Judge and Jury: Why in London the designers are the real fashion victims - Again the shows at London Fashion Week attracted acres of column inches, but more could have been done to highlight the lack of support in the UK for British designers says Chrissy

Even if you haven’t the slightest interest in the fashion scene, you could not have failed to notice that London Fashion Week was taking place last week.

Even if you haven’t the slightest interest in the fashion scene,

you could not have failed to notice that London Fashion Week was taking

place last week.



After a week of high-profile shows in London, it is certainly ’ra ra’

for Britain and British design. Organisers, the British Fashion Council,

have successfully grown the event from fewer than 20 shows in the early

1990s to well over 50 today. Life PR ensured extensive media coverage,

which was, on the whole, extremely positive.



According to Claudia Marten, fashion director of Life PR, early

indications show that attendance from international buyers and the press

were all up on last year’s figures. Whether this translates into actual

sales remains to be seen, for surely this is the key test of

success.



The media focus is, perhaps deliberately, firmly on the designers, their

collections and catwalk extravaganzas and less on the fact that there is

very little real support for fashion design in the UK.



Our home-grown talent should not be forced to seek production deals

abroad because the British clothing industry can only cope with mass

orders.



Our talented designers should be nurtured and given every opportunity to

stamp their product ’designed and made in Britain’ and be able to mean

it. But if Life’s brief was to secure acres of editorial coverage,

spotlighting London as a world stage for the fashion and design

industries and our wealth of home-grown talent, then they certainly

fulfilled their objective.



A well-kept secret, perhaps intentionally so, was the fact that the

public can also rub shoulders with the stars, which is surely an

additional source of revenue. I have only been aware of a Sunday Times

promotion in which tickets were offered, but, although not being privy

to the brief, perhaps more could have been done to encourage the public

to attend on the final few days.



Now that Cool Britannia is firmly on the fashion map and London has

rightly confirmed its place alongside Milan, New York and Paris for the

seasonal collections, it would be encouraging to see confirmed support

from the Government to keep our designers doing what they do best here

in this country instead of being forced to pursue their careers abroad.



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