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The Best of British



  {mosimage}London Fashion Week is the single most important promotional event staged on behalf of the British fashion industry. The event last season consisted of forty-nine catwalk shows and two hundred exhibitors. Over the course of the six days, international buyers, television and radio crews, journalists and photographers all flock to London to witness the best of British. This year the event generated editorial media coverage worth twenty four million pounds, orders worth forty million pounds and business for London worth over one hundred million pounds.


 The same but different?


   London, it appears, has shed its old, dowdy skin and adopted a more appropriate attire for one of the world’s leading fashion capitals. So what’s changed? In a way, very little. London Fashion Week is still doing what it has always done best by providing a platform for the best emerging talent in the British fashion industry.



London Fashion Week catwalk run through



   What is different are two recent developments that have helped Britain to achieve a high profile within the international fashion market.


{mosimage}   Firstly, the recent resurgence of London Fashion Week can be accredited to the emergence of a new breed of designers who have collectively breathed life into the British fashion industry. Lulu Kennedy, founder of Fashion East agreed that ‘there is a particularly talented generation of designers showing in London at the moment.’ Without the talents of young designers, such as Christopher Kane, Duro Oluwa and Gareth Pugh, London Fashion Week would not have achieved its recent recognition and appreciation for its creativity.  



   London Fashion Week has achieved a reputation for helping to nurture and promote new design talent. It is this talent which plays an indispensable role in the British fashion industry. However, behind these great talents are great sponsorship schemes. Many of the emerging designers seen on the recent London catwalks could never have dreamed of showing their collections without the promotional and financial support of schemes such as New Generation, Fashion East and Fashion Fringe.



   New Generation was established in 1993 and is part of London’s Fashion Week’s official schedule. It is one of the world’s first schemes designed to nurture new British designers and this year fifteen designers were chosen to receive sponsorship, including the current darling of the British fashion scene, Christopher Kane.




   Fashion East followed seven years later and was created by Lulu Kennedy to give emerging designers the opportunity to show their work on the runway during London Fashion Week. Each season three womenswear designers are chosen to receive sponsorship by an industry panel.




   Colin McDowell set up fashion Fringe in 2004 and the annual project selects four designers to show their collections at London Fashion Week. Its advisory panel has an impressive line up and has recruited the talents of Anna Wintour, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood.



   British High Street retailers have also been infallible in their support of young designers. Topshop is in its eleventh season as the sponsor of the New Generation scheme and River Island is the sponsor of Graduate Fashion Week for the third year running.



   Whilst the sponsorships schemes and High Street support are effective in promoting the talents of new designers to the international fashion industry, organisations such as Fashion Enter and the Designer Forum provide indispensable advice to young designers on what it really takes to run a fashion business.



{mosimage}    Fashion Enter is based in London and was established to continue the work of the London Fashion Forum, which expired in 2006. As well as a trend prediction service and an extensive directory of industry contacts, Enter, a boutique that showcases the collections of emerging designers, can be found in Croydon’s shopping Mecca, the Centrale Centre.



  The Designer Forum is based in Nottingham and provides a UK-wide support network for the fashion & textiles industry. The organisation runs a recruitment service, which specialises in all areas of design and graduate design positions as well as business support and training.



 {mosimage}  It may be too early to tell what the future holds for the British fashion industry but undoubtedly, our young designers will be well revered and nurtured along the way. The return of Luella Bartley to catwalks of London Fashion Week would seem to confirm that the city is once again a fashionable place to be. So who knows, the current generation of new British designers and the fantastic support available to them could well help to make London the fashion capital of the world.



Watch this space…



By Sophie Kirkwood




New Generation www.londonfashionweek.co.uk/lfwseason/newgensupport/  

Fashion East www.fashioneast.co.uk/

Fashion Fringe www.fashionfringe.co.uk/

Fashion Enter www.fashion-enter.com

Graduate Fashion Week www.gfw.org.uk

London Fashion Week www.londonfashionweek.co.uk




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