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Are you the next Fashion Idol?


The fashion scene in the UK is buoyant! There is an abundance of talent just look at these facts and figures!

– In 1990 turnover for the fashion sector was £75m and in 2001 the turnover is £770 (source Malcolm Newbury Consulting)

– The fashion industry is of great importance to London contributing more than 3% of the capitals economic output. With a total output of over £4bn for the year 2000 fashion is larger than both the music and publishing industries in London. (source GLA)

– Between 1996 and 2000 London experienced an average annual growth in the output of the designer fashion industry of around 8% per annum. (source DCMS)

– Productivity in the fashion sector in London is 16% above the figure for all industries in London. (source DCMS, GLA, ONS)

These figures hardly show an industry that is ailing!

However, any initiative that provides coverage, press and more importantly interest for the fashion industry has to be welcomed but let’s remember that fashion idol  is not just a case of walking into a studio filled with experts to ensure that the sound is just right, that the mix is perfect and a bit of tweaking here and there provides a perfect single.

We must remember the intricacies of the industry – just look at the components of a blouse for example. Say there is one base cloth (linen) then we have the thread (polyfil not bulk)? Shoulder pads, covered or self lining? Hems – double turned, pin hemmed? What are the appropriate buttons for the style 19 ligne, smoked, shank, self fabric, two piece? Now the cuffs – bagged on or castle, with or without vent?. What about the collar, two piece or mock two piece the list goes on and on and remember that you have to find the right source for each component too.  “Anyone” who thinks that designing is just a matter of sketching with colour is sadly mistaken.

One of the single causes of failure within the industry is the lack of planning and in particular the ability to source the right production for the right product. Having been a selector at Marks & Spencer and then a senior buyer for Principles for Women designing is a small part of the total clothing process.  Many designers do not plan to fail but many fail to plan effectively- a sad reality of the industry.

Let us also not forget that London Fashion Week is important and the industry needs to “get behind” the bi-annual show. Anyone can knock any event but what’s the point in this? Joining together for the good of the industry is far more positive. I was encouraged to read that Colin McDowell, the fashion writer who acts as a visiting professor to several colleges say “I do not want the people from London Fashion Week to think we are in some way trying to destroy their little world” .glad to hear it Mr McDowell.  Their little world  has helped contribute to the UK designer fashion industry accounting for 9% of the UK apparel manufacturing industry and is expected to become more central to the UK clothing sector in the future. Latest estimates indicate that 6% of the clothing workforce are employed within designer fashion equating to some 8,500 employees. The UK designer industry is export oriented with designers note solely dependent on the domestic market. 60% of the UK designer companies export even in their early stages  – a great revenue earner for the nation! (source Malcolm Newbury Consulting).

Mr McDowell further wrote “but I feel the most dangerous thing you can do it to praise something just because it happens to be British”. Mr McDowell – it’s good to be British! The London Fashion Forum works with manufacturers and designers of quality British made products that are something to behold and be proud of. It  really is time to fly the British flag.

Jennifer Holloway
Project Manager
London Fashion Forum

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