“London is the greatest fashion capital in the world,” said British Fashion Council chairman Natalie Massenet to celebrate the launch of London Fashion Week, which kicks off in the capital today.
The Net-a-Porter founder, who accepts her Damehood at Buckingham Palace this morning, said she will continue in her role at the BFC for another year.
She called London a capital for fashion and technology, highlighting that this year LFW footage will be shown on 60 outdoor screens around the UK in a move to increase consumer engagement with the event.
“It is exciting to see so much talk of a new focus on the consumer, a re-thinking of the platforms we can use to engage with them and an embracing of change,” she said. “From the outset of my time as Chairman we have been championing opening up our world and sharing the experience - so many designers have supported that vision including Burberry’s recent news that shines such a strong light on our leadership in this field. We are very proud that this started in London.”
She underlined that the fashion industry is worth £26bn to the UK economy and employs 800,000 people.
In a survey conducted by the BFC with 153 designers to benchmark growth, it found that micro businesses have grown by more than 110% in the last three years and are projecting more ambitious growth over the next three years. The BFC has committed to conducting the survey annually to measure development, and has also commissioned a new report on the Value of Fashion, the results of which will be presented at a later date.
The BFC is also launching a new online resource called Designer Fact File, which aims to give business advice and information to designers. More than 2,000 businesses have already registered with the service, Massenet said.
Over the next five days of LFW, over 240 brands will showcase their latest collections via the schedule and in the Designer Showrooms. Alexander McQueen and Mulberry have both returned to the schedule this season.
She concluded: “I believe that London is really the greatest fashion capital in the world, the centre of creative talent, a hub of technological innovation and a vibrant business community - with Fashion Week at its creative and commercial heart - attended by thousands and watched by millions worldwide.”