LONDON, United Kingdom — Despite the uncertainty of Brexit, London remains one of the most attractive cities to build a career in fashion. Thanks to prestigious institutions such as Central Saint Martins, the Royal College of Art and the London College of Fashion, which contribute a steady stream of emerging design businesses to its eco-system, London has long-held reputation as the emerging design capital of the world.
In 2017, the British Fashion Council awarded over £1 million in bursaries and 10,000 hours of support to emerging design businesses in the capital. From Charles Jeffrey and Grace Wales Bonner to more established names like J.W. Anderson, Craig Green and Erdem, London continues to act as a successful incubator for independent fashion businesses as they seek to grow on a global scale. However the city is now also establishing itself as the tech capital of Europe.
In 2017, venture capital investment into the UK’s tech sector reached an all-time high of £2.99bn, almost double the total invested in 2016, according to data analysed by Pitchbook for lobby group London & Partners. Investors cited the UK’s time zone, talent pool, language and the network of the City’s finance and service providers as the key reasons for its position in Europe. Indeed, the venture capital investment in London was greater than that of Germany, France, Spain and Ireland combined.
From Matchesfashion.com, which was valued at over £1 billion in 2017 when founders Tom and Ruth Chapman sold a stake in the business to Apax Partners, to Farfetch, Jose Neves’ e-commerce titan that could potentially be valued at over £4 billion when it IPOs, London’s fashion tech players are growing. The city’s ability to attract investment in the technology sector acts as a boon for next-generation fashion businesses such as these, which benefit from the growing technology talent pool residing in the city.
What’s more, after an extended transition period, Burberry has appointed both a new chief executive and creative director. The appointments will strengthen the ability of London Fashion Week to attract a global audience of buyers and press. In September 2017, the event attracted over 5000 members of the press from 70 countries. That number will undoubtedly rise for Riccardo Tisci’s debut at Burberry, advantageously benefitting the entire British fashion industry. Indeed, the appointments of Marco Gobbetti as well as Tisci at Burberry are also expected to stimulate British manufacturing, as the house makes good its cited intention of creating a British luxury house capable of competing with Paris’ most venerable brands.
Indeed, despite the challenges presented by the looming spectre of Brexit — which will create significant pressure on supply chains and talent mobility, the UK’s £66billion fashion industry continues to redefine its place on the global stage while nurturing and attracting global talent.
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Course Director: Masters In Fashion Media Practice, Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design - London, United Kingdom
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