtomatocompany.com) based in Longton Stoke-on-Trent features fine bone china and hand cast earthenware featuring designs by Gloria Daniel and Ali Yanya.
Sorry Mr. Cameron, I couldn’t resist taking a snap of this! From Twisted Twee (twistedtwee.co.uk) based in a converted bus works in Camden in London.
The marvelous 4160 Tuesdays (4160tuesdays.com) perfume dispenser! One of my personal favorites!
Quilts by Lisa Watson (quiltsbylisawatson.co.uk), stitched in Manchester, made with the finest Harris Tweed, backed with British Velvets Ltd, and edge in British fabrics from Colefax and Fowler, Angie Lewin, Tinsmiths, and Annabel Perrin.
I adored Julia McLearon’s (juliamclearon.com) digitally printed silk scarves with the juxtaposition of edgy, industrial designs on soft flowing, diaphanous silk.
Yull (yull.co.uk) is one of the only independent shoe brands manufacturing high heels in the UK.
London Tradition (londontradition.com), specialising in pea coats, duffle coats, quilts and raincoats was awarded the Queens Award for International Trade, the highest accolade for a British business in April 2014.
A gorgeous selection of perfume atomisers from Silver Tree Crystal (silvertreecrystal.com).
Silk cravats from the Cravat Club (cravat-club.com) which coincidentally also make for fabulous head scarves!
Every stunning piece of Sara Smith (sarasmith.co.uk) bone china is hand painted in 18 carat gold.
The milliemanu (milliemanu.com) collection of womenswear featuring dresses, tops and jackets in Scottish wool and tweed and Liberty silks and tana lawn cotton.
Nichollette Yardley Moore’s collection of hand sewn Vintage Cushions (vintagecushions.com) left me absolutely spoilt for choice!
I was getting a real pop art, Lichtenstein-esque vibe from Today I’m Me’s (todayimme.com) collection of colourful accessories.
Based on a working farm in the Buckingham countryside, the Littlecote Soap Co. (littlecotesoap.co.uk) was formed after a life-changing move by founder Elaine Stavert from a television career in London.
Established in 1875 Geo F Trumper (trumpers.com) was awarded the Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria and five subsequent monarchs.
Planet Sputnik’s (planetsputnikhomestyle.com) 1950’s atomic age style retro homewares designed, screen-printed and produced in London.
With the best initials I have seen, The Beehive Brand (thebeehivebrand.co.uk) dates all the way back to 1785! Their mustard colour, cable knit jumper is a must have!
I can imagine this 1930’s style love seat from The Loving Chair Company (thelovingchaircompany.com) in a decadently decorated boudoir.
The Blixen shift dress from the Settlers Stores (settlersstores.co.uk). I am seeing this worn over a ribbed turtleneck and a fantastic pair of over-the-knee boots!
A selection of designs from The Centre for Fashion Enterprise (fashion-enterprise.com)
Van-dal (vandalshoes.com) shoes established in Norwich in 1936.
“Long appreciated as the finest form of sartorial expression, a hat may well be the difference between looking good and feeling spectacular.” Jess Collett (jesscollettmilliner.com)
All Jess Collett (jesscollettmilliner.com) pieces are individually crafted and handmade in Notting Hill in London.
Based in Rosedale, Gillies Jones (gilliesjonesglass.co.uk) glass works have been exhibited in Japan, Korea and Switzerland.
Sara Tiara (saratiara.com) specialises in handcrafted millinery and Harris tweed tailoring designed and made in Poole Quay, Dorset.