British Fashion Council seeks industry support for strategy after LFW’s more commercial stance finds favour with buyers.
Buyers have praised plans to boost the UK fashion business on the back of a London Fashion Week that was applauded for its commerciality.
At the launch of LFW this season, new British Fashion Council chairman Natalie Massenet laid out a five-pronged approach for future seasons, focusing on investment, education, innovation, digital and reputation.
The BFC will talk to businesses in the industry to get support for the plan, and Marks & Spencer is the first official partner in a ‘Best of British’ initiative, which focuses on UK manufacturing as well as UK design and retail.
Minister for culture, communications and creative industries Ed Vaizey, whose remit includes fashion, welcomed the move. “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,” he said.
The plan has also been welcomed by industry players. Designer indie Browns’ buying director Laura Larbalestier said: “This is a great plan to help make London even more powerful. We have so much talent here but sadly young designers often don’t have the investment and advice to make their collections commercially viable. This plan should go a long way to helping this change.”
John Lewis head of womenswear Jo Hooper agreed that tackling LFW from a business perspective would be a good move for the entire industry. She added: “If it gets people excited about British fashion then it’s great for both high-end labels and high street fashion.”
John Reid, owner of Bristol designer indie GarmentQuarter, said: “Fashion could potentially be one of our strong export industries, so the commercial side of LFW is really important.
Making the show more commercial will help build investment to find new design talent for the future.”
Liberty managing director Ed Burstell said the BFC had done a great job in making sure buyers from overseas were in attendance this season.
He added: “The BFC’s initiatives have clearly addressed past criticism of LFW - that it wasn’tcommercial. Focusing on these five pillars is a perfect answer.”
Reid said a more commercial LFW would be welcomed. “As a buyer you want to see interesting things on the catwalk but it’s good when you see looks that people would like to buy,” he said.