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Let’s hear it for fashion talents’ supporting acts

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime, goes the now pretty hackneyed Chinese proverb.

But while it may be rather overused, it still rings true when applied to the sort of support young designers need in the UK. Next week sees Graduate Fashion Week kick off, one of a significant group of events and organisations that exist to give a leg up to those with potential, skill and drive. For the 2013 edition, the organisers have introduced a mentoring section and it is here that most designers will need help.

Throwing money at any fashion talent is a waste if they don’t know what to do with it. And there’s no better way to illustrate the importance of support instead of cash than the turnout for the Centre for Fashion Enterprise’s (CFE) 10th anniversary last week. Among those in attendance at The Dorchester was a raft of CFE alumni and current London Fashion Week and London Collections: Men mainstays including the Peter Pilotto guys, Louise Gray, Holly Fulton, Erdem, Mary Katrantzou, Agi & Sam, Simone Rocha, Matthew Miller, Eudon Choi and more,
all of whom had stopped by to congratulate director Wendy Malem and her team for the sterling work they do to nurture the stars of the future.

It was notable too that throughout Malem’s speech on the night, the amount of times she mentioned funding could be counted on one hand, as she chose to instead concentrate on the variety of people at companies such as Pentland, Olswang and London College of Fashion who give up their valuable time and resources to educate
those lucky few on the CFE scheme. I only wish there were more just like it…

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