Best of British: The Stories Behind Britain's Iconic Brands

Image of Best of British: The Stories Behind Britain's Iconic Brands
Release Date: 
January 8, 2015
Reviewed by: 

There is no other way to say this other than Best of British is truly a love letter to the world of fashion but totally focused on British fashion. Unquestionably, this is a book that will remind the seasoned fashion reader and illuminate the novice fashion reader that heritage brands do still exist and still carry on as they always have—in this case some for more than several centuries.

From bicycle seats to bespoke suits and from shoes to knitters to umbrella makers, the authors truly celebrate and revere these heritage brands for what they are: masters of their stock in trade. Some of the names will not be familiar and some will be instantly recognizable but they all share the distinctiveness of their product.

While this book is in large part photographic, the real point of the book is to read it so that the photos coalesce and tell the story of each brand.

Do not be mistaken in thinking that this is some dry fact laden history of fusty British fashion because if that’s what you are expecting you will be more than pleasantly surprised. The authors tell the story of each manufacturer, even including those who are actual veteran workers and/or owners for each brand. The reader will be afforded a short history as well as accomplishments that are the legacy of each maker as well as given a fashion history lesson that companies can and do survive sticking to their guns doing what they have always done except for minor changes due to technological advances.

In many ways Best of British reaffirms that not every heritage brand must be reimagined to survive. In a world of fashion in which so many brands have been gobbled up by big business for the sake of milking the money cow, these are retailers and manufacturers that are still owned and operated by ancestors of their founders who subscribe to the original beliefs and practices of each founder.