Setting the scene
As London gets ready to play host to the world of fashion once again, this years’ events are set to attract in excess of around 5000 visitors including television and radio crews, journalists and buyers from around the globe.
Commencing on the 15th of February, more established designers such as Amanda Wakeley and relatively recent new comers like, 16 Arlington, will showcase a sensational array of eye-catching wardrobe must haves, beautifully crafted in the latest pantone colours.
According to the British Fashion Council, the UK Fashion Industry contributes around “£37,000,000 to the UK economy” “employing some 816,000 people across the country.”
The report goes on to state that some of the key factors regarding the success and growth of the UK fashion Industry include:
- “The desire and demand created by the top end designer sector and its influence and diffusion in the mainstream.”
- “The expansion of brands into other products beyond clothing (i.e. perfume, accessories, homewares etc).”
And there’s more
Renowned as being a global driving force in the world of fashion, the UK Fashion Industry is not without its challenges. In addition to highly publicised uncertainties surrounding Brexit, a report entitled the ‘Value of Fashion’ published by the British Fashion Council sites the following challenges the UK Fashion Industry must overcome in order to continue growth and maintain its current status quo:
- “Lack of business skills among smaller businesses.”
- “Limited awareness of diverse opportunities in the Fashion Industry among young people and career advisers”.
- “The impact of recession and limited access to investment for manufacturing and designer sectors”.
- “Growing competition from other showcasing capitals, which could challenge London Fashion Week and London’s reputation as the most creative capital”.
- “The long – term need to incentivise and encourage growth of a UK manufacturing base”.
- “Promoting best practice on sustainability and working together with Government to implement its’ Sustainable Clothing Action Plan in this area”.
Closing the gap
Despite the aforementioned challenges the industry must get to grips with, all is not lost. Help is at hand for up and coming fashion designers seeking the opportunity to gain much needed exposure and a strategic approach to market entry.
On the 15th of January 2019, the British Fashion council announced the opening of the 2019 FC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund. An annual competition that “aims to discover new talent and accelerate growth over a twelve-month period, through mentoring and awarding a cash prize of £200,000”.
Furthermore, on the 8th of January 2019, The British Fashion Council announced the opening of the 2019 BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund, which includes a £150,000 cash prize, alongside twelve months of high-level mentoring with the intention of accelerating the winner’s business and help grow their global reputation.
These are just two examples of support within the Fashion Industry aimed at providing support for up and coming fashion designers / brands.
The Department of International Trade also provide 1-2-1 business support and access to grant funding through the Tradeshow Access Programme, enabling businesses to attend Trade Fairs overseas.
Other sources of support for up and coming fashion businesses and / or designers include:
Fashion Angels – offering business support and access to start up finance for up and coming fashion brands.
The Design Trust – providing on and offline training, information and guidance for creative businesses.
Cockpit Arts – offering incubator space and practical guidance for early stage creative businesses.
Creative Skillset – who provide training advice and access to funding for creative businesses.
For more information on sources of support for fashion businesses email: firstname.lastname@example.org.