“British fashion is serious business,” said Theresa May. The British Prime Minister was addressing a group of guests from across the industry who had gathered at No 10 Downing Street on Tuesday for the now traditional cocktail reception to mark the end of London Fashion Week. And indeed, British fashion is a force to be reckoned with. Last year, it contributed £32.3 billion to the UK economy, a 5.4 per cent increase on 2016, and the industry also currently supports 890,000 jobs, employing almost as many people as the financial sector.
Released last week, the economic figures demonstrate that despite challenging times on the UK high street the fashion industry continues to grow, with British Fashion Council Chief Executive Caroline Rush noting in particular that UK designers were going “from strength to strength” globally. Recognizing the need to champion this important asset and support local talent, Downing Street also played host to a more formal roundtable earlier on Tuesday, to discuss and formulate an initiative to foster creative entrepreneurship.
Carmen was among those invited to participate in the meeting, which was attended by a select group of entrepreneurs, cultural leaders, investors and professional advisers, including Carolyn Dailey, founder of Creative Entrepreneurs, which provides a much-needed support system for creative individuals, Ajaz Ahmed, founder and CEO of creative innovation agency AKQA, Matt ‘Mills’ Miller, co-founder of ustwa, the digital agency and games studio, and Alice Black, Director of the Design Museum.
First on the agenda was an awareness campaign. With the official support of No 10, the initiative is scheduled for launch early next year with a reception at the London residence, to be supported by a summit and ongoing exhibition. Also discussed was the need for a resources hub, which is currently in the early planning stages.
“For years, London Fashion Week has showcased not just the big well-known names in British fashion, but also the often brilliant up and coming talent, and I want to see us continue this success,” said Theresa May during her cocktail reception speech. “I want Britain to continue being a place where talent is nurtured and supported, and where fashion can thrive and do business.” And it's hoped that the Carmen-supported entrepreneurship initiative will help realize this vision.