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New York follows Londonís lead as investment in new fashion talent pays off


With London Fashion Week underway, schemes backed by the Mayor of London through the London Development Agency are playing a significant role in helping young designers develop their businesses, such as Louise Goldin, who is showing on Sunday.

The directional knitwear designer is winner of this yearís British Fashion Councilí Fashion Forward scheme, which has received LDA funding. Meanwhile the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, which the LDA has been supporting since 2003, is now seeing its pioneering work being replicated in New York by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

London Fashion Week contributes an average £100 million to Londonís economy and the Mayor wants to ensure London maintains its position as one of the great, certainly the most innovative, design capitals in the world.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:

íWhatever else London is, it is free spirited and almost wildly dynamic. It is a city where boundless imagination and creative talent emerge from our colleges, and out of leftfield, onto the catwalks and into stores around the world. We have just published a report that shows how important fashion and other creative industries are to Londonís success Ė and will continue to be as our economy emerges from the recession. That is why I am committed to supporting Londonís creativity through skills development and as part of our ongoing economic recovery action plan.í

The GLA Economics report Londonís Cultural and Creative Economy shows the capital is home to around 800,000 creative jobs Ė one in every six. London and the Greater South East are the dominant focus for the UKís creative industries, with 30 per cent of all creative employee jobs located in London, and 57 per cent in the Greater South East. These figures reinforce why it is so important to find ways to support for the creative sector, which like others has been affected by the economic downturn.

The Centre for Fashion Enterprise is based at the London College of Fashionís Mare Street site. Its experienced team challenges some of Londonís most talented new designers to develop their ideas, as well as offering studio space, cutting rooms and one to one mentoring. It offers business support, connections to buyers, public relations support, provides access to high-level industry intelligence and offers leverage to finance and routes to market that are important to commercial success. It has been able to offer to assist around 100 businesses, as well as creating and safeguarding around 40 jobs.

The goal is to help designers become self-supporting, household names and the centreís alumni include Erdem, Basso & Brooke, Marios Schwab, Richard Nichol and Manish Arora. Its two-year Venture Programme has been so successful that the Council of Fashion Designers of America is introducing a similar designer incubator programme, an indication of the success London is having in nurturing new talent.

Erdem Moralioglu, also a previous Fashion Forward winner, says:

íThe Centre for Fashion Enterprise provided the support I needed to start building a name for my business and create a brand.í

Erdemís collection is now being sold in high-end stores in the UK, Europe and the United States.

Wendy Malem, Director of the Centre for Fashion Enterprise commented:

íThe support from the London Development Agency brought together other organisations active in the designer fashion economy to work together and maximise the economic impact. We now have a strong London network to ensure these designers have great global influence and incredible futures, and will continue to demonstrate a return on this investment. London rightly continues to be the catalyst for the creative fashion industry and deserves to be invested in.í

Lurene Joseph, Group Director Communications and Marketing at the London Development Agency says:

íOur investment in fashion has always been about supporting Londonís young talent. The Centre for Fashion Enterprise has been pivotal in achieving this. In the last few years we have seen the CFE forge its place in Londonís fashion community, not only helping designers to achieve their goals but supporting small businesses in this innovative sector.í


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