Harold Tillman, chairman of London Fashion Week organiser the British Fashion Council (BFC), will stay in the role through to the crucial 2012 Olympics year and will cajole retail leaders to join him in pressing the Government to urgently address plummeting consumer confidence.
Speaking from the front row of the Temperley London catwalk show on Sunday, Tillman said the BFC had requested he stay beyond the standard three-year chairman’s tenure to ensure stability ahead of the Olympics in London in 2012.
Tillman, who has transformed the profile of LFW since he took the chair in 2008, said there would be huge potential to promote British fashion around the Olympics.
When pressed on high street trading since early February, Tillman replied “What trade?” and said he wanted to rally retailers to talk to minister for culture Ed Vaizey about relaying more positive messages to reboot consumer confidence.
He said: “It’s not about the cuts, more about the way the cuts have been messaged. The Government could do a lot [to help retailers and consumer confidence] by better explaining exactly how the cuts will and won’t affect people in real terms.”
It remains unclear whether Vaizey will pledge financial support for LFW for September.
Meanwhile, Tillman warned government cuts would herald a “difficult” year for the BFC. Ironically, this week’s event was one of the best attended for years. LFW welcomed several thousand visitors, including a record number of US buyers.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s wife Samantha Cameron hosted two receptions for the industry at Downing Street as well as attending several catwalks in her new role as BFC ambassador.