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N17 Creative Callings Employer Engagement Session 3: What’s Happening in Fashion Today


The creative industries are growing at more than twice the rate of the economy as a whole and contributes £101.5bn gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy. Almost 1 in 8 businesses in the UK are creative businesses so it makes perfect sense to engage and support those setting up and establishing themselves in this sector.

From the statistics above you can see why Fashion-Enter Ltd (FEL) working with Collage Arts, are so pleased to have been awarded the ‘N17 Creative Callings’ programme for the Tottenham area on behalf of the GLA and the ESF. 

N17 Creative Callings is totally unique to the company and individual. It gives the hardworking company owner a genuine shoulder to lean on and they can tap into tailor made programmes that genuinely support their business to prosper and grow. Co-designed qualifications are also available free of charge too! Ideal for some of the owner makers we have! 

The Employer Engagement seminars are particularly important because they set the macro environment for the SME. It’s a chance to learn from the experts about what’s happening in their chosen sector and hear hard hitting advice with regards to how to stop falling into the pitfalls of business. Prevention is always better than cure.

The Employer Engagement session 3 event on ‘What’s Happening in Fashion Today’ that took place on 11th March 2020, was unfortunately hit by Covid-19 scares with ten people cancelling at the last minute, however those that did attend found the session very informative and helpful. 

The 4-hour agenda included:

10:00 – 10:10 Welcome and Introductions Jenny Holloway / Caren Downie

Ice Breaker

10:10 – 11:00 Macro variables of unsustainable Jenny Holloway

Garment Production today (PP)

11:00 – 12:00 Running an Ethical Factory Jenny Holloway

12.00 – 12:15 Refreshments

12:15 – 13:00 Current trends for Fashion Start-ups Caren Downie

How Finery was set up – case study

13:00- 13:45 Guided factory tour Caroline Ash

13:45-14:00 Q&A and summary Jenny Holloway/ Caren Downie

Fashion is so incredibly difficult at the moment with many press reports stating the decline of the high street.  Recent figures revealed that 16 stores closed their doors every day in the first half of 2019 while only nine opened, resulting in a net decline of 1,234 chain stores on Britain’s high streets according to analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers and high street analysts the Local Data Company. However, our guest speaker Caren Downie, ex-Buying Director of Finery London, ASOS.com and Topshop gave an excellent presentation on how to prepare and launch a brand. 

Caren explained how she and the team product positioned Finery London and established sales of £5m in just one year. However, the insight into what social medial platforms worked and what didn’t was particularly important to the attendees.

There was also another excellent presentation regarding sustainability by Fashion-Enter Ltd CEO Jenny Holloway and the use of SEO metadata words for websites and press too. This was followed by a guided tour of the factory led by Production Director Caroline Ash, which effectively brought bright sustainable and ethical production to light.

This four-hour event over-ran its agenda but the participants were in full flow and fine form. Excellent feedback was received and included: 

“The honesty and firsthand accounts of the industry has been really interesting to hear about. This experience and the advice has been so valuable. Thank-you.” – Kate

“I found out how difficult and complex sustainability is within fashion and how little changes can help with sustainability e.g. printing on both sides of a page.” – Tram

“I found the personal experience the speakers shared allowed for a better and deeper understanding of working in fashion.” – Roseanne

“I have learned about marketing strategies and the importance of finding out about the background and sustainability of fabrics. It was all really helpful.” – Aurea

“Thank-you for authentic feedback as to how the industry works, I have no industry background so this information has been really helpful.” – Tracey

The next N17 Creative Callings events are currently being reviewed due to Covid-19 situation and announcements will be made on the FashionCapital Newsletter each Wednesday. In the meantime you can review and book your place on the next sessions here. If the session is unable to go ahead we will inform those that have booked and reschedule for a later date.

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