Published on February 25, 2014 | by Phoebe White


BFC seeks to stop fashion talent from leaving London

Model at the Huishan Zhang show, LFW February 2014

Buyers and fashion executives have praised plans to boost the UK fashion business on the back of a London Fashion Week. [Mary Sommer]

The British Fashion Council (BFC) has set up a five point plan to help emerging London designers and graduates become more commercially viable.

Buyers and fashion executives have praised the venture, to boost the UK fashion business on the back of a London Fashion Week, and applauded its commerciality and incentive to boost revenue for new designers.

With so much top talent coming out of London, including UAL alumni Ryan Lo, Mary Katrantzou and JW Anderson, the BFC has highlighted the importance of keeping the spotlight on the capital city to prevent cash-strapped businesses from faltering and thus stop these designers from moving away to cities such as Paris and New York for better opportunities.

Online magazine Women’s Wear Daily has reported that this is a plan in motion, as this season’s London Fashion Week has seen more buyers in attendance than in previous Fashion Weeks, and the UK fashion industry’s value has risen by 22 per cent to £26 million in five years.

Long-term business

Well-known London-based designer Matthew Williamson told Women’s Wear Daily: “London isn’t just about being a ‘show city.’ Designers are savvy nowadays and they want to build long-term businesses. And in my 17 years, I have never known such a group of independent and intelligent individuals to come together to support and harness business growth. The BFC has created a fantastic structure and recognised that fashion is a business to be reckoned with.”

The BFC has introduced the latest strategy in the five pillar plan to match investors with designers as part of their Fashion Trust. Previous Fashion Trust participants include prestigious shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood.

Investment banker Jonathan Goodwin, who was an early supporter of Jimmy Choo and online retailer Net-a-Porter, joined BFC Chair Natalie Massenet at the launch of this year’s London Fashion Week.


The British Fashion Council has shown strength in its incentive to match designers with suitable investors to achieve success, and recently Goodwin announced plans for an online fashion forum for investors and entrepreneurs, saying: “There’s no reason we can’t produce a Michael Kors. We need to keep the balance between creativity and commerce.”

Ed Vaizey, minister for Culture, Communications, and Creative Industries told Drapers Online: “The British fashion industry is worth tens of billions of pounds every year to the UK economy and is putting this country on the map.”

In June, the BFC will hold a one day, invitation-only forum in London, which the BFC hopes will form relationships, with business growth and investment as the main topics covered. It will be open to British fashion designers, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and politicians.

The BFC also plans to remain constant with updates of information and tutorials on their website specifically tackling tricky topics such as investment, whilst continuing with their annual BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, where the winning designer could win £200,000 towards their business as well as mentoring.



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