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Fashion District has teamed up with A New Direction at The Good Growth Hub,  to launch the STEP programme for its fifth year. We are seeking fashion sector employers to join the collective of industry changemakers who can provide opportunities for young creatives aged 18-30 from east London.

STEP is a year-long shared internship programme with a mission to build collaboration between talented young Londoners and creative, cultural and tech businesses, to increase representation and enable access to careers. 

Over the last five years STEP has worked with companies such as, Nicholas Daley, The Face, BBC, Bow Arts, East London Dance, UAL London College of Fashion, UCL Culture, Sadler’s Wells, V&A and Worldwide FM, to support new talent in their teams.

This year, the STEP programme is growing to support 35 placements across a wider range of sectors, including fashion and design. We will be developing a specific strand with leading fashion industry experts, nurturing the industry leaders of the future. Apart from the internship itself, the young people also receive pre-employment training, workshops and masterclasses, mentoring and take part in a peer group project.


We are seeking fashion focused employers to host either 6-month or 12-month entry-level placements from June 2022.

Placements could be offered in a range of departments and may include experience in Photography, Image Retouch, Data Analytics & Trend Forecasting, Customer Insights & Analysis, Wholesale, Buying & Merchandising, Business Development, Marketing & Sales, Finance, Coding, Web Development, UX/UI, Materials Innovation, Sustainability.

Businesses of all sizes are welcome with bursaries available for SMEs (around £3k to £6K for a 12-month role).

“Paid internship programmes are so important as they give you real world experience on the job and that’s truly priceless. You get a real feel for the company and are treated as one of the team.”

Cassandra Joseph, Former STEP Intern


Support for employers will include shared recruitment processes, advice on the development of the training placement, and advice on creating inclusive working cultures. An employer network of line managers and senior leaders will also share learning and support each other on their journey.

If your business is interested in getting involved we’d love to start a conversation with you before the end of January. We aim to confirm employer involvement, funding, and job descriptions by the end of February 2022. There is an expression of interest form here or just e-mail and we will contact you.

More information about the programme can be found here & here.

A Tour of the Fashion District Film

Our new film, from Deadline Communications, showcases London’s bright and bold designer talent, in the places and spaces of the Fashion District – Hackney, Haringey, Newham, Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets. The film is currently playing on the big screen at London Stadium in the Queen Elizabeth Park so make sure to look out for it! Here we take you across the Fashion District and spotlight the sensational designers who bring our film to life.

Let’s start with designer brand CIMONE, whose incredible pieces are seen against the backdrop of The Royal Docks in Newham, near to The Silver Building, at a growing home for business and culture in east London. Find out more about The Silver Building here.

CIMONE is an inclusive ready-to-wear brand from Creative Director Carli Pearson who says she wants it to feel like a heritage brand reawakened for a modern society. For Carli, the aim is to create pieces that are loved and cherished for years to come and can be passed on from generation to generation, her intention is to achieve sustainability through thoughtful, considered buying and investment.

Photography: Graham Cann. Designer: CIMONE

CIMONE is based at one of Arbeit Studios’ east London premises in Lea Bridge Road. Arbeit Studios also run a dedicated fashion hub in Leyton Green in collaboration with the Fashion District. Leyton Green Studios specifically provide affordable creative workspaces, and an onsite gallery/selling space, for fashion start-ups and creatives. So if you’re a fashion or textile designer in need of a space to work, take a look at their website linked above.

Next up, Nigerian born designer IYA₦U, whose vibrant collection pops against the urban landscapes near Poplar Works.

Another space in the Fashion District dedicated to fashion makers, Poplar Works comprises over 40 workspaces for fashion businesses at a range of sizes and prices, and the manufacturing unit, Making for Change, with classes, workshops and training programmes for the community.

Within the Fashion District film, IYA₦U’s vivid colour pallet and unique prints illustrate the designer’s transcultural identity. She merges her Nigerian roots with her British upbringing – rebelling against the traditional rules of fashion. She describes her brand as “the first of its kind and the beginning of a new generational vanguard of African creatives.”

Photography: Graham Cann. Designer: Rahemur Rahman

Another of London’s talented young designers showcased in the film is Rahemur Rahman. Rahemur’s texturally rich designs are showcased in the studio at Fashion Enter.

