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Ara Lumiere an Indian brand creates exquisite head accessories handcrafted by women acid attack survivors. They recently won the Fashion Hub Market prize by Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and The Best Shops (a non-profit Italian chamber of buyers) during Milan Fashion Week and founder Kulsum Shadab Wahab says the “survivor’s needed this glory and there is no better platform to start our journey.”
It was October 2016 when a BBC Panorama investigation uncovered Syrian refugee children working in garment factories in Turkey, for high-street brands such as Marks and Spencer and ASOS. The documentary showed that there were children as young as 13 being forced to work 60 hour weeks for as little as 70p an hour. As a group, refugees are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, as Peter McAlister, head of the Ethical Trading Initiative, has pointed out.
The Fashion Industry is awesome! It contributes over £1.4billion in GVA to East London alone. Fashion related jobs in Haringey north London, (where we are based) have increased by 136% between 2010 and 2015 and in East London and Upper Lea Valley there has been an increase of 10,900 jobs during that period too. Garment manufacturing is back and it’s here to stay!
However it’s been a long hard climb since we opened our factory almost ten years ago now.
As an ex Senior Buyer I can remember the heady days when M&S used to manufacture 94% of their garments in the UK. I used to visit the large scale factories based in Barnsley and Nottingham and I can distinctly recall the pride of British sewers expertly producing quality garments for a host of high street retailers. I didn't realise how amazing those factories were at that time; shame on me!
Will those days come back? Not necessarily to the same scale and size of the factories that I visited in the 1990s but the re-shoring of production is definitely occurring now and is set to grow as more and more retailers understand the importance of Speed to Market and reducing quantities of buys so the exit margin is key and not the intake margin.
The build-up to the annual budget this year largely focused on whether this was going to be a Brexit emergency budget, or a business-as-usual budget. It proved to be the latter, but the Chancellor warned that in the event of a no-deal or a bad deal, it was likely a new budget would be required, with revised figures and targets. The Chancellor was not given an easy ride leading up to the announcement, as many in his party and in No.10 appeared to challenge some of his key messaging, but in general there was optimism about the proposals.
This article provides a fashion tint to the winners from this year’s budget.
96% of you voted Remain and with that in mind, we wanted to bring your concerns to the centre of this anniversary event. Especially as by then we might finally have some clarity on the deal or whether we are looking at No Deal and therefore be able to decode what this means for you, your business, our fashion futures.
Of his design process, NOKI reveals “I see vintage garments as spare parts much like a car customiser sees their futuristic vehicle builds. My clients are also very similar, they know they are receiving something unique and are very willing to pay those luxury prices to get their hands on NOKI. They just trust me to create and it’s a privilege to be trusted like this.”
Continuing his long-held status as a pioneer, NOKI’s latest designs signal a new age of sustainability for the luxury fashion market- where the domains of haute couture artistry and sustainability may seamlessly intersect.
This is what we at Fashion Roundtable will be advocating for post-Brexit: a UK fashion industry which continues to lead in the exciting space where craft, artisan and ethical FashionTech coalesce into a transparent and truly sustainable fashion industry. We have to ensure that leaving the EU does not mean deregulation. We need a future vision where the UK is not an isolated island drowning in a pool of plastic and instead showcase one where any plastic we do create is reused to make something relevant and long-lasting, be that a shoe, a sock, or even a red carpet dress.
Caramel Rock, a London based fashion and creative arts training centre and registered charity is pleased to announce that as the new academic year approaches they will again be launching our 12-week NVQ Level 2/3 Fashion Garment Construction course. Starting on 25 September, three days per week, the course aims to help young people gain a foothold into fashion and the creative arts sector.
Read their full press release here.
Fashion Roundtable is committed to highlighting the lack of disability representation throughout the fashion industry. You might assume this only applies to fashion campaigns which almost exclusively feature able-bodied models, and as a result disregard the aesthetic potential of the disabled body. But in reality, fashion’s poor track record for representing disabilities runs far deeper that the images we see promoted across fashion media.
There are still many logistical barriers facing less-abled individuals, like myself, who want to access fashion but simply cannot due to inadequate provision in retail spaces- this encompasses anything from insufficient staff training, to physical obstacles (such as stairs, no seating, queues and inaccessible clothing rails). A study by the Extra Costs Commission revealed that 75% of disabled customers have left a shop because of poor service or access, and that UK companies risk losing £420 million a week in sales.
