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Emerging Designers Graduate from Evo Fashion With a Showcase at The Conduit

On Wednesday 3rd July, the first cohort of fashion brands and designers graduated from our Evo Fashion programme, delivered in partnership with Evo Learning, at a special industry showcase at The Conduit.

‘I want to say a big congratulations to our Evo designers—the first cohort to attend our Evo Fashion business programme—who are showcasing their outstanding products, garments, and accessories in the room tonight,’ says Helen Lax, Director of Fashion of District, onstage at the Manufacturing Futures 2024 Awards Supper. ‘The programme was designed to help businesses become more robust, focusing on all aspects of their operations, including finance, production, distribution, and product.’

Looking around the room at The Conduit, where mannequins draped in beautiful prints boldly catch the eye and rails displaying everything from chunky knitwear, summer dresses, and streetwear, to fun accessories, inclusive underwear, and luxury leather shoes are being perused by attendees, one can’t help but admire the wealth of talent showcased by the Evo Fashion designers. It’s not hard to feel optimistic about the future of the fashion industry with brands like these emerging. 

Delivered in partnership with Evo Learning, a training subsidiary of The Trampery, as part of London & Partners’ Early Stage Grow Programme funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, Evo Fashion delivers an experiential programme for emerging brands that takes a holistic approach to business strategy, helping them drive growth while also integrating sustainability into every aspect of their businesses.

Designed to fit in with work commitments and delivered by experts, the programme consisted of a two-day intensive launchpad and four full-day masterclasses which focused on different aspects of learning, including environmental and social governance, exploring new business models, production and innovation, sustainable growth and investment, finance and business planning, and founder wellbeing, leadership and impactful teams. Peppered in amongst the sessions and masterclasses, there were panels and talks, tailored 1-2-1 mentoring, three peer-to-peer learning workshops, a creative photoshoot, and tonight’s presentation at Fashion District’s Manufacturing Futures 2024 Awards Supper to a room full of investors, brands, startups and innovators.

Selected by a stellar judging panel including Vanessa Podmore, Founder of Podmore Consulting; Yvie Hutton, Director of Design Relations and Membership at the British Fashion Council; Charles Armstrong, CEO of The Trampery, and Helen Lax, Director of Fashion District, our 15 participants were chosen based on their potential for business success and their commitment to integrating sustainability into their ventures. 

The first Evo Fashion cohort included: Anciela, Asmuss, BEEN London, Clara Chu, Colèchi, Everyday Phenomenal, Fashion Meets Music, Isla de Gar, Kyle Ho, Mirla Beane, NEW STANDARD, OMNISS, Percy Langley, Pomi and Seeds, and ZERØ London. 

Speaking with Tukiya Mutupa, Founder of Pomi and Seeds, about the programme, she says, ‘I found the course really educational and practical. There aren’t a lot of programmes that help sustainability-focused fashion brands. This is the only one I’ve seen that’s fashion focused. I’ve been on learning programmes before that focused on wider business perspective development, but Evo Fashion was so comprehensive. We covered everything from manufacturing, materials, and product, to hearing from industry leaders and receiving tailored feedback in 1-2-1 sessions. It was amazing.’ 

Emma Garner, Founder of Isla De Gar, echoed this sentiment. ‘It’s been so valuable,’ she tells me. ‘I’ve been growing my brand organically, but I haven’t put any systems in place and that’s what this course has enabled me to realise. I come from a design background and started out as a designer and maker, so I didn’t really have any kind of goals or plans – I was just obsessed with bags! When I heard about Evo Fashion and its focus on business growth, finance, and sustainability, I realised it was the perfect fit for me. I liked that the programme offered tailored guidance with personalised 1-2-1 sessions and I found the marketing and financing days so useful. Those areas aren’t my forte, but I’ve now realised those are the things I need to hone in on.’

‘What we loved about the Evo Fashion programme was how holistic the content was,’ says Lizzy Lambie, Co-Founder of Fashion Meets Music. ‘There was a lot about personal wellbeing, and for us as a brand that’s really important. Hearing from bigger brands, for example Primark, was also useful. It’s interesting to hear from different kinds of brands and how they’re implementing sustainability into their businesses. We may be SMEs, but it all trickles down to us at the end of the day.’ 

Clara Chu, multidisciplinary artist and designer, says the course provided her with numerous insights. ‘We discussed the vision for our brands in Vanessa Podmore’s sustainability session, and I came away pondering how to make truly impactful change. After Stuart Balmer’s finance and investment session, I thought about how to keep my business afloat without going bankrupt. Emily Bingley’s marketing and communications session made me consider how to effectively communicate my brand’s message to the public. The course was well-rounded, bringing together various perspectives. Now, it’s time to follow their advice and take the next steps.’

We can’t wait to follow these fifteen brands’ journeys. Stay tuned to hear about Evo Fashion’s second cohort soon!

All images: Christian Sinibaldi

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