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Don't bite the hand that feeds fashion

I should feel pleased – and indeed I am – that the big four fashion capitals have come to an agreement over fashion week datelines and the future of London’s event has been secured, albeit in a slightly curtailed five-day form, from September 2009.

However, I can’t help feeling exasperated by the fact that we found ourselves in a position where London was forced to negotiate with New York, Paris and Milan over this matter in the first place.

Just last week it seemed these three fashion forces were prepared to see London squeezed out of the schedule following New York’s bid to push its dateline back a week after its designers claimed it was staged too early.

New York wouldn’t cut back and Paris and Milan were refusing to budge, which would have left London a paltry four days, exposing it to the risk of being skipped by press, buyers and models, and maybe forcing UK talent to relocate. Perhaps the latter factor partly motivated their intransigence? Who knows, but happily an accord has been reached, following a summit of international industry leaders earlier this week.

It may not have the financial force of the other three, but London – thanks to our excellent colleges, the efforts of the British Fashion Council and schemes such as the Topshop-backed New Gen – is a breeding ground for world-class fashion designers, who often go on to contribute to the success of other fashion weeks by showing at them under their own names, or as heads of international fashion houses. For New York, Paris and Milan to squeeze London out would have been the equivalent of killing the golden goose that feeds them.

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