Fashion for Good connects brands, producers, retailers, suppliers, non-profit organisations, innovators and funders to work together in their shared ambition to make the fashion industry a force for good. By providing inspiration and iFashion Enter is another of the Fashion District spaces where makers can improve their skills and pick up new techniques. This social enterprise, based in Haringey, offers a wide range of teaching services within The Tailoring Academy and The Fashion Technology Academy. You can also find sampling, grading and production services within The Factory and Fashion Studio; both are ethical and sustainable alternatives for the manufacturing of fashion and textiles.

Rahemur Rahman focuses on the sustainable production of artisanal textiles. He pulls cultural references from South Asia and the UK and says that his aim is to decolonise craftsmanship through fashion design, whilst creating spaces for underrepresented voices in luxury fashion. Rahemur was also one of the first designers to reside at Poplar Works.

Photography: Graham Cann. Designer: Patrick McDowell

Finally, we see a designer who is currently making waves across the industry – Patrick McDowell. Patrick’s label is a sustainable luxury brand and, in our film, his striking pieces are seen against the backdrop of the canal, alongside The Trampery Fish Island Village.

Once complete, The Trampery Fish Island Village campus will be Europe’s largest fashion campus – created in collaboration between Peabody Trust, The British Fashion Council & London College of Fashion. The campus will play an important role in helping emerging fashion brands within the district become more sustainable. It will house onsite eco fashion experts and run an ongoing programme of sustainability focused events – so keep an eye out for opportunities to get involved! Alongside the dedicated fashion facilities, Fish Island Village will provide over 30 studio spaces for local creatives, at affordable rents.

Patrick McDowell illustrates the value of sustainable practices in luxury fashion and is a strong advocate for reducing fashion’s global impact. His pieces are crafted from reclaimed fabrics and ethically produced materials from the likes of Burberry and Swarovski.

That rounds up our whistle-stop tour through the Fashion District film! We hope that you get a chance to see it on the big screen. If you are a fashion maker looking for a space to work or learn, check out the places featured in the film at the links below:

And find out more about our showcased designers here:

IET TV with Worn Again and Fashion for Good

The IET, Fashion District’s sponsor of Manufacturing Futures 2021, is celebrating 150 years of innovation this year and has broadcast a series of TV programmes in honour of the anniversary. Covering an array of compelling topics, it explores how engineers are finding sustainable solutions to global issues, including the digital future and sustainability in fashion.

Helen Lax, Fashion District’s Director, is part of The Green Edition in discussion with Rory Hugill, from Fashion For Good and Nick Ryan from Worn Again. Interviewed by Danielle George, MBE, President of the IET and co-host, Bobby Seagull, the panel discuss what the industry can do to reduce the impact our wardrobes have on the climate, including supporting innovative start-ups, and the challenges of re-capturing raw materials from textile waste. 

Spotlight on Worn Again

Worn Again Technologies focuses on end-of-use textiles – and solves the issues presented by non-reusable textiles made from pure polyester and polyester/cotton blends. Their advanced recycling technology recaptures raw materials from these textiles and is able to separate, decontaminate and extract polyester and cellulose from them, therefore putting sustainable resources back into production supply chains. Worn Again’s technology encourages a circular flow of resources; reducing the use of virgin raw materials in the industry.

How does the fashion industry need to change?

 “We need an holistic approach, innovative processes and ingenious engineering to re-tool the textile supply chain to be fit for purpose in the 21st Century. From processing feedstock in huge quantities, reclaiming resources via new technologies for processing and manufacturing, to enabling closer to market production, both geographically and in terms of timelines – all to reduce over-production and CO2 from extensive shipping and keep resources in circulation.”

Nick Ryan, Worn Again.

Nick Ryan

With a background of over 20 years in the apparel business, Nick has gained a wide experience in sourcing, product design, research and development, and international sales. He has also worked with a number of brands and retailers, including Nike, Puma, Timberland, M&S and Intersport amongst others. Nick is passionate about innovation and the need to go beyond mere compliance to bring about sustainable and socially responsible trade.

Fashion for Good

Fashion for Good connects brands, producers, retailers, suppliers, non-profit organisations, innovators and funders to work together in their shared ambition to make the fashion industry a force for good. By providing inspiration and information, Fashion for Good aim to revolutionise the fashion industry so that people, companies and the planet can flourish together. In 2017 Fashion for Good selected Worn Again to participate in their Scaling Programme which provided access to a network of industry experts and business advisors and helped them to accelerate the development of their innovative technology.

