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It’s showtime for the Brits abroad show

Some of the UK’s top young designers were taken on a whistle-stop world tour by the British Fashion Council. We caught up with them in New York.

The crème de la crème of emerging British talent are being given a helping hand to showcase their work abroad thanks to the British Fashion Council.

For spring 12 the likes of JW Anderson, David Koma and Holly Fulton were invited to join the BFC’s London Showrooms programme on its global tour, alongside special guest designer Marios Schwab.

The London Showrooms originally started exhibiting designers’ work in Paris before extending to New York, which is where Drapers caught up with it. The programme also stopped in LA and Hong Kong for the first time this season.

According to Antonio Fiengo, who works on international projects at the BFC, each city has something different to offer the designers.

“Paris still has the main sales focus, as budget-wise it makes the most sense [for the buyers]. It’s earlier in the season and that’s where stores do the majority of buying generally,” he says. “New York we see as an opportunity for the press to see the ranges more closely and also for private orders.”

So what about the most recent additions – Hong Kong and Los Angeles? “Hong Kong hasn’t been hit by the recession so it is great to introduce the designers to the market,” says Fiengo. And it was in Los Angeles that a visit from Twilight star Kristen Stewart’s stylist resulted in two high-profile events at which the actress wore British designer Marios Schwab.

James Long showed his womenswear collection for the second season at the showrooms and picked up key stockists including high-end stores Opening Ceremony and Curve in New York and LA, and Penelope in Brescia, Italy.

Holly Fulton was encouraged by the Hong Kong extension: “I sell a lot in Hong Kong and having a presence really makes a difference.”

With the BFC’s innovative thinking and global reputation opening doors for the best of British design, don’t be surprised to see more stops added to future tours. 

Brits abroad

Marios Schwab

Kristen Stewart wore Marios Schwab to the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in LA.

Simone Rocha

Rocha picked up new stockists Dover Street Market in London, Colette in Paris and IT in Hong Kong this season.

JS Lee

JS Lee with a model wearing one of her best-selling vests. The designer’s main markets are Italy, Australia and Japan but Dover Street Market is also a stockist.

Louise Gray

It’s the designer’s fifth season with the Showrooms and she picked up new stockists in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Holly Fulton

Holly Fulton’s silk print dress on the catwalk and in the showroom. Fulton acquired department store Jeffrey in New York for spring 12. Italy and Hong Kong are two of Fulton’s biggest markets.

JW Anderson

The spring 12 show was the designer’s second womenswear range following an acclaimed menswear line.

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