Now, with a renaissance of British luxury underway -- thanks to a crop of new talents and booming new demand for high-end goods from Chinese and Russian consumers -- this manufacturing gap is gaining attention.
"SELLING YOUR SOUL"
Pierre Mallevays, a former LVMH executive and now managing partner of Savigny Partners LLP, a corporate finance and M&A boutique specializing in luxury goods, said British luxury's renaissance may have come just in time.
"British brands simply cannot emulate the French and Italians -- they need to reach back and find their history, but in many cases that history in no longer there," he said in an interview.
"Where the British were very good traditionally was in their own production and their own manufacturing. Once you start dismantling that by selling factories you sell your soul."
Of course, Britain is not alone in shifting manufacturing offshore.