“By bringing together brands, supply chain partners and innovators in a pre-competitive space we’re able to create an environment that champions collaboration, encourages shared learnings and ultimately helps to scale disruptive technologies across the value chain”

Rory Hugill, Fashion for Good.

Rory Hugill

Rory Hugill is an Innovation Analyst at Fashion for Good. Rory is responsible for scouting, screening and scaling innovators in the areas of sorting, textile recycling and plastics across the fashion industry. He works with innovators, brands and other key stakeholders to drive disruptive change across the industry.

To find out more about Worn Again visit their website here

To find out more about Fashion for Good visit their website here

To watch IET TV – The 150 Show on Demand click here

Fashion Circle: Sustainably Made

Join us at Fashion Circle, an event series presented by the Fashion District and The Trampery for fashion businesses to learn and develop their network. We are delighted to host the second in the series, during ReLondon’s Circular Economy Week, to shine a spotlight on some critical issues for sustainable manufacturing.

Flora Davidson, Founder of SupplyCompass, will join us to provide insights into sustainable production practices, and ways in which technology can play a key role in enabling better, more collaborative and more sustainable relationships between brands and their supply chain partners. Diana Kakkar, of MAES London, will then share her expertise as the founder of a luxury manufacturing studio that focuses on ethical manufacturing and creates closer links between designers and manufacturers.

Image courtesy of Gung Ho

Finally, from the designer’s perspective, Esther Knight, Founder of Fanfare, and Sophie Dunster, Founder of Gung Ho, will discuss their experiences of setting up a sustainable fashion label – including the importance of having responsible supply chain activities from day one. They will address the challenges of navigating a competitive environment where sustainability messaging can be confusing, and will consider the fundamental values that should drive any sustainable fashion brand.

Image courtesy of Fanfare Label

The Agenda:

  • Welcome – Helen Lax, Fashion District & Patrick Scally, The Trampery (5 mins)
  • Sustainable Production Practices – Flora Davidson, Supply Compass (15 mins with Q&A)
  • Ethical Manufacturing – Diana Kakkar, Maes London (15 mins with Q&A)
  • Starting Up Sustainably – Fanfare and Gung Ho in Conversation (15 mins with Q&A)
  • Full Panel Discussion and Q&A – All Speakers (15 mins)
  • Speed Networking – Enjoy some digital match-making as you get connected with other event attendees at five minute intervals. (25 mins)

About the Panel:

FLORA DAVIDSON is the Founder of SupplyCompass, a production platform for fashion brands and manufacturers. Through their two-sided product development and production management platform – SupplyCompass enables brands and their manufacturers to produce better, together. In 2016, Flora moved from London to Mumbai to start SupplyCompass. She lived in India for 2 years to build the business on the ground, spending much of her time on the road researching and visiting 300+ manufacturers and suppliers. SupplyCompass’ mission is to reimagine, rebalance and rebuild global supply chains; they want to change how things work and enable a new way of designing and managing production that works for people and the planet – not just profit!

DIANA KAKKAR is the Founder and Chief Executive of MAES London, a luxury garment manufacturing studio that specialises in designer womenswear. With over a decade’s industry experience she launched the business to make premium manufacturing more accessible to fashion designers. Diana is a fashion designer herself and has over 10 years’ experience in garment making; she understands the time, effort and expenses incurred by designers and has put together a highly skilled team that deliver beautifully made garments in a cost-effective and ethical way. She’s passionate about creating closer links between designers and manufacturers, whilst finding a growing demand for sampling and small-scale production here in the UK. MAES stands for “SEAM” spelled backwards.

ESTHER KNIGHT is the Founder of Fanfare Label, a sustainable women’s clothing brand transforming the way people buy, wear and discard clothing.  Esther has previously worked for many high street & designer brands, including Vivienne Westwood. Working her way up to buyer level, Esther saw first-hand the pressure that fast-fashion companies place on their suppliers and contractors and began working on a solution, combining her industry expertise with her desire to promote sustainable fashion with eco-conscious practises. Fanfare Label reduces waste by turning clothing and textile waste into premium product. With circularity, longevity and recycling at its core, Fanfare Label offers customers timeless, seasonless pieces that are made to be cherished.