Lottie Jackson explores how AR can help disabled customers.
Intellectual Property rights within fashion form a crucial foundation to the industry and have the potential to generate material value for fashion designers. However, the impending loom of Brexit is generating widespread fear throughout the industry. Fear of what the effect of exiting the EU will be on UK IP design rights, and how this could damage the UK fashion and design industry.
The main concern is the potential loss of the protection provided by the Unregistered Community Design Right. This could, in turn, undermine the global prominence of events such as London Fashion Week.
How can AI influence the fashion industry? Rafaella de Freitas explores how AI is expected to streamline supply chains, improve sales forecasting and provide a more personalised shopping experience to customers.
The Design Council’s recent design economy research has supported the message that a more diverse workforce will lead to a more diverse output and wider audience appreciation. The Design Council has added depth to this understanding by uncovering further statistics and underpinning their message with both the positives and negatives of a diverse design workforce. The Design Council explains that a more diverse workforce will be able to understand the needs of an increasingly diverse population.
Using both the full Design Economy 2018 report and their article on the link between diversity and business performance, Fashion Roundtable looks to break down their findings and view them from the perspective of the fashion industry.
Bev Malik: “In reality is that it’s actually the negative practice of fat shaming, not feeling included in a fashion conversation and feeling kind of left out, that’s a kind of emotional scar on our society..”
The Japanese fashion market is worth $25.45bn, with a consumer who has historically bought into British fashion brands: both heritage and avant-garde. This deal is predicted to boost the EU economy by 0.8%: a trade boost which the UK has no part of for a consumer who would have bought into Brand Britain. This agreement gives European stakeholders access to one of the strongest markets in the world (third in GDP), allowing them to diversify their investments and expand production in an era of increasing instability.
I don't think this is the result of a Government not understanding Brexit and its implications. During the past two years several advisors, economists, policy officers, NGO and company representatives (including Fashion Roundtable) have explained the consequences both in monetary and socioeconomic terms, time and time again.
"The Government is considering a range of options for the future immigration system. We will build a comprehensive picture of the needs and interests of all parts of the UK, including different sectors, businesses and communities, and look to develop a system that works for all. We will make decisions on the future immigration system based on evidence and engagement. That is why we have asked the independent Migration Advisory Committee to advise on the economic and social impacts of the UK’s exit from the EU. When building the new system, various aspects including the creative sector will be taken into account, to ensure the future immigration system works for sectors. We will set out proposals later this year."
Tamara Cincik, CEO and Founder of Fashion Roundtable said: “I have worked in the fashion industry for most of my adult life. It can be amazing, creative and you can be around the more brilliant and lovely people. However reading this article, by Amy Odell for The Cut: books being thrown at assistants, interns being made to stand outside in the cold with no coat for hours, staff degraded and belittled, it’s just not and never should be acceptable. We have to join the dots and appreciate that however glam, exciting and well-paid the industry can be that doesn’t excuse in work abuse. And never should. That’s why I was happy to Chair the first ever Panel discussion for @fashionassistants and that’s why I am speaking to the film union Bectu; to work on a way to bring workers protections and support into fashion. Watch this space.”
“If we have learnt anything from these elections then, it is that politics needs some disruption, an alteration to the status quo. If we do not stand up and allow our voice to be heard, we can be confident that the outcome from Brexit, will unlikely be in the form we wish.”
After the local elections, what do voters think about Brexit now?
Observations: Eszter Kantor - Division and Debate - Brexit and Trade
Fashion Roundtable In Conversation for SHOWstudio
Fashion Revolution #whomademyclothes
"Fishing delivers roughly £1.9bn to the UK economy, compared to fashion’s £29.7bn. Nonetheless, fashion is yet to have a debate dedicated to the industry, in the House of Commons, in two years. Which means fashion has not been debated during the entire EU referendum process. As aforementioned, fashion did have a debate in the Lords but it only lasted 8 minutes. Fishing, this month, had a debate dedicated to the subject in the Commons and it lasted almost an hour."
Trade Wars – The Threat of Isolationism is Beyond Political Rhetoric
Fashion mentioned for 8 minutes in a House of Lords debate.
Seasonal Migrant Workers
Observations: Navjyot Lehl - Division and Debate - What Has Happened in Brexit and Where Are We Now?
APPG For Textiles and Fashion Meeting at the Houses of Parliament: Fashion Trade with China.