The Fashion District
In March 2018 the Mayor pledged £2.4 million to support London’s fashion industry from the Good Growth Fund. Since then the Fashion District has been gearing up to launch.
The Mayor of London announced investment in four capital projects which will support London’s status as the world’s fashion capital. They will deliver workspace, for designers and makers, high-end studios for growing businesses and bespoke tailoring facilities. The investment will also deliver business support to drive inclusive growth and innovation across the fashion industry.
The four projects awarded funding through the Good Growth Fund are:
• Expansion to Fashioning Poplar, led by Poplar HARCA
• Fish Island Fashion Village Studios led by The Trampery
• London Fashion Fund – loan financing for fashion SMEs
These projects form part of Fashion District, a partnership that includes London College of Fashion, UAL, GLA, Fashion Enter, London Legacy Development Corporation, British Fashion Council, UKFT, amongst others.
Fashion District brings together fashion, technology, business and education to meet, compete, collaborate and innovate. It aims to strengthen London’s position as the global capital of fashion technology, creating legacy and driving economic and social transformation in east London.
Fashion District will be an innovation hub for fashion in east London facilitating better access to loan investment and enterprise programmes for growing businesses through London Fashion Fund. It will encourage skills development with industry to help people into employment, upskill employees and sustain jobs. Together the capital projects will create new fashion workspaces that provide jobs, support businesses and provide training to Londoners.
The Projects in Detail
• Fashion Tailoring Academy (led by Fashion Enter and LB Haringey):
The Tailoring Academy will be delivered through Fashion Enter’s private and public collaboration, the Fashion Technology Academy. This collaboration provides high quality apprenticeship learning and accredited ‘training for industry’ short courses to over 30 retailers. In turn these courses enable the local people of Haringey and pan-London to be upskilled as well as providing employment opportunities with 30-plus retailers, local manufacturers and fashion brands.
• Fashioning Poplar Phase 2 (led by housing association Poplar HARCA):
This is an extension of ‘Fashioning Poplar’, a project converting underutilised garages next to the A12 into affordable design studio space; education facilities and a garment manufacturing and training hub run by London College of Fashion, UAL; a café and community garden. Phase 2 will deliver an additional 31 affordable business units dedicated to fashion start-ups, contributing to 2448sqm of new fashion workspace across Fashioning Poplar.
• Fish Island Village Fashion Studios (led by workspace provider The Trampery):
The fit-out of 7 high-specification studios (441sqm of affordable workspace) for growth-stage fashion designers at Monier Road, supporting promising domestic brands to enter the competitive fashion market. It will cater to those labels that have come through earlier fashion support programmes, such as Fashioning Poplar, and are in a position to become larger job-creators and exporters. The scheme is part of the broader 4,180sqm Fish Island Fashion Campus at the Olympic Park.
• Loan financing to fashion SMEs (led by London Fashion Fund):
Access to finance is one of the primary barriers to entry for many fashion start-ups. Good Growth funding will support a loan-financing scheme connecting retailers, designers and makers with a variety of investors and funding streams. It will be specifically targeted at early-stage fashion businesses with sustainable outcomes, supporting 25 fashion enterprises and leveraging a further £600,000 in private sector investment.
• East Works: Fashion (led by London Legacy Development Corporation and The Trampery):
A comprehensive skills and business development programme across fashion workspaces and businesses within the Lower Lea Valley and Olympic Park, working with industry and delivered by London Legacy Development Corporation, The Trampery. The scheme will work with industry to help 60 people into employment, upskill 100 people, sustain 51 jobs, as well as supporting 155 people and 35 businesses.
Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said: “The Mayor and I are determined to use the Good Growth Fund to challenge preconceptions about how regeneration takes place. This project is a great example of how we can work with local communities on projects in a way that will help ensure the benefits are felt by all.”
Professor Frances Corner OBE, Head of London College of Fashion and Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of the Arts London said: “This investment will drive the growth of London’s fashion technology sector and bring meaningful economic and social transformation to East London. The Fashion District is a place where opportunities are being created and this funding will mean more of that. More workspace, more skills being developed and more businesses being supported. I’m delighted by what this could mean for the future of our fashion industry.”
Jenny Holloway, CEO, Fashion Enter said: “Many thanks to the Mayors GGF and partners for the creation of the UK’s first Tailoring Academy. The Tailoring Academy will create a new generation of highly skilled tailors to be equipped with the finite skills required to reach the exacting standards of master tailors. We can now invest in state of the art machinery that will be available for the industry to up skill. Working in unison with Poplar HARCA, The Trampery and the London Fashion Fund there is now an extensive network of resources for our wonderful creative fashion and textiles sector.”
Steve Stride, CEO, Poplar HARCA said: “The Mayor of London’s investment recognises East London’s rich fashion and manufacturing heritage and the important strategic role this can play in delivering future growth and opportunity across the Lower Lea Valley. For Poplar HARCA, this is about bringing fashion jobs, training and business opportunities back to the East End, which are fully accessible to local people and the wider community. It’s a hugely exciting time for Poplar.”
Charles Armstrong, Founder and CEO, The Trampery said: ‘When our London Fields fashion workspace was forced to close in 2015 we made a public commitment to come back with even better facilities and dedicated business support for London’s most talented emerging labels. Fish Island Studios in Hackney Wick is the first element of what will become London’s largest campus of fashion studios, and a key plank of Fashion District. We’re thrilled GLA is supporting us to provide these foundations for the next generation of London’s fashion industry.’
Professor John French, Chairman, London Fashion Fund: ‘This is a pivotal moment for early stage fashion entrepreneurs in east London. We can provide effective business support and attract private sector funding into their businesses.’
Paul Brickell, Executive Director of Regeneration and Community Partnership at LLDC said: “This partnership is a great example of what can happen when institutions of this quality come together. This is just a taster of what will be created when the Culture and Education District is based on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It will be at the heart of an exciting cluster of innovators, with higher education providers, cultural institutions and businesses spreading benefit beyond the boundary of the Park, and creating high quality training opportunities for local people.”