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Portas to support talent panel ahead of Stratford City

Westfield, the shopping centre developers, has joined forces with retail guru Mary Portas to launch an initiative to support emerging design talent in east London, ahead of the opening of its Stratford City shopping centre in 2011.

Westfield said it was looking at the possibility of offering up-and-coming talent shop units or an online selling portal to help build its reputation as a supporter of the future of retail. The project is called Studio East.

Portas will head up a panel of experts including Erin O’Connor, designer Roland Mouret, artist Tracey Emin and designer Tom Dixon who will award £10,000 commissions to young designers, both in fashion and outside of the sector, to work on projects for the shopping centre such as designing its concierge uniform. Winners will also be mentored by the panel.

Westfield UK & Europe managing director Michael Gutman said: “Westfield is a global innovator in retail. The talent of the next generation helps keep us in that position. Studio East is a mark of our commitment to the future of retail, and our passion for east London. Westfield Stratford City will be a dynamic retail and leisure destination. This is an unrivalled proposition.”

Portas said: “I’m very happy to be part of this project initiated by Westfield Stratford City. It’s a brilliant idea to cultivate new talent.”

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