Newgen sponsorship is about far more than unearthing flash in the pan names - it’s about nurturing brands with a chance of becoming household names.
When it was announced yesterday that Sister by Sibling, Simone Rocha, Marques’Almeida, J JS Lee and Lucas Nascimento were the winners of Newgen catwalk sponsorship for the spring 14 edition of London Fashion Week, it was odd to see more than one industry type having a moan that the scheme had missed off the ‘new’ part of its name this time around.
But this criticism has missed two important points.
Firstly, it ignores the second part on the name. ‘Gen’, as in generation, implies a longer-term strategy. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and nor are new brands in a fiercely competitive market. Newgen isn’t there to pick up fresh names because someone mentioned them in the George & Dragon once, only to drop them again when the fickle fashion finger of fate has pointed in another direction six months later.
These brands need to be nurtured so they have the best chance of becoming household names in the future, complete with a Designers at Debenhams range, an action figure and possibly a TV show or four. And actually make some decent money.
And therein lies my second point. The winners of this season’s sponsorship may well be known to the likes of you and I, but out in the big wide world to the consumer they’re minnows in the face of brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada and Gucci. They may be medium-sized fish in our pond for now, but it’ll be some time before we need to upgrade the aquarium.