Sir Philip Green has called on international retailers to support the British Fashion Council’s New Gen initiative, sponsored by his Topshop brand, by pledging to buy stock from emerging designers.
Speaking today at the launch of this year’s London Fashion Week, the Arcadia boss announced a further 10 year sponsorship of the New Gen programme and called on retailers to make it a “virtuous circle” by agreeing to buy from the featured designers.
“We are looking for retailers – major international department stores – who would be supportive and why wouldn’t they want to be involved?” said Sir Philip.
He also urged both the industry and the government to support the green shoots of growth being seen within UK manufacturing, confirming that he is exploring the possibility of a second academy, similar to the Fashion Retail Academy in London, to encourage young people into manufacturing as well as retail roles.
Drapers understands that Manchester has been mooted for the second site, and Ed Vaizey, the minister responsible for the creative arts, including fashion, confirmed that talks were going on with senior ministers above him on potential government support.
Sir Philip said: “We already manufacture in the UK but what has happened is that with pricing and speed to market, people want to see if we can make it work in the UK if we have more capacity. It’s still small in context, and you can’t build a factory in 10 minutes, so we have to look at areas that are sustainable.”
He added that government schemes like Enterprise Zones could assist in the task, and confirmed that Arcadia had already upped the quantity of its stock manufactured in the UK.
The BFC’s chairman Harold Tillman officially launched this season’s LFW at the event saying: “Fashion is a very serious employer of young people and we want to attract even more young people. To do that we need to pull together as an industry.”