Fashion District Prospectus
FASHION. TECHNOLOGY. BUSINESS. EDUCATION. THEY’LL MEET, COMPETE, COLLABORATE AND INNOVATE. AT THE FASHION DISTRICT.
Image Description: A woman in a purple dress laughs whilst wearing a VR headset. She is also wearing dangly globe earrings. Image is from LCF x Microsoft partnership.
“LONDON NEEDS TO ACT NOW IF IT WANTS TO STAY AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE FASHION TECH REVOLUTION. EMERGING BUSINESS CAN ONLY GROW WITH SIGNIFICANT SUPPORT IN SKILLS, ADVOCACY, INNOVATION AND INVESTMENT. THAT’S WHAT THE FASHION DISTRICT WILL BRING.”
Professor Frances Corner OBE,
London College of Fashion, UAL
THE FASHION DISTRICT IS A CLUSTER OF AMBITIOUS BUSINESSES, ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS AND INVESTORS IN EAST LONDON.
IT’S AN OPPORTUNITY: TO MAKE LONDON THE GLOBAL CAPITAL OF FASHION TECHNOLOGY. TO NURTURE TALENT. TO CREATE NEW JOBS AND INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS. TO DRIVE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION IN EAST LONDON. AND BUILD A LEGACY TO BE PROUD OF.
THE VALUE OF THE UK FASHION INDUSTRY IS ESTIMATED AT £28 BILLION, TWICE THAT OF THE AUTOMOTIVE OR CHEMICALS INDUSTRIES.
Image Description: A black model wears Bethany Williams. They are facing away from the camera and are wearing a red scarf which has large black lettering which says IF IT WAS YOU. Another scarf is white with red FRAGILE lettering.
“I HOPE EAST LONDON WILL BECOME MORE AND MORE VIBRANT THROUGH ITS COMMUNITY AND CREATIVITY. I REALLY HOPE WE’LL KEEP SEEING MAKERS OF ALL SCALES MOVE INTO THE AREA – TO EITHER GROW WHAT THEY’RE CURRENTLY DOING, OR START A NEW BUSINESS.”
British Fashion Designer
Image Description: Aerial photograph of Westfield Stratford City and the surrounding area at dusk
A HUB FOR FASHION INNOVATION IN LONDON
The Fashion District is a new cluster in east London. A hub of businesses, spaces, ideas – and opportunities. It will:
MAKE LONDON THE GLOBAL HUB OF FASHION TECHNOLOGY
BOOST THE ECONOMY ACROSS THE WHOLE CAPITAL
SUPPORT MADE IN BRITAIN ACROSS SECTORS
REVIVE OUR FASHION HERITAGE AND CREATE A LEGACY FOR THE FUTURE
An independent report * backed by local government showed that fashion could bring tremendous benefits to east London – and the whole capital.
Now, we’re uniting industry, business, education, and the public sector to make it happen.
Fashion already supports more than 880,000 jobs across the UK. 23% of the capital’s fashion enterprises and 36,000 jobs are in east London. With the Fashion District, that number will soar.
The Fashion District is already taking shape. Poplar Works. The Trampery Fish Island Village. London College of Fashion. These are just some of the initiatives bringing fashion, manufacturing, workspaces, and talented fashion students right to east London, right now.
It’s a hothouse of talent. It’s ripe for investment. And businesses could build on it – on an industrial scale.
WILL YOU JOIN THEM?
Calling all east London start-ups, businesses, brands, manufacturers, retailers, investors, politicians, and local authorities.
This is your chance to pioneer technology and innovation in fashion. Making us successful. And visible on the world stage.
Get involved. Reach us at:
FIVE OPPORTUNITIES. COUNTLESS POSSIBILITIES.
Image Description: Two people are using a VR headset. Text at the bottom states Five Opportunities. Countless Possibilities.
A co-ordinated hub. A connected community.
Stimulating technology. Supporting enterprise.
Making workspace more affordable. And more available.
Financing to help forge the future.
