a brit of luxury….

There was a time when certain names just epitomised luxury: Saville Row suits, Rolls Royce cars, Harrods Food Hall and tea at Fortnums. But, somehow Brit luxury was all a bit ‘home grown’ compared to its more strident and vocal foreign cousins Hermes, Vuitton, Gucci and Prada. Early on they all learned how to market themselves, escape the localism thing and go global in a way that put all that old world luxury firmly in the shade…

Until now that it is.

Britishness is definitely hip again and companies like Burberry are steaming ahead with spectacular growth revenues up nearly 30% last year, Mulberry profits are up over 300 % and even huge ticket item like Rollers are seeing huge growth with the luxury car company reporting 40% growth thanks to high demand in the emerging BRIC economies. Some of the smarter old wave Brit luxury brands are reinventing themselves nicely on the back of this new wave of cash and popularity. Barbour for example has collaborated with a series of very “now” designers such as the Japanese Tokihito Yoshida, and is in such demand that Anne Pitcher, managing director of Selfridges, says she “can scarcely keep it in stock”, so fast is it selling.

Whilst over at Barbour’s headquarters, figures confirm another success story – turnover has risen 20 per cent. Everywhere one turns, one sees Britishness being celebrated: Meryl Streep playing Margaret Thatcher, the cast of Downton Abbey feted like rock stars in the US, then of course there was the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. It’s interesting that sometimes it takes a foreigner to see what’s so great about being British. Ed Burstell, an American who is now managing director of the London department store Liberty, which has always leveraged Britishness as one of its great themes, is convinced something new is in the air. “I see many customers who want to own a piece of something British, and they’re willing to pay a premium price for it.” Changing tastes certainly seem to be running in Britain’s favour.

Throw in a bit of heritage and genuine quality and 2013 could be a great one for all that we do best.

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