Following Up From Our Meeting with Bectu - Why Fashion Needs A Union. By @fashionassistants. The Voice Behind The Anonymous Instagram Page Highlighting Systemic Abuses In The Fashion Industry.

We are working with BECTU to find a way to create a sector for creatives just like you and me. The assistants and freelancers in fashion, make up, hair, PR, the works! If this goes ahead (we need your support and there’s been quite the case of people showing support but not actually turning up) it would cost £10 p/month (same as Netflix and Spotify) and once you’re a member you can pay £38 for the year (April to April) to get full public liability insurance. If we started a space or means of contact which would allow us to share our expected day rates, warn anyone we needed to or advise each other where necessary then the constant problems we find ourselves facing could hopefully decrease and, who knows, maybe one day disappear.

London Fashion Week AW19. An Op-Ed by Bev Malik, Fashion Roundtable's Fashion Buying and Retail Director

For me LFW was all about an ease back with muted tailoring and an equal embrace of wild colour but worn in a grown up way. In a season marred by Brexit worries - fashion was seen as a defiant inclusive community - one capable of dressing in both a serious way and with a nonchalance that is almost recession proof. There was a return to heritage viewed in a refreshing way and the main theme of sustainability and inclusion was top of the agenda.

No Time for Games. An Op-Ed by Karen Binns, Fashion Roundtable's Fashion and Style Director

This season, London designers are taking it to a whole new level. They are showing more than cool ideas and fun tricks of over-styling. They’ve become more fortified and more powerful then ever.
The bar has been raised, and there’s no more room for fun and games. From Ricardo’s Tisci’s push into a more global and inclusive aesthetic of luxury from Burberry, Into Roksanda's consist climb to the top of elegant pret-à-couture. 
Yes bitch, she’s giving you Volume too, all day, and still keeping it a bit more youthful. Then the Parisians, just saying...

Fashion Accelerators - The Catalyst for Innovation & Sustainability in the Fashion Industry. An Op-Ed by Amy Nguyen

The fashion landscape is a rich tapestry of innovation saturated with revolutionary ideas that have the potential to propagate sustainability. Innovations today are the solutions of tomorrow. These innovations could be in raw materials, dyeing and finishing processes, manufacturing, retail strategies, end of use practices as well as transparency and traceability. Fashion accelerators are at the crux of providing a crucial platform for these innovations to drive value, whether it be economic, environmental or social to tackle the increasingly urgent issues of sustainability facing the industry. This may be mitigating social inequalities dispersed throughout global value chains or curbing devastation to the earths eco systems and biodiversity in order to ensure a safer operating space for current and future generations.

From The Factory Floor: Founder & CEO Of Fashion - Enter Jenny Holloway Responds To The Environment Audit Committee Report.

The EAC report is also wrong on the point that "Short lead times means that wash tests and wearer trials are often not feasible, with implications for garment quality". This is nonsense. Every single fabric has to be tested and approved. We make up to 10,000 garments a week and we have had to test every single fabric and if it fails the tests then quite simply we can’t use them.

Fashion Is Fabulous, But It’s Not Much Use If We’ve Nowhere To Live. An op-ed by Clare Press

Find me a fashion designer who hasn’t looked to Nature for inspiration, whether literally referencing flowers, trees, the oceans, the rainforests, animals, feathers or only the colours and moods of the wild or the weather. Bet you can’t, because our natural world is the source of the greatest, most diverse, most magical, spine-tingling beauty. It’s not just our home, but the source of all life. Including ours. We’d do well to remember this with every breath we take, because seriously, we’re trashing the joint. 

V&A Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams. An op-ed by Jodi Muter-Hamilton

Attending the opening evening of the V&A’s Christian Dior exhibition was a dream within a dream, thanks to the milliner, Stephen Jones. Not only did Tamara and myself immerse ourselves in the world Dior, exquisitely curated by Oriole Cullen alongside set designer Nathalie Crinière, but we were also incredibly lucky to have a guided tour around the exhibition by Stephen Jones. Opening up the wonder of Dior, Stephen Jones (who has worked with the hour of Dior since 1996) shared his incredible insight into the history of the brand and the life of Christian Dior. The stories Stephen unfolded included how a classic black suit displayed in the exhibition was created for a lady who won a Daily Mail competition and the fact that Dior previously made stage make-up, including fake blood. Imagine, Dior Fake Blood - pure genius!

Women Leading in AI Manifesto Launch Event: why and how to legislate for AI

The stronger the presence of AI in our day-to-day lives, the more vulnerable we are to bias present in the algorithms, especially if algorithms are being used to approve or reject loans, screen job applications or to inform social workers. Algorithms rely on data, and when the decisions being made by algorithms is on human lives and interactions, the data used for predictions is a record of how people have interacted in the past and of how society is structured. And it is no surprise that power hierarchies and social dynamics work exist and that people are privileged for simply for having certain characteristics. The challenge becomes how to deconstruct bias in the data so that AI can be an effective tool to improve our lives.

Q&A with Dr Lisa Cameron MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group For Textiles and Fashion (pictured centre, here with Tamara Cincik and Kelly Tolhurst MP).

Have you seen a shift in perception of the fashion industry among parliamentarians?

Yes, there’s a surprisingly avid interest that I’ve noted amongst cross-party members regarding the fashion and textile industry. Since becoming chair and raising the APPG’s ambitions in Parliament, I’ve found widespread support for these aims across the house. 

The PR move that left Boohoo looking sheepish. An op-ed by Eleanor O'Leary

Last Friday afternoon, the press was abuzz with news that Boohoo had plans to implement a ‘wool ban’.

