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Business Design Centre, London


25 November 2016

B&S meets...Baby Acorn

Bubble London's Homegrown campaign will return this season, showcasing product designed and manufactured entirely in the UK. But what does it mean to be a British-made label?  And is the future bright for UK manufacturing? We asked Fiona Lewis, founder of home-grown Bubble brand Baby Acorn...

Baby Acorn has exhibited at several editions of Bubble - but could you introduce the brand to some of our newer readers?

Baby Acorn launched as a unisex baby brand determined to banish beige from hospital bags everywhere! As a former independent babywear retailer, I really struggled to source styles which were truly unisex, but still lived up to my customer’s expectations of a first outfit or new baby gift to suit either a boy or girl. I decided to create my own collection, featuring all-over prints inspired by nature, and the non-gendered colour palette of the great British woodland. Our unisex baby wear is designed to be worn again and again in those important first months, and our natural colourways of aqua-green, sunshine yellow and silver coordinate beautifully with pinks and blues too which we have since introduced due to customer demand.

Tell us more about your prints; why did you decide on a woodland theme?

Baby Acorn is lucky enough to be based in a village in leafy Cheshire, with an HQ in a picturesque village surrounded by rolling countryside and close to Delamere Forest. Our prints and colourways are inspired by our local landscape, and feature woodland animals such as rabbits, foxes, deer, hedgehogs, mice and even honey bees. I just love the way colours in the natural world sit so easily alongside each other, and this fusion of colour really motivates us when creating new designs. Scandi-inspired prints in bolder colours sit happily alongside sketched designs in sorbet pastels, creating a vibrant collection for our 100% cotton home-grown label.

Baby Acorn's collections are designed and manufactured exclusively in the UK. Could you tell us a bit about this?

We are very proud to be not only designed in Britain, but manufactured here, too. Whilst we are unable to grow our cotton in the UK, everything else in the process takes place here. The dyeing and printing of our fabric happens in Leicester, and our pattern cutting and production in Nottingham. Even our swing tickets and woven labels are produced onsite in Leicester. We work with an amazing, highly skilled factory and a specialist textile printers to bring our designs to life. Their locally based expertise has been invaluable to the creation of the Baby Acorn brand - and we can email, pick up the phone or visit as often as we like, as they are just an hour or so away!  

What advice would you give to designers looking to manufacture their collections in the UK?

I would encourage anyone to make in Britain, as the textile and clothing industry is alive and very well. There is nothing more satisfying for us than knowing exactly who has made our babywear, and we can be sure of the provenance and quality of every piece in our collection -as well as our contribution to the local economy. Customers and stockists tell us how impressed they are with our quality, and how, wash after wash, our garments still look great. For more information on British manufacturers, designers can visit www.makeitbritish.co.uk -or attend their annual Meet the Manufacturer show, which is scheduled for next year in May 2017.       

Is demand for British-made product growing? What do you think the future holds for UK manufacturing? 

Customers are becoming increasingly aware of ethical manufacturing and the provenance of the clothes we choose to wear. Home-grown labels support local businesses and their communities, whilst benefiting from years of experience, expertise and superb quality and workmanship. Brands that are made in Britain are not as exposed to economic factors and exchange rate fluctuations, and regional production can certainly promote a more dynamic and reactive approach when launching new ranges. I think the future for British manufacturing is very bright.

What's next for Baby Acorn?

We are currently putting the finishing touches to a range of new prints for 2017, and preparing for the launch of a range of baby dresses. This will mean that our collection spans newborn to 2 years old, and we are very excited to showcase our latest styles at Bubble London A/W17! 

And we can't wait to see the new collection, Fiona! 

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