Interview: Best of Britannia’s Alix Waterhouse

May 23, 2014


We had the chance to catch up with Alix Waterhouse, fashion editor of the Best of Britannia blog to get the inside scoop on independent fashion designers set to join Best of Britannia this year. From 2nd – 4th October 2014 Best of Britannia will once again transform the iconic Farmiloe Building in Clerkenwell into Britain’s Largest Pop Up Department Store.

Best of Britannia  is a showcase of over 200 of the best in British brands where buyers and consumers come to take a look at and purchase the very latest innovations, designs and products from the UK’s finest makers.

From cars, boats and bikes to the highest quality men and womenswear, from jewellery and accessories through to domestic furniture and furnishings all made from only the finest raw materials Best of Britannia is proud to be the standard-bearer for the finest product range available anywhere in the world.

What is it that makes British fashion stand out? In our opinion British fashion is essentially eclectic and most importantly individual. Most talented creative’s in the world come from Britain. Our design schools are the envy of the world and are the reason major fashion houses come here looking for talent and the reason why so many of the leading roles are taken by Briton’s.

Fashion here absorbs the UK’s  diverse culture in heritage, street style and music. London in particular is a creative melting pot and as a nation we have a long and proud heritage of design and manufacture to draw upon from the textiles boom of the Industrial Revolution to the present day.

What trends do you expect to see among the Best of Britannia fashion designers this year? Hand crafted, slow made, quality British production and innovation, using the very highest quality of materials sourced and supplied from within the UK.

Can you give us a sneak peek of some of the fashion brands joining you this year? We are very excited about our discussions about working with the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, who are based in the booming trend-hub of the London borough of Hackney. The CFE is a fashion business incubator and we look forward to presenting some of their hottest new designers at BoB 2014. Their current crop include designers Phoebe English and Agi and Sam and in their Alumni they have Mary Katranzou and Meadham Kirchhoff.

What British independent fashion designers should we be looking out for at Best of Britannia this year? Designers from The Centre of Fashion and Enterprise are very innovative and exciting. Others that I will be looking forward to seeing are Hetty Rose and Today I am Me. We also have a plethora of handbag and shoe manufacturers signed up – enough to keep any shopper female or male very happy!

Who pops to mind for the UK’s finest fashion makers? Bespoke tailors such as Susannah Hall, Norton and Sons or Gieves and Hawkes. I also really like Timothy Everest’s approach to tailoring. Catherine Walker for women’s couture. John Smedley for knitwear. Cheaney or Jeffrey West for shoes. Ally Capellino, Owen Barry, Kolin and William or Cherchbi for bags.  For a more contemporary style Christopher Raeburn for men and Beautiful Soul for women. If you are in to your outdoor pursuits the innovation of Finisterre for outdoor clothing is second-to-none.

What role does fashion play in Best of Britannia? Best Of Britannia is a craft forum for the best independent makers and major brands in the country. Britain leads Internationally in areas of heritage and craftsmanship and breaks creative boundaries in design and trend. Fashion is therefore a major part of everything that Best Of Britannia sets out to highlight.

What can we learn about British fashion from your hosted talks?  Our seminar programme is still currently being scheduled but strives to educate our audience in a range of topics from innovation to sustainability. We will have keynote speeches from our Director Wayne Hemingway MBE, from the British Footwear Association and from the Centre for Fashion Enterprise.

Alix Waterhouse – Fashion Editor – Best of Britannia blog                                     @alixwaterhouse