Made In England

Empty Shops Network

Coat Hook 01While the collapse of the high street has focused on shopping, largely because the loudest commentators can’t see beyond their big retail background, there’s an area of activity which doesn’t yet have a government champion.

I’ve written before about the rise in small-scale manufacture, and its return to the town centre where it belongs. And simultaneously, Marcus Westbury has been exploring the same ideas in New South Wales.

Working on the Retail Ready People pop up shop in Leeds reinforced those ideas.

The shop was a hybrid space, with a packed programme of live music running alongside retail. The two worked well together; a live act would sell their own merchandise in store, for example. And of course this is manufacture, after a fashion; musicians take raw materials, make something and sell it for a good profit. It’s alchemy.

But the designers making products to sell in the shop really…

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