More opportunities for talented people. And an upskilled city.
Image Description: A fashion student at work at a sewing machine. The student wears a black hat and a stripey muted orange and blue shirt.
“HACKNEY IS SUCH AN ECLECTIC MIX OF PEOPLE. IT’S WHY I LOVE LONDON SO MUCH. PEOPLE LIVING SIDE-BY-SIDE, WORKING, CREATING – IT’S AN AMAZING PLACE TO WALK AROUND AND SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE WEARING. YOU DEFINITELY TAKE INSPIRATION FROM YOUR SURROUNDINGS.”
British Fashion Designer
Image Description: Steet art depicting two hands in Brick Lane
“WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO DRIVE CHANGE. IN A DECADE THE FASHION DISTRICT WILL BE CREATING MORE JOBS FOR LOCAL PEOPLE. KNOWN THROUGHOUT INDUSTRY AS A PLACE FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING SKILLS ACROSS THE SECTOR – DESIGN, MANUFACTURING, RETAIL, MARKETING – AND A GREAT DEAL OF BUSINESS ACTIVITY.”
Dr Paul Brickell, London Legacy
Image description: Models walk in Marques’ Almeida SS18 collection showcased at Brick Lane
The Fashion District will be a supportive network. A hub of knowledge. A powerful, connected east London fashion community.
Here, businesses will compete, trade, partner with each other. Bridging the gap between public and private sectors, and across – education, business, manufacturing and retail.
The effects could ripple out to the whole country.
Supporting Made in Britain – to help designers keep more of their supply chain in the UK.
Image Description: A visualisation of The Trampery Fish Island Village. A campus alongside the canal.
“EAST LONDON CAN BE A DEFINITIVE FOCAL POINT FOR THE UK’S FASHION INDUSTRY. ONCE WE IMPROVE STRATEGIC CONNECTIONS BETWEEN DIFFERENT ELEMENTS OF THE INDUSTRY AT THIS SCALE, WE CAN APPLY THIS PHILOSOPHY TO GRADUALLY SPREAD OUT OUR NETWORK.”
Charles Armstrong, The Trampery
Image Description: A seated crowd watch a speaker at a Trampery networking event.
THE POWER OF CONNECTION
Lara Intimates is an underwear brand with a difference: they’re 100% sustainable. Lara Intimates launched with a crowdfunding campaign in 2017. Now they’re on their way to revolutionising the lingerie industry, with sustainable British production. The key to this success? Connections.
OVER 30% OF LONDON’S FASHION SMES ARE BASED IN EAST LONDON.
“BUSINESS MENTORS ARE CRUCIAL IN HELPING US SUCCEED. IT’S VITAL WE SURROUND OURSELVES WITH LIKE-MINDED ENTREPRENEURS, ADVISORS AND SUSTAINABILITY EXPERTS SO WE CAN DEVELOP LARA TO ITS FULLEST POTENTIAL.”
Cindy Liberman and Faith Leeves,
The future of fashion is innovation. And the most powerful innovation happens in partnership.
At the Fashion District, technologists, designers, researchers and SMEs will collaborate with ease. Across sectors. Across disciplines. They’ll meet to exchange knowledge, network, and create new products and processes – that unlock new investments.
Image Description: Someone takes a photograph of some writing on a wall which says BIG DATA. The image is from Fashion Innovation Agency at LCF’s Fashion Business School Summit.
We’ll also create programmes to inspire people to innovate together. Like the Fashion Exchange: a programme of meetups, events and conferences that collide ideas and showcase great talent.
“THE BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL IS THRILLED TO BE A PARTNER OF THE FASHION DISTRICT WHO ARE PUTTING TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION AT THE HEART OF THEIR AMBITIONS AND AIM TO BUILD A PIPELINE FOR YOUNG LOCAL TALENT, ALONGSIDE
SUPPORTING LONDON’S EMERGING AND ESTABLISHED DESIGNERS.
