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Today, Forge Fashion launches, and will help 30 of Waltham Forest’s fashion and textile businesses to thrive sustainably.

Delivered by Creative United in partnership with Waltham Forest Council and The Fashion District, Forge Fashion will provide tailored business support through workshops, one-to-one advice and networking. 

Waltham Forest has a rich heritage of artisans, craft and manufacture. Inspired by this and the urgent need to reduce the negative environmental impact of fast fashion, Waltham Forest Council and the Fashion District have joined forces to make it a place where fashion businesses can thrive. With supportive networks, affordable workspace and business programmes that build resilience and sustainability, we will encourage a connected, diverse and environmentally conscious fashion and textile business community in the borough. 

Forge Fashion forms part of this mission. It will support a mix of new and existing businesses from across the fields of fashion and textiles. Each will gain a better understanding of the strengths in their businesses, the chance to extend their network and create a bespoke action plan for sustainable growth. 

Am I eligible? 

To be eligible for the programme you must: 

  • Be based in Waltham Forest Borough
  • Have been trading for at least 12 months 
  • Operate in fashion or textiles sector, such as fashion or textile design, manufacture, retail, wholesale, jewellery & accessories, beauty, hairstyles, make-up artist, perfumery, fashion photography or consultancy, etc. 

The programme starts in October 2020 and will end in December 2020. 

Applications to join the programme are now open

Application deadline: 18 September 2020

How to Apply

More information about Forge Fashion and how to apply is on Creative United’s website: 

The Launch

To celebrate the launch of Forge Fashion, Creative United will be hosting Instagram live events at 7pm each evening on 20, 22, and 24 July, where they will be joined by special guests from across the industry.  Timings below:

  • 20 July – How to scale up your business w/ Rosie Wolfenden MBE, Tatty Devine
  • 22 July – Fashion business during and post COVID-19 w/ Anna Ellis, Centre for Fashion Enterprise
  • 24 July – Using fash-tech innovation to create sustainability w/ Ryan Yasin, Petit Pli

Each event will start promptly at 7pm. There will also be time for our audience to ask questions to the guests in a live Q&A and to find out more about the Forge Fashion programme. 

#ForgeFashion Instagram Live will be here: @CreativeUnitedUK 

A word from the partners

Sarah Thirtle, the Director of Business Support Programmes at Creative United, said: 

“Building on the successes of our popular business support programme for creative enterprises in Blackhorse Lane – Forge – we are thrilled to be working closely again with Waltham Forest Council on Forge Fashion, and with new partner the Fashion District. 

Enabling businesses to grow, instilling confidence in the people that run them and enhancing the positive social benefits of creative enterprise are at the core of Creative United’s purpose. That’s why, at the heart of Forge Fashion, is the goal to build the skills and capabilities in the borough’s fashion and textile designers and makers so they can become leaders in sustainable business practices.” 

Councillor Simon Miller, Member for Economic Growth and Housing Development at Waltham Forest Council said: 

“We recognise that our borough is home to a diverse number of creatives and small businesses, and we value their innovative, thoughtful and engaging contributions to our community. It is with great enthusiasm that we are launching the Forge Fashion programme with Creative United and the Fashion District, from London College of Fashion UAL, further strengthening our Borough of Culture legacy. 

Our hope is that this initiative will provide local designers with the support needed to thrive, and to shine light on important industry issues such as environmental sustainability. As the programme progresses, we will be eager to see how it inspires and facilitates growth within our local fashion economy.”

Helen Lax, Director of The Fashion District, said: 

“Waltham Forest is alive with creative fashion businesses, emerging and established, that together create a unique fashion story for the Borough. Working with Waltham Forest Council and Creative United, Fashion District is committed to supporting their business development and working towards the ambition of building a connected, diverse and resilient fashion sector to bring innovation and sustainable change to the industry.”