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BFC secures funding for trade missions to China

The British Fashion Council (BFC) has scored a sponsorship deal enabling it to take trade missions of designers to China and Hong Kong to help them do business in the emerging markets.

The China/Britain Fashion Alliance, a joint initiative between the BFC, the Beijing International Brand Management Centre and the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC), will promote British fashion in the markets. Designers must pass a screening process to take part.

The first mission, this October, has been sponsored by supply giant Li & Fung, with the second funded by the Chinese government. Each mission is likely to visit a different location, for example Shanghai and Beijing.

BFC chairman Harold Tillman, who brokered the deal with the Chinese contingent in London last week and who has worked with suppliers in the Chinese and Hong Kong markets for more than 40 years, said: “Basically we will have the ability to help our designers and our brands into these markets, be that through licences, franchises, or retail partnerships. It will also help our designers, who often have smaller production runs, lock into Chinese production.”

The BFC has also established relationships with Chinese associations to aid further collaborations.

China is seen as a key growth area for many retailers and brands. Luxury brand Burberry, premium womens­­wear chain Karen Millen and Swedish fast-fashion chain H&M are among those earmarking China as an important market for expansion.

The UK Luxury Benchmark Survey, published in collaboration with Ledbury Research in June, found that 41% of those brands surveyed already operated in China and a further 34% planned to do so at some point this year.

In a separate development, the BFC is offering all London Fashion Week designers the opportunity to take advantage of live streaming in a new partnership with video rights and distribution system Rightster.

Publishers, designers, brand sponsors and advertisers will be able to use video screening technology to showcase live events or use video on demand at London Fashion Week, whether it is on their own websites or on sites such as Facebook.

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