London- Launching a successful brand in today’s economic climate is harder than ever for young fashion designers – which is why events like The British Fashion Council Fashion Trust’s Fashion Network Event come at a pivotal time.
The event, staged at the Future Laboratory headquarters last week, was the first of its kind, created to connect Britain’s top emerging talents with industry leaders, while also giving them the opportunity for partnerships, advice, and brand direction.
Peter Pilotto, Mary Katrantzou, Sojin Lee – Partner at Couture Lab, Todd Lynn, Osman Yousefzada, and Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, were among the guests and speakers in attendance.
‘The biggest challenge for designers now is that they’re trying to build a brand in a very tough economic time,’ said Lee, speaking to LS:N Global. ‘There’s a natural cleansing of businesses. Those that are strong and prepared are lasting, meanwhile even big high street brands are failing. As a young designer you need to ask yourself. ‘if these big behemoths are dying, how do I continue to exist?’. The fundamentals of it are that you have to think small, protect your assets and not grow too quickly.’
A series of round table discussions explored key issues such as branding, how to attract investment, and build relationships.
Lee’s forum was on understanding the importance of meeting consumer need, and creating beneficial partnerships. Lisa Gregg, Vice President at Luxury Products, Lifestyle Marketing & Publishing, spoke about how to reach consumers in a multi-platform, multimedia environment.
Judd Crane, Buying Director at Selfridges, discussed the value of creating relationships with the businesses. Meanwhile, Sian Westermann, Director at Rothschild, advised on how to attract investment opportunities.
Chief Strategy Officer Tom Savigar kicked the event off with a presentation exploring brand image and perception – advising designers on how to adjust their brand to where the position they wish to be.
For Pilotto, the opportunity to meet potential partners was key: ‘It’s a great place to make you contacts and begin new relationships,’ he said.
And, says Rush, it’s never been more important to support London design talent:
‘British fashion is incredibly unique. There’s so much creativity, innovation and drive – particularly now. It’s an exciting time.’