In a statement that seems to use the word ‘knowingly’ to suspicious effect, the brand announced that “as of AW19/20, we will not knowingly source any wool products”. PETA’s Director of Corporate Projects, Yvonne Taylor stated “PETA is toasting boohoo group's compassionate, business-savvy decision to scrap wool. Kind shoppers agree that no jumper or scarf is worth kicking, punching, and killing gentle sheep on the shearing floor, and we're urging other retailers to follow boohoo's forward-thinking example.”

From a brand that was declared as “failing to commit” by the Environmental Audit Committee in its recent investigation of British fashion brands, this move would be considered a real step in the right direction, yes?

Breaking the Fourth Wall. An op-Ed by Kshitija Mruthyunjaya

The French philosopher Denis Diderot defined the ‘fourth wall’ as an imaginary barrier that divides an audience from the world in a theatrical play. This barrier forms a setting to transport the audience into an imaginary world, away from the real world. Diderot’s concept of a ‘fourth wall’ can be used as a metaphor for the role of advertising in present-day economic system of production, distribution and consumption. There is an enormous disconnect between what Barthes calls real garment (produced) and used garment (consumed) as the represented garment (advertised/distributed) fails to mediate the truth between the producer and the consumer.

Interview with Zebedee Management: The UK’s First Inclusive Modelling Agency

Since launching in early 2017, Zebedee Management has become the UK’s first modelling agency to exclusively represent people with physical and learning disabilities. With clients including luxury womenswear brand Teatum Jones and popular high-street stores like River Island and H&M, they are fast proving that diverse casting is the future. Founded by sisters-in-law Zoe Proctor and Laura Johnson from Sheffield, the idea for their agency arose during a discussion about the severe lack of opportunities for people with disabilities. According to the pair, it was truly “a light bulb moment” while out walking their dogs. In reality, this shared desire to champion diversity was by no means a spur of the moment decision, rather it was a culmination of years working in parallel industries; where Laura is a qualified social worker with a wealth of experience working with vulnerable adults and children, Zoe is a performing arts teacher specialising in teaching people with disabilities.

Are we using our intelligence to get the best out of AI and tech? An Op-Ed by Fiona Carter

On a wet miserable February evening, a sell out crowd gathered at GCU to hear an illustrious group of speakers talk about Fashion-Tech, Disrupting business models, AI Innovations and Fashion Futures. Quite an agenda, but all with the desire to be inclusive, informative, and disruptive. Fashion has always been the enfant terrible of the business world. However, lets not forget that it provides the UK with £32 bn GDP which is over 20 times more than fisheries at £1.6bn GDP. Where is our minister for fashion, I ask?

“We want to ensure that anyone can feel heard, included and involved”: Q&A with Huda Jawad, the co-organiser of Women's March London. By Lottie Jackson

On Saturday 19 January, thousands gathered in protest of gender inequality, and more specifically to call out the economic hardship severely afflicting women in the UK. This year’s ‘Bread & Roses’ theme was an allusion to the Bread and Roses March 1912 which revolutionised working women’s rights in the United States. Protesters who congregated in Trafalgar Square witnessed a fantastic line up of speakers from the Fawcett SocietySolace Women’s Aid and the Women’s Equality Party. Following the event, I caught up with the co-organiser of Women's March London, Huda Jawad over email to discuss the ongoing role of this global, female-led movement.

January Political Intelligence

Low-Level Letter Boxes – It is indicative of our peculiar Westminster system, that in a period dominated by uncertainty around Brexit and when Parliamentary time is so precious, that debating time was allocated to a discussion about changing the height of letter boxes. Fashion Roundtable has always tried to argue that Parliament will listen to fashion, as long as they shout loudly enough, and in the right direction. So if you’re reading this and you are frustrated, write to your MP with our help, and your message will be delivered (albeit it in a higher than usual letter box). 

The Future is Bright for Fashion at 8Future Fabrics Expo. An Op-Ed by Fiona Carter

In the depths of the basement of Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square a fabric revolution is on the rise. This year sees the 8th Future Fabrics Expo move into their new 22,000 sq ft of space, having outgrown their original show space in the Eco complex Iris Studios in South West London. Future Fabrics Expo is curated by The Sustainable Angle,  a Swiss not-for-profit organisation founded and run by Nina Marenzi.  Starting in her native Switzerland in 2011, she has now made London her home because of the size and creative nature of the UK fashion market. The Sustainable Angle provides a conduit that brings manufacturers, consumers and designers together to seek best outcomes and practice through innovation and sustainability.

Why The Fashion Industry Is Awesome But What It Needs To Survive & Thrive By Jenny Holloway CEO Fashion - Enter.

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.

Sustainability In The Fashion Industry - Interim Report Analysis & Recommendations from the Environment Audit Committee. By Tamara Cincik.

Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) For Textiles and Fashion Dr Lisa Cameron MP said:  

“The work of the EAC, has highlighted the need for fuller transparency in the supply chains of the fashion industry, both within the UK and our international trading partners. The APPG for Textiles and Fashion, (which includes as Vice Chair John McNally MP who sits on the EAC) support the findings of the committee and will do all we can to ensure our work within Parliament and with our fashion industry associates, highlights the recommendations and findings of this interim report.  

Our Sustainable Fashion APPG meeting in December brought numerous leaders from sustainable, designer and fast-fashion components of the sector into Parliament to outline, share and discuss their concerns as well as offering key solutions. By bringing the fashion industry into Parliament, along with the work of the EAC, I hope that awareness amongst politicians, will lead to policy amendments and implementations which support long-term sustainable business practices.”