Ed Cotton: The Local Movement Is Growing Beyond Food

Ed Cotton: The Local Movement Is Growing Beyond Food

Ed Cotton delves into the meaning of 'local' beyond the food and restaurant industry and what it means in the face of a world that is still very dependant on mass-produced products developed in faraway lands.

Ed Cotton, BSSP
  • 16 august 2011

The production of many of the brands we use has long been outsourced to far off lands this means that the vital and often vibrant connection between the producer and the consumer is severed.

While years ago, this production connection would have been celebrated and romanced, the production side of the business is now mentioned in a hushed whisper whenever Taiwan, China or any Asian country is disclosed as the source.

The images of Asian production are firmly embedded in people’s heads, it’s a dirty little secret that neither the user or the producer of the brand involved feels comfortable talking about. Beyond the sweat shop image, there lies the realization that with this all this lost production comes “lost history”, “lost competence” and “lost power”- all things that we don’t feel good about.

While the local movement has its roots in food, where the increased popularity of farmer’s markets has been driven by a desire for people to eat better and to be more connected to the production of their food. People want to understand that there is a farmer behind the vegetable they just brought which is more reassuring than the faceless image of agribusiness or a processing factory.

What’s happened in food,  is now happening in other categories, as people see the benefit of buying something that’s locally made.; it’s likely to be made better, made by people they can identify with and by companies who appear to have a commitment for their local community

Years ago David Hieatt used to be an writer at Wieden and Kennedy, but decided instead of advising other brands how to make things better in the world, he’d do it himself, so he created Howies, a successful sportswear brand that he sold to Timberland a couple of years back.

Obviously not content with sitting around idly contemplating the future, David is embarking on a new adventure to bring premium jean manufacture back to Wales. To do this. he’s created a new brand, Hiut and headquartered the company in Cardigan, which had a long proud history of making jeans.

Here’s David describing the story on the Hiut site.

Cardigan is a small town of 4,000 good people. 400 of them used to make jeans. They made 35,000 pairs a week. For three decades. Indeed, they were so skilled at making jeans, it was the very last jeans factory in Britain to close.

In Hollywood, it’s hard to find a waiter who is not going to be an actor. In Cardigan, it’s equally as hard to find someone who hasn’t made jeans.

The factory may no longer be here, but the skills remain. And yet they have nowhere to practice their art.

Malcolm Gladwell once said: ‘You can’t become a chess grand master unless you spend 10,000 hours on practice.’ The good men and women of Cardigan have spent that and more learning their trade. In some cases, they have spent 30,000 hours. They have practiced their skills until they have become ‘Grand Masters’ of jeans making…

It’s clear David’s heart is in doing something extremely ambitious that goes against the common sense of the modern capitalist/industrialist and because of that creates a beautiful tension. David’s instantly created a brand with a purpose and mission that goes against the category and industry conventions. He fuels this brand with challenger status recognizing that it’s going to be tough and he’s going to have a fight on his hands against a resurgent other premium jeans brands and the Levi’s brand, who also produces some of its premium product locally in the United States

Local isn’t just an opportunity to connect to a trend, but it’s a chance to celebrate the local communities and people who are involved with producing and bringing your brand to market. It’s a way to break the disconnected loop between consumers and producers and to bring humanity to brands. You don’t have to be David Hieatt competing against the global giants, you might just be one of those global giants that has chosen to ignore its important contributions to local communities.

To view the original post, click here.

Ed Cotton is the Director of Strategy at BSSP and is curious about all things relating to brands, marketing and culture. Read more at influx insights.


Lighting’s Impact On Sleep: More Than The Off Switch

Food Today

Photo Series Brutally Murders Some Of Your Favorite Fast Food

The portraits by artist duo Ilka & Franz do away with mealtime regulars in a way that is both beautiful and humorous

Technology Today

Coffeemaker Teaches You How To Make The Perfect Cup

The device comes with an accompanying app that guides novices and experts alike through the brewing process


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Retail Today

The Story Behind How LYNK & CO Created A Car Brand From Scratch

Head of Design Andreas Nilsson describes which values were most influential in determining the identity and design direction of the new auto company

Fitness & Sport Today

Editorial Roundtable: Building An All-Encompassing Performance Suite

WHOOP, ShotTracker, Rithmio, PlaySight, STYR Labs, EverybodyFights and Lift / Next Level Floats on the partnership opportunities available in health and fitness

Health Today

Fantasy Game Responds To Each Player’s Emotions

The card battling venture measures responses through a Bluetooth clip to adjust the experience accordingly

Luxury Today

Carry A Map Of NYC On A Handbag

The bag from Bottega Veneta has been designed exclusively for Bergdorf Goodman to celebrate New York City


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

PSFK Labs october 25, 2016

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Technology Today

Roaming Robots Crawl Around Your Body To Do Small Jobs As You Go About Your Day

A new concept wearable developed by researchers at MIT and Stanford are fully functional bots that live on your clothing

Retail Today

Runners Are Delivering Groceries To Parisians

French supermarket Carrefour partnered with a running group for fast and memorable deliveries

Children Today

DIY Kits Let You Create Your Own Cameras And Speakers

Computer-building startup Kano has entered the IoT space with a new set of original products

Syndicated Yesterday

How Fashion Became All About Fonts

Why a new wave of designs have put typography front and center on your clothing

Automotive Yesterday

GM And Audi Are Experimenting With Car Rentals In SF

The automakers are trying something new to capture the segment of urban dwellers who don't want to own a car

Travel Yesterday

This Vertical Forest Hotel Will Improve The Air Around It

An architectural firm is creating a lush mountain lodging in China with so much greenery that it will actually clean the atmosphere

Europe Yesterday

This Company Believes Insects Can Provide Biofuel To Power Our Future

A Polish group is testing out a new factory concept that can provide a source of renewable energy, and even serve space missions

Entertainment Yesterday

Music Venue Caters To Virtual Reality Events

Boiler Room has launched the first VR hub for content creators to capture special footage for the masses

No search results found.