SOPHIE DUNSTER is the Founder of Gung Ho, a London-based ethical and sustainable fashion brand. Coming from a “zero carbon” family background, sustainability has been part of Sophie’s life from an early age. Starting out, she wanted to become a political artist but after discovering a world of silk screen printing when studying in Brighton, she realised her drawings could become a walking ‘talking point’. This way, it wasn’t a piece of artwork hanging on a wall for a limited amount of people to see, it became someone’s first impression of you – and Sophie believes that fashion shouldn’t just make you look good, but showcase your values too. Gung Ho’s collections exemplify this ethos – each collection highlights a different ecological or social issue and 10% of the profits are donated to a charity that works with the cause. The collections are also ‘seasonless’ and are made fairly and locally from sustainable fabrics.

Meet the Manufacturing Futures 2021 Shortlist

The Fashion District, in collaboration with the Fashion Innovation Agency, is delighted to announce the shortlist for Manufacturing Futures: Fashion District Innovation Challenge Prize 2021!

The shortlist was selected from a host of impressive and creative applications by our esteemed panel of industry experts. This year’s cohort is comprised of ten start-ups who showed true innovation and the potential to change the future of manufacturing.

“Manufacturing Futures 2021 has unearthed some truly cutting edge start-ups that are applying technology and science to tackle the urgent environmental needs of the fashion industry. We have a real opportunity to collaborate, both within the industry and with other sectors, to bring on the brightest and most impactful innovations to reshape the industry.”

Helen Lax, Director, Fashion District.

Petit Pli

“We’re proud to be supporting technological innovations that are solving the manufacturing challenges facing the fashion industry today. Engineering is behind everything we touch, including the clothes we wear, so it’s important that we create interdisciplinary connections between technologists and engineers, and fashion creatives and manufacturers.”

Danielle George, MBE, President, IET.

Our shortlisted start-ups are offering a range of solutions that include innovative new materials, effective new software which help brands and customers to make ethical and sustainable choices, as well as fashion tech businesses using nanomaterials to reduce the impact of harmful manufacturing processes.  

Modern Synthesis

“It is a privilege to judge Manufacturing Futures 2021 and be part of an initiative that puts science and engineering at its heart. At PANGAIA, we are on a mission to inspire and accelerate an Earth Positive future, and it is amazing to be part of a competition where all of the innovators are striving towards the same shared goal. There are some really ground-breaking technologies within this group and I personally cannot wait to see what the future holds for all of them.”

Craig Smith, Head of Research & Development, PANGAIA.

Treekind™ by Biophilica

Treekind™ by Biophilica is a plant-based leather alternative for the fashion industry. It is estimated to be carbon negative, recyclable as green waste, home compostable, non-toxic and completely free of plastic and petrochemicals. With Treekind™ we want to support the transition to local, sustainable manufacturing and consumption.

Clean Ocean Fiber Tech

Clean Ocean Fiber Technology is a textile business that creates new yarn by binding any recycled raw material with natural and bio artificial spun yarn. It reduces the polluting effect of textiles and protects the environment by preventing fibre shedding in clothing, whilst providing greater durability and better circularity.


ClearChain is a software platform for easy, low-cost, high-value supply chain mapping, compliance auditing and reporting. It enables companies to get answers to the big questions facing them about sustainability, Net Zero and ethical compliance. Its modern, simple user interface eliminates clutter and allows users to map supply chains and conduct compliance audits on one or more of these vendors.

2DTronics by G Square

2DTronics by G Square is a textile technology start-up dedicated to producing smart sustainable clothing for the home, for work and for exercise. 2DTronics fabrics are made from composites of nanomaterials with recycled or natural fibres giving enhanced strength, durability and comfort. Garments are also to be embedded with smart sensing functions using graphene conductive inks.

Modern Synthesis

Modern Synthesis is a London based biomaterial start-up connecting the dots between biology, material science and design to craft progressive biomaterials for the fashion industry. The company’s ‘microbial weaving’ process employs microbes to grow a strong, lightweight cellulose-based composite material that is naturally biodegradable and offers unique potential for customization.

