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London's East End 'fashion district' gains £2m funding

Manufacturing projects across London’s East End have gained £2m investment from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund regeneration programme, to fund a new collaborative scheme.

The bid forms part of an industry collaboration behind a cluster, called The Fashion District, which will launch this autumn. The partnership comprises 13 bodies including: London College of Fashion; Poplar Harca; Greater London Authority; the British Fashion Council; the UKFT and Westfield London.

The Fashion District aims to become ”a global hub of fashion technology for London” by helping to grow fashion technology and manunfacturing businesses.

The investment, which was secured through a bid from the London College of Fashion, will be shared out among a host of fashion projects across London’s Poplar, Bow and Hackney Wick areas.

The bid, called the Lower Lea Threads, will leverage another £4m of non-public funding for the projects.

It will deliver a combination of workspace, skills development programmes and financing initiatives aiding fashion entrepreneurs, students, local community groups, businesses and employees.

This will include an extension of manufacturing and design initiative Fashioning Poplar, led by housing association Poplar Harca.

The second phase of development, expected to open in spring 2019, will add 31 affordable business units dedicated to fashion start-ups, contributing to 26,350 sq ft of new workspace across the hub.

The investment will also go towards fitting out seven affordable studios spanning 4,750 sq ft at Monier Road, for up-and-coming fashion designers. Works are expected to complete in September.

The funding will additionally be used to finance loans for 25 small-to-medium fashion businesses, and to help 60 people in the fashion industry into employment, upskill 100 people, sustain 51 jobs, as well as supporting 155 people and 35 businesses as part of a skills and business development programme called East Works: Fashion. These are expected to debut in autumn 18.

Professor Frances Corner, head of London College of Fashion and pro-vice chancellor at UAL, said: “This investment will drive the growth of London’s fashion technology sector and bring meaningful economic and social transformation to East London.

“The Fashion District is a place where opportunities are being created and this funding will mean more of that. More workspace, more skills being developed and more businesses being supported.”

Last week not-for-profit organisation Fashion Enter secured £430,000 from the same fund to develop a tailoring academy in north London, where it will train more than 600 people a year.


The Fashion District: Participating organisations in full

London College of Fashion - UAL
Poplar Harca
Greater London Authority
London Legacy Development Corporation
British Fashion Council
The Trampery
The London Fashion Fund
Westfield London
Here East
Hackney Walk
Newham College of Further Education


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