London mayor Boris Johnson has unveiled plans to build a £3.9m fashion hub in the capital.
Fashioning poplar site map
Fashioning Poplar will be based in east London and will include commercial studios, a fashion business space, manufacturing unit, technology accelerator and a public café, events space and outdoor area.
It will be built on 21,500 sq ft of under-used land and garages by the A12 motorway.
The project is a partnership between the London College of Fashion and wider University of the Arts London, and housing association Poplar HARCA.
The mayor’s London Regeneration Fund will provide £1.8m of the investment for Fashioning Poplar, with match funding taking the total to £3.9m.
Work will start shortly and the hub is expected to open in autumn 2017, creating 40 full-time jobs.
UAL is building a new campus for the LCF within the “Olympicopolis” scheme on the nearby Stratford Waterfront in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. When it opens in 2021, it will bring together LCF’s 6,500 students and staff for the first time in its 100-year history.
Frances Corner, head of LCF and pro-vice chancellor of UAL, told Drapers the intention is to create an “east London fashion cluster”.
“We have been talking about how to bring long-term employment to east London. [Poplar] seemed to be an ideal location. We have been working with Poplar HARCA on delivering workshops there for a while.
“It’s more affordable, so London Fashion Week designers could be based there, as well as students setting up their own businesses and hopefully a new manfucturer – turning it into an area that reflects the needs of the industry as a whole. East London has a great heritage for fashion.
“We’re going to be moving 5,500 students, plus staff, to Stratford. We want to use that opportunity to think about the possibilities for developing the fashion industry within London, and how it networks with the rest of the UK and the world.”
Several other universities, including Loughborough, have opened bases on or near Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in recent years, while University College London is set to open a second campus there in 2018. “Students will be able to collaborate with each other,” pointed out Corner.