FOSTERING NEW INNOVATIVE BRANDS WHILE MAKING BRITISH TALENT MORE VISIBLE ON THE GLOBAL STAGE IS ALIGNED WITH THE BFC’S MISSION TO CEMENT LONDON’S POSITION AS A GLOBAL LEADER IN FASHION, INNOVATION AND BUSINESS.”
Caroline Rush CBE,
British Fashion Council
Image Decription: A phone screen shows an augmented reality experience at Sadie Clayton’s SS18 ‘Future Couture’ collection
“OUR CHALLENGE WAS REDUCING THE FASHION INDUSTRY’S RELIANCE ON TECHNIQUES OF PRODUCTION THAT ARE POLLUTING AND NON-SUSTAINABLE. USING NEW TECHNOLOGIES USUALLY APPLIED IN FINTECH WE REALISED WE CAN DISRUPT THE WAY THE FASHION INDUSTRY IS WORKING. WE ADDED TECHNOLOGY AT EACH STEP OF THE POST PURCHASE JOURNEY, AND A REAL SOLUTION TO TACKLE SUSTAINABILITY ISSUES WAS BORN ALONGSIDE A NEW AND INNOVATIVE BUSINESS MODEL.”
Hasna Kourda, Save Your Wardrobe
Image Description: A crowd gathers around a screen to watch Stephen Tai’s AW18 immersive collection
Image Description: Visualisation of the new Poplar Works space. The building is black and white and angular.
At the Fashion District, we’ll use existing spaces, refurbish other spaces, and create new, more affordable spaces for fashion businesses, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and community groups.
An alliance of like-minded organisations will safeguard those spaces. We’ll introduce a gold standard for good employment and sustainability for all the businesses that use them.
Fashion space doesn’t just mean space. It means access to specialist equipment. Access to finance. Skills development. And employment programmes for local people that develop the area, long-term.
The result? A resilient, creative fashion ecosystem where businesses of all sizes can thrive. A sustainable place for decades to come.
“THE CHANCE TO INVEST IN AN AUTHENTIC, ACCESSIBLE AND AMBITIOUS INDUSTRY THAT WILL BRING LONG-TERM BENEFITS TO THE AREA – IT EXISTS: RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. POPLAR WORKS WILL BE A REAL PART OF THE COMMUNITY, OFFERING JOBS, TRAINING AND CREATIVE WORKSPACE FOR OUR DIVERSE AND GROWING POPULATION.”
Paul Augarde, Poplar HARCA
We’ll encourage manufacturers to cluster together in hubs, promoting sustainable, inclusive working practices and spaces – with added business support.
“FASHION MANUFACTURING IN LONDON IS A VITAL PART OF WHAT MAKES THE CITY ONE OF THE MAJOR FASHION CENTRES OF THE WORLD. OUR MANUFACTURERS FACE A VERY UNCERTAIN FUTURE, AS IT BECOMES INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT TO FIND MANUFACTURING SPACE IN THE CAPITAL.”
Adam Mansell, UKFT
“THE INDUSTRY NEEDS AN INITIATIVE LIKE THIS. THERE’S SUPPORT FOR START-UPS, BUT THE PRACTICAL PROBLEM IS PRODUCTION. THERE’S HUGE PRODUCTION POTENTIAL, THERE’S A WORKFORCE, BUT RENT AND RATE INCREASES ARE PRICING IT OUT.”
The Apparel Company
Image Description: A sewing machinest works at a sewing machine.
FASHION TAILORING ACADEMY @ FASHION ENTER
A new academy offering accredited qualifications and short courses for technical skills. Tailoring. Fabric and pattern cutting. Garment construction. With apprenticeships and job opportunities with Savile Row tailors and major high street retailers, manufacturers and fashion brands.
