The Industry, previously called Fashion Business Club (FBC), was purchased by a company called FARBLACK Ltd, rebranded and re-launched. Can you tell me a bit about that?
Fashion Business Club (FBC) had a great five-year run and it’s now time to grow and expand internationally. The new name gives it wings and we’re already in talks in regards to a second city opening.
FARBLACK Ltd is a creative portfolio company focused on art, music, fashion and film and I am a director of the company, so it was essentially a restructuring and transfer of ownership.
The basic premise is the same. It is a private members group for fashion professionals, who have a minimum of two years working in the industry. We still hold regular networking events that we call ‘Network & Expert’, where we interview industry icons, but there are quite a number of upgrades.
What is new at The Industry that did not exist before at FBC ?
A new website has been designed and developed by a company called All Singing All Dancing who works with the likes of Swarovski CRYSTALLIZED™ - our venue partner. The new site completely integrates many of the functions the existed in isolation previously. Applicants can now apply and pay online, there is an online directory that features a digital ‘business card’ and photo of each of our members – so members can check each other out before events.
A digital magazine is now in place for members and subscribers and there is a dedicated space, IND-TV, for our films that are produced in partnership with Pulse Films.
The format has been modified as well. We used to start our meetings at 3:00pm, but the overwhelming feedback was that it was quite ruinous for someone’s workday, so we’ve moved the start time to 5 :00pm. We also start with the networking, to get people talking and familiar with each other before the interview, which limbers them up to interact more with the discussion, and follow the interview with more networking.
Another new aspect is the meeting structure. We are now holding our ‘Network & Expert’ meetings at Swarovski CRYSTALLIZED™ quarterly, and we will be hosting two master classes per year and are in talks with the V&A as our potential master class venue partner. These events will focus on a wide array of practical business topics geared toward the fashion industry and will include intellectual property, accounting, fundraising, PR supply chain management, sourcing, etc.
Who is in The Industry and who can join?
Our members range from aspiring to world-renowned fashion designers, stylists, production managers, events planners, photographers, CEOs, accountants, manufacturers, PRs, editors, bloggers, illustrators, pattern cutters, solicitors, model agencies and more. We guard our membership base, but can share who a few of our members are, as they sit on our advisory panel and in full view on our website: designer, illustrator and author, Daisy de Villeneuve; VOGUE.COM UK’S editor, Dolly Jones; Matches’ COO, Frances Card; WGSN’s Lauretta Roberts; Bally’s creative director, Michael Herz; and retail consultant, creative director and trend forecaster, Yasmin Sewell.
Anyone who is currently involved in the fashion industry and has at least two years of professional experience on their CV is welcome to apply for membership, and we do have members from all over the globe.
What is the future of The Industry?
As mentioned above, we are discussing and meeting with investors to launch another branch of The Industry, which will most likely be in East Asia.
Kate Nash was The Industry’s guest speaker for the inaugural event at Swarovski CRYSTALLIZED™. What made you choose a musician as the first interviewee?
While music is an auditory art, it is also extremely visual with video and live performance. What and who musicians are wearing is increasingly reported on and discussed. Kate Nash is a huge talent and also an artist who has strong opinions about how she is portrayed, with a firm grip on her own style. The interview, conducted by her stylist, was informative and fascinating. It really shed light on another creative industry that is so closely related to fashion.