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BFC creates showcase for pre-collections

Line-up of showrooms and events aims to capitalise on growing popularity of pre-collections for spring 13.

Buyers have heralded the British Fashion Council’s (BFC) plans for a women’s pre-collection schedule as a logical move for UK fashion, as pre-collections make up an increasingly larger portion of seasonal budgets.

The BFC has devised a schedule of designer brands showcasing spring 13 pre-collections from June 18 to 20 to capitalise on the bevy of buyers visiting London for its new menswear showcase, London Collections: Men, which will run from June 15 to 17.

Through a dedicated website, www.londoncollections.co.uk/women, the BFC will highlight events happening in London during the period and will produce a map featuring showrooms for brands selling pre-collections including Burberry and Mulberry.

BFC chief executive Caroline Rush said the event would help promote British brands and could prove commercially valuable for designers as they can arrange appointments with international buyers while in London for the menswear showcase. She added: “It’s a great opportunity to showcase designers selling during that period.”

Rush said the event could evolve with the potential for brands to host exhibitions. The BFC will host a similar schedule for pre-autumn 13 in December.

Marigay McKee, chief merchant at Harrods, said it was a positive change for international buyers and London designers. “The buyers coming to London have a much larger proportion of their budgets in pre-collection. Doing this is about being more commercial.”

UK buyers echoed this, saying pre-collections have become an important part of the buying season.

Judd Crane, director of womenswear at Selfridges, said pre-collections represent the largest part of Selfridges’ seasonal buy and are where the department store is seeing its biggest growth in womenswear.

“The collections are so polished now and with look books available online customers feel like they are buying into a show piece early,” he said.

Crane highlighted Roksanda Ilincic and Alexander McQueen as top picks for pre-spring 13. “It’s great there’s a showcase opportunity for UK designers to show pre in London,” he said.

Stephen Ayres, head of fashion buying at Liberty, said: “[Pre-collections] allow you to get freshness onto the floor more often throughout the year.

“It’s important to give customers a reason to buy with fresh product. [Pre-collections] also give the product a longer selling time.”

Brands on show: June 18 to 20

● Alice by Temperley

● Burberry

● Erdem

● House of Holland

● Issa London

● Matthew Williamson

● Mulberry

● Nicholas Kirkwood

● Nicole Farhi

Paul Smith

● Pringle of Scotland

● Roksanda Ilincic

● Temperley London

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