The UK fashion industry is based in Central London and is largely about PR and marketing, right? Wrong. The shape of the UK fashion industry has been shifting in the past few months and is undergoing a modern renaissance. Digital retailers and fast fashion juggernauts are at the helm of an industry boom in Manchester and other Northern cities. Now, the tide is turning in the capital too with the launch of the East London Fashion District.
East London Fashion District is a hub of businesses, workspaces and skill development programmes. The project is designed to support graduates and local fashion enterprises.
Who’s behind it
The district is a collaboration between the University of Arts London, the London College of Fashion, housing association Poplar HARCA, the London LEgacy development Corporation and the London Fashion Fund. It is supported by the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund, which has invested £2million.
Why you should care
There will be a particular emphasis on technology and creatively-led digital manufacturing as the area seeks to become the ‘Silicon Valley of Fashion’. Cue a focus on sustainability and investment into new technologies. Founders of the project are determined to do things differently with new materials, business models, supply chains and local manufacture to reduce environmental impact. The district also wants to make it easier to study fashion and open fashion business. So it includes a campus of fashion studios and business which offer working spaces at low rents to fashion start-ups. Applications to be one of the first labels to take up residency on campus are open until November 25th.
Not forgetting skills development programmes to foster local pipelines of talent. Future-proofing the industry the threat Brexit poses to the workforce.
East London Fashion District has lofty ambitions to make East London a global capital of fashion and cement the capital’s reputation as a world leader in fashion. But it remains mindful of the challenges the UK fashion industry faces today; Brexit, sustainability and funding. The district’s daily work will be felt at a grassroots level as it supports new endeavours, small businesses and those who are just beginning their fashion careers.