Nanofique Limited

Nanofique Limited is working with bio-composites of nanostructured material to degrade the dyes in wastewater, removing the colour and associated harmful effects. They also separate, remove and upgrade the heavy metal ions and salt without producing sludge and recycle the water. Their product is catalytic and biodegradable. The bio element can be grown without the use of irrigation, fertilizer or pesticides.


Nanoloom creates biodegradable fibre from a novel, unique nanomaterial called BioHastalex, which is based on graphene. BioHastalex is extremely strong, light, flexible and durable. It can be made to attract or repel water without additives, doesn’t shed and is scalable. This makes it suitable for numerous applications, and Nanoloom currently focuses on performance apparel.

Pattern Project

Pattern Project is a clothing micro-factory, developing machinery and software to enable independent fashion brands, high street retailers or tailoring companies to produce custom-fit clothing in-store and on-demand. The software generates a made-to-measure pattern from customer measurements and sends it to a desktop cutting machine. A ready-to-sew custom-fit garment is then created in as little as 10 minutes.

Petit Pli

Petit Pli is a wearable technology company engineering clothes that grow. Trained aeronautical engineer, Ryan Mario Yasin founded Petit Pli in 2017, shortly after gifting clothes to his newborn nephew in Denmark. By the time the clothes arrived they were already too small! Determined to pioneer a new approach to slow fashion he drew inspiration from his background in deployable nano-satellite structures.

Terra Neutra

Terra Neutra provides innovative services that measure the carbon footprint of a product and allow customers to offset the impact in the shopping cart. Their mission is to create a carbon positive world, empowering people to live more sustainably, raising awareness of climate impact, enabling reduction and offsetting any residual emissions.

Lone Design Club – Designer Call Out

Lone Design Club (winners of Fashion District’s Retail Futures 2020) are looking for fresh new designers to showcase across their channels! They are cultivating a community of innovative brands who are:

As part of the Lone Design Club community, you will have the opportunity to showcase your designs in LDC’s experiential concept stores across the world, as well as on their 24/7 online store. This is an amazing chance to connect with new markets of ethical and mindful shoppers and grow your brand!

How It Started

Lone Design Club was founded on the notion of rising-up, taking control and changing the future of retail; like-minded emerging fashion and lifestyle brands coming together to challenge the high-street with fresh new concepts and a focus on unique, ethically produced pieces.

The starting point was a series of short-term concept stores appearing for 1-2 weeks at a time in London, at first, and now across the globe. Experiences and events followed, allowing designers an intimate outlet to tell their stories directly to shoppers – creating real connections between brands and customers. Shortly after, Lone Design Club launched its 24/7 online store, giving their community a new avenue to reach wider markets.

Lone Design Club operates now through both physical and digital platforms – allowing consumers to discover and shop from independent brands with traceable and mindful practices, selling exclusive and one-of-a-kind items.

LDC has exciting plans for the coming year – with “The Next Normal” pop-up and a Fashion and Lifestyle Festival in the works, there’s no better time to join the community!

For more information visit

Instagram: @lonedesignclub


Are you looking for pay-as-you go studio space? Do you need access to best-in-class machinery at an affordable price? If so, welcome to Building BloQs – a fully equipped workshop that you can book by the day.

Building Bloqs started with seven makers, craftsmen and artists who were faced with the gloomy realities of London studio rental costs when their landlord served notice on their shared live-work space. After a fruitless search for alternatives, they decided to do things on their own terms. They committed to creating a cost-effective workspace where all makers could access the machinery they needed, connect with other creatives and learn new skills. They have continued to accommodate the needs of their members ever since, providing world-class machinery, from traditional analogue tools to advanced digital systems.

Building BloQs has everything you need for toiling, pattern cutting and sampling. Each Fabric Workspace is equipped with a bench, 240V power, cutting table, straight stitch machine and a mannequin. The Fabric Workspaces are priced at £28 per day – and can be booked for single days or longer stints (with discounts for 6+ days).


As well as the workspaces, Building BloQs has its own café which the team describe as ‘the beating heart’ of the building. It’s the place where members meet, connect, share ideas and dream up ambitious projects. Building BloQs wholeheartedly encourages collaboration and co-working – and if you feel inspired to learn a new skill after hearing about another maker’s project, they offer a wide range of training sessions across their machinery.

With so much to offer, the future of Building BloQs looks bright; they’re definitely worth a visit!

Find out more and become a member here

Instagram: @buildingbloqs