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Designers: the Great British fashion barrier

“Super talented, the press is through the roof, but we have a problem. We can’t get into certain stores and the ones we supply, deliveries are late and sell out is poor. Any advice?” This was a question recently posed by a friend who works with a young British designer.

There’s been a campaign over the past couple of years to find financial support for young British talent. From the outside, the problems appear to be financial and the designers are caught in a vicious cycle with no one to turn to for advice when in difficult situations.

I get it – I do – but I’ve heard and read about the same topic over and over, and although the roadblocks designers face are real there is one that I have rarely heard mentioned publicly – certain designers themselves. Going by personal experience, they rarely compromise on fabric selection and trimmings. Most importantly, there is
no creative/commercial balance in the collections, and this makes them inaccessible (the word commercial to certain stage-one designers is like daylight to a vampire).

The majority, but not all, of stage-one designers are purists and are caught up in the PR hype. Unfortunately, by the time they realise what to do to become an attractive investment opportunity, the cameras have stopped flashing, the world has stopped chanting their name and everyone’s moved on to the latest young find.

Advice? Find that balance between creativity, commerciality and accessibility in terms of design, price and retail potential, and if a young, talented British designer happens to be reading this, there’s still time to tweak your collection for autumn 10. If you do, you might just get your own return on investment next year.

  • Gianni Georgiades is commercial director at designer brand John Richmond UK

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