The British fashion industry is worth £21 billion to the economy; exports account for nearly £4.bn worth of clothing and textiles a year. Fashion really matters and the UK is good at it! Overseas buyers look for the heritage and luxury lines produced by classic and quintessentially British names like Burberry, Mulberry and Paul Smith, along with high end textile producers like Johnstons of Elgin, famed for their cashmere. British designers are snapped up by overseas fashion houses. For example, Stella McCartney worked for Chloé before she set up her own label. In Britain, the high street is always on-trend, whether the store is John Lewis or Top Shop. It’s essential that the industry gets support, which is where The British Fashion Council has a vital role to play.
The British Fashion Council is crucial in promoting British fashion at home and overseas, so its London Fashion Week events are important. Last year, the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympic and Paralympic Games made London the most exciting place in the world to be. The BFC exploited this with its Britain Creates show, a spectacular collaboration between fashion designers and artists. What of the year ahead?
London Collections: Men
January is the month for men’s fashion with London Collections: Men taking the centre stage. The events aim to display the very best of British, as in Savile Row tailoring, as well as the work of new designers. Designers’ work can be seen at The Seven Dials Pop-Up shop and at Mr Porter.Com. Both will show work by Matthew Miller, amongst others.
February is London Fashion Week
The 2013 Autumn/Winter collections will be previewed from 15th-19th February. Established names will be showcasing, including Strictly fan Julien Macdonald, Clements Ribeiro, (favoured by Adele), Jasper Conran, John Rocha, Matthew Williamson. All these designers produce both couture and diffusion ranges, catering to both ends of the fashion market. Exciting new names showing are Lucas Nascimento, palmer//harding and Sophia Webster. Electronic Sheep will no doubt show some inspiring knitwear, Lola Rose fun jewellery, and French Sole eminently wearable shoes. Sponsorship by ebay fashion shows the increasing importance of online fashion shopping, both directly from stores and through outlets like Net-A-Porter, ASOS, Amazon and ebay.
The future of British fashion
The designers of tomorrow will also be present at London Fashion Week. The London College of Fashion will present collections from the brightest and best of the year’s graduates. Fashion East, specialising in presenting the new, will be showcasing designers Claire Barrow, Maarten van der Horst and Ryan Lo. Central Saint Martins will also take part. The CSM graduate show in December 2012 was innovative as ever, so this presentation will be eagerly awaited.
The British Fashion Council will be previewing Spring/Summer fashion for 2014 at the second British Fashion Week of the year, from September 13th – 17th. The dates have been confirmed but no further details are available at present.
The British Fashion Awards
The 2012 British Fashion Awards were presented in London last November. Designer of the Year was Stella McCartney and Manolo Blahnik received the award for Outstanding Achievement in Fashion. No doubt the 2013 event will provide a similar guide to Who’s Who in the fashion world.
With Britain’s economy still in recession, fashion has a huge part to play in creating jobs and profits in both manufacturing and retail. The truly fashion conscious will keep an eye on other, unofficial events to see what the trendsetters are wearing. Film premieres, society weddings, awards ceremonies and events of the Season, for glamour. A walk down the high street for the edgy, eccentric looks for which British fashion is rightly famous.