Fashion Enter has won a three-year battle with Croydon council to get business rate relief for its Enter boutique, which showcases up-and-coming designers, thanks to the support of Drapers and British Fashion Council chairman Harold Tillman.
Drapers reported in March that the boutique in Croydon, Surrey, which is operated by student and designer training organisation Fashion Enter, was refusing to pay full business rates because it is a not-for-profit venture.
The council can award up to 80% discretionary rate relief for community groups that are not registered as charities but whose activities are deemed as charitable.
Croydon council initially said the Enter shop did not meet the criteria, but a Drapers article stirred up external support on the basis that the store’s profits are used to support emerging designers and students.
Fashion Enter director Jenny Holloway said: “Harold Tillman read about our plight in Drapers and offered his support. He arranged for us to also have a concession in [Croydon department store] Allders, which he owns.”
The key factor in the reversal of the council’s decision was the addition of a fashion design training suite in the boutique housing 14 computers, 10 donated by Allders and four by the Bank of Scotland.
The Allders concession will operate under Fashion Enter’s Fashioncapital banner. The business also has a store in Barking, Essex, a factory in Haringey, north London, a showroom in Kingston upon Thames in Surrey and an office in Bournemouth, Dorset. The group also owns website www.fashioncapital.co.uk and the Profile fashion show and competition.
“It’s about perseverance. Three years is a long time,” said Holloway. “We also listened to the council and improved our training suite.”