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Recessions can be a boon for business

Jessica Brown

While recessions cause many casualties they also create entrepreneurs, throw up great ideas and improve the shape of the industry. This week Peter Davies, the former boss of one of this recession’s casualties, the Principles chain, unveiled details of his new womenswear venture, while Next founder George Davies’ GIVe project gathered momentum (see p2).

Creating new brands in the current climate is a bold thing to do but some excitement around new labels and new ventures is exactly what the industry needs. The agents and buyers I spoke to at the mainstream Moda exhibition in Birmingham last weekend were all keen to know where the next big brand was coming from, complaining that the over-35s womenswear market has become saturated with traditional brands all doing the same thing. “It’s time to move on,” one industry stalwart told me. However, what to, he wasn’t yet sure as no brand has yet been brave enough to try something dramatic to shift the shape of that particular market.

On a separate note, the entry process for the Drapers Awards 2009 closed last week and I am delighted to report that we received a record number of entries in the 19-year history of the event. It was even more rewarding to receive a record number of entries in any single category for the Best New Business Award, further proof that out of recessions great businesses are born.

The Drapers team will draw up a shortlist and visit some of the UK’s excellent indie retailers. I hope you can join us to congratulate the winners on November 18 at London’s Grosvenor Hotel. Visit for details.

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