“THE NEW TAILORING ACADEMY WILL CREATE A NEW GENERATION OF HIGHLY SKILLED TAILORS TO BE EQUIPPED WITH THE SKILLS REQUIRED TO REACH THE EXACTING STANDARDS OF MASTER TAILORS. INVESTING IN STATE OF THE ART MACHINERY AND UP-SKILLING THE INDUSTRY WILL TACKLE FUTURE INDUSTRY GAPS. WORKING WITH THE FASHION DISTRICT PARTNERS THERE WILL BE AN EXTENSIVE NETWORK OF FACILITIES AND RESOURCES FOR OUR WONDERFUL CREATIVE FASHION AND TEXTILES SECTOR.”
Jenny Holloway, Fashion Enter
Image Description: A tailor at work on Saville Row. They wear a grey suit.
Image Description: Another tailor at work, he wears a white shirt, bergundy tie and black braces.
“ACCESS TO VENTURE FUNDING AND SUPPORT FOR EARLY-STAGE BUSINESSES IS BOTH CRITICAL AND URGENT. AN ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABLE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS WILL LEVER INVESTMENT FROM ANGELS, WHILE HELPING TO REFORM THE FASHION INDUSTRY.”
Sarah Turner, London Angel Academe
New ideas need funding… or they’re grounded. Our financing opportunities will help them soar. The London Fashion Fund will link investors to designers, makers and entrepreneurs. The fund will have particular interest in investing in ideas around technology, the environment, and businesses with a social conscience. It will help innovation and business (at any stage) thrive and grow. And will set a standard for funding we hope will be copied across the UK.
“AFTER GRADUATING FROM LCF, I STARTED MDMFLOW WITH HANDMADE LIPSTICKS THAT I FORMULATED AND PRODUCED FROM HOME.
INVESTMENT AT THE EARLY STAGES WOULD HAVE BEEN TRANSFORMATIONAL. YOU JUST SPEND SO MUCH TIME TRYING TO GET ANY MONEY TO GET YOUR IDEA OFF THE GROUND. WITHOUT FINANCES, IT’S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. YOU’RE COMPETING ON A HUGE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE WITH OTHER ALREADY ESTABLISHED BRANDS, TRYING TO DEVELOP SOMETHING UNIQUE.”
Florence Adepoju, MDMFlow
CASE STUDY - FUNDING GOOD SLEEP
Image Description: A screen shows a photo of a woman lying down in a white outfit. The image is from LCF BA18 digitally immersive catwalk and exhibition at Oval Space.
Tim Antos was having trouble sleeping. He’d lie awake at night and not be able to switch off. Listening to music helped but the headphones were just so bulky. Then he had an idea.
Kokoon headphones aren’t just ergonomic and comfortable. They’re also super high tech. Inside, EEG brainwave sensors customise Kokoon’s specialist audio content to respond to your sleep patterns helping you find sleep easier.
Since launching, Tim and co-founder Richard Hall raised £3m through crowdfunding and venture capitalists. They employ 11 people, and their global pre-orders stand at 20,000 units sold ($5.1m in sales).
But there is an awkward space: between the initial funding boost and long-term financial stability. London Fashion Fund would offer that kind of finance for many businesses.
“WE CAN PROVIDE SUPPORT, ACCELERATE BUSINESS, AND ATTRACT PRIVATE SECTOR FUNDING TO FASHION BUSINESSES.”
Professor John French,
London Fashion Fund
Image Description: A student is screenprinting with yellow paint at Newham College.
A fashion career should be aspirational. But not impossible. Working with a network of training providers, we’ll signpost industry recognised provision and clear pathways into good careers in fashion.
We’ll open up paid internships, specialist programmes and new apprenticeships to young east Londoners. To give them experience in digital, admin, design, and head office roles at all kinds of fashion brands and retailers.
Working with the industry, we’ll look for skill gaps and target them. Like the new Tailoring Academy, which will give the whole region access to high-quality training.
And we’ll pile on the support for entrepreneurs, too. With business strategy guidance and resources to help them grow. We’ll get pilots up and running. Like East Works: Fashion.
An upskilled workforce and access to skills training is good for everyone. It’ll attract manufacturers to London. Attract talent to London. And encourage them both to stay.
