The British Fashion Council (BFC) is understood to have moved a step closer to securing the future of London Fashion Week (LFW) after it pitched for a slice of London Mayor Boris Johnson’s tourism budget.
The BFC is said to be close to winning funding from the Mayor of London’s pot of cash set aside to promote the capital as a tourist destination. Sources close to the BFC told Drapers that Johnson recognised that the razzmatazz and publicity LFW’s catwalks and designers create helps to attract tourists to the capital year-round.
The value of the potential funding is unclear, but the BFC will breathe a sigh of relief if it gets confirmed, as expected, by the end of this month. The BFC was previously majority-funded by the London Development Agency [LDA], which was dissolved under the coalition Government. Its last grant from the LDA, which was worth £4.6m over four years, ran out at February’s event. The BFC uses the money to promote and support up-and-coming designers and to create the event at Somerset House on the Strand in central London.
Johnson has been vocal in his support for LFW since his appointment as mayor in 2008 and has provided funding for related projects including the Fashion Fringe competition. In 2009, Johnson splashed out £40,000 on flights to London to ensure 30 international buyers attended LFW, after visitors numbers came under threat because of the recession. In the same year, he opened LFW with BFC chairman Harold Tillman.
BFC chief executive Caroline Rush said talks were ongoing.