FASHION IN EAST LONDON: SUPPORTS >36,000 JOBS WORTH >£1.4BN
“WE HAVE A PIVOTAL MOMENT IN EAST LONDON FOR TRAINING PROVIDERS TO WORK CLOSELY WITH INDUSTRY AND NURTURE A NEW GENERATION OF TECHNICALLY SKILLED, RESILIENT YOUNG PEOPLE WITH FRESH IDEAS, TO BRING ON A NEW ERA OF FASHION.”
Newham College London
“THERE IS A CRITICAL SHORTAGE OF TECHNICALLY SKILLED PEOPLE IN LONDON AND THE UK ACROSS MANUFACTURING ROLES. INVESTMENT IN PREMISES AND EQUIPMENT, TO ALLOW THIS PART OF THE SECTOR TO GROW, WILL MEAN THE NEED TO GROW THE WORKFORCE. THERE IS A NEED TO ADDRESS METHODS OF RECRUITMENT AND TRAINING TO ALLOW FOR A GROWTH IN THE WORKFORCE. THERE IS A NEED TO ADDRESS THE RETENTION AND PROTECTION OF THE EXISTING SKILLED WORKFORCE.”
UKFT London Manufacturers Manifesto
“WHAT YOU ACTUALLY NEED IS LONGEVITY AND A PARTNERSHIP. BOUNCING FROM ONE MANUFACTURER TO THE NEXT DOESN’T DO ANY
GOOD. SO WE’RE LOOKING AT HOW WE CAN SCALE OUR IN-HOUSE PRODUCTION.”
British Fashion Designer
Image Description: A young girl looks up and smiles whilst drawing at Spotlight – a creative space in Poplar. In the background a man also draws.
DESIGNED IN BRITAIN. MADE IN BRITAIN.
A third of the capital’s fashion SMEs are already in east London, making the most of speedy connections to Essex, Kent, Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds. Plus, new manufacturers keep springing up. There are 135 of them in London – many less than five years old.
But there still aren’t enough UK manufacturers who can remain competitive and designers are often forced to go offshore to satisfy demand. With economic uncertainty
on the horizon, this is becoming an even trickier issue.
So what’s next? The future of our world-leading fashion industry will be Made in Britain. Our east London Fashion District will boost UK fashion manufacturing, for the long term. Our investment fund will discover and invest in the next big fashion technologies. Making fashion SMEs more visible, and more successful.
SMEs, manufacturers: you can help us build it. Get in touch to find out how.
WE’RE EVEN BIGGER TOGETHER.
Image Description: Measurements are marked on some grey fabric.
“WE ARE PROUD TO SUPPORT THE FASHION DISTRICT AND ARE COMMITTED TO INCREASING ITS PRESENCE WITHIN OUR WESTFIELD CENTRES. THIS IS A GREAT INITIATIVE AND WITH THE COLLECTIVE SUPPORT OF LOCAL BUSINESSES AND FASHION EXPERTS THERE IS A REAL OPPORTUNITY TO STRENGTHEN EAST LONDON’S FASHION CREDIBILITY.”
Image Description: Suit jackets are mid-construction, white stitches are visible on the dark fabric.
Myf Ryan, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield
We can only build the Fashion District if we work together. Our partners so far:
British Fashion Council
Greater London Authority
London Borough of Hackney
London Borough of Newham
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
London Borough of Waltham Forest
London College of Fashion, UAL
London Legacy Development Corporation
Newham College of Further Education
The London Fashion Fund
Join us – www.fashion-district.co.uk
“THE FASHION DISTRICT IN EAST LONDON WILL CREATE A CLUSTER THAT PAVES THE WAY FOR EVEN MORE GROWTH AND INNOVATION. LONDON IS A GLOBAL CAPITAL FOR CULTURE AND CREATIVITY, AND THIS EXCITING NEW DISTRICT WILL SECURE EAST LONDON’S PLACE AT THE CENTRE OF FASHION.”
Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Greater London Authority