GRADUATE FASHION FOUNDATION X FASHION CROSSOVER LONDON
In 2020, Fashion Crossover London(FCL) became the official partner of Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) and Graduate Fashion Foundation(GFF). To celebrate the partnership and the graduate season, an exclusive evening reception was held in conjunction with the UK Fashion & Textiles Association (UKFT). Pictured here is Since Wang, Founder of FCL, next to President of GFF, Hilary Alexander OBE, GFW Lifetime Patron, Dame Zandra Rhodes.
GFF annually presents Graduate Fashion Week, the largest showcase of BA fashion in the world with over 95 of the most influential and inspiring UK and international universities and colleges on show. The annual Graduate Fashion Week event, held every June attracts 30,000 guests, features 22 catwalk shows, as it represents the future of creative design talent and showcases the work of over 3500+ of the very best fashion graduates each year.
GRADUATE FASHION FOUNDATION
Graduate Fashion Foundation is a charitable organisation founded in 1991 by Jeff Banks CBE, Vanessa Denza MBE and John Walford to unify both UK and international universities and create a stronghold for the creative industries to find the best talent. GFF aim's remains the same today; dedication to encouraging young people, helping them find employment and get the best start possible in the fashion industry.
To mark the 25th anniversary of GFW, Christopner Bailey MBE, Victoria Beckham OBE, Nick Knight OBE and Dame Vivienne Westwood DBE RDI were announced as the first Lifetime Patrons. In 2018, internationally acclaimed designer Diane Von Furstenberg and business woman Nadja Swarovski joined as Lifetime Patrons, and in 2019 Dame Zandra Rhodes DBE RDI joined as the seventh Lifetime Patron.
What is Fashion Crossover London?
Fashion Crossover London is a London-based multi-service designer platform including virtual & physical PR showroom, e-commerce and online community that connects emerging designers with the fashion industry and consumers in a multitude of ways. In 2020, Fashion Crossover London is honoured to be the official partner of Graduate Fashion Week and Graduate Fashion Foundation.Why did you develop the platform?
Growing up in China, the fashion industry was very secluded. I had to go to the underground market just to get my hands on a fashion magazine. I moved to London to pursue my studies at Central Saint Martins, but upon graduation, I just like many others fell into the arms of the ruthless fashion industry without any support. With Fashion Crossover London, I wanted to bridge the gap between East and West, as well as create a hub for the most innovative designers.Left: Fashion Crossover London designers; Vincent Lapp, Alice Pons, Aurelie Fontan. Ann Marr Central Saint Martins Programme Director of Textile, Jewellery and Material. Right: Hilary Alexander OBE, President of Graduate Fashion Foundation.Left: Laurian Davies MBE, UKFT, Nigel Rust, Business Mentor and Coach. Right: Peter Cowley, President of the European Business Angels network.Can you tell us a little about how did you began your career in fashion? Did you always set out to start your own business?
I began my career in fashion since my student years, I was working as sales assistant for brands such as Prada, Dior and Coach in their flagship stores, boutiques and concessions including department stores Harrods and Selfridges. After graduation, I fought for a working visa sponsorship to stay active in the UK fashion industry as an international brand manager, leading a sales team of up to 30 and running over 60 brands that included Jean Paul Gaultier, Red Valentino, and Fendi.
I never thought that I would have my own business, it only happened through years of work experiences in the industry, I found the consumer need and market gap which led me to develop the designer platform Fashion Crossover London.www.fashioncrossover-london.com
Jenny Campbell, Dragons Den.
What are your responsibilities from day to day?
I am overseeing every aspect in the business, including the daily operation of our Sales team, PR Showroom team, Marketing team and Finance team. I also actively get involve with designers and industry meetings, in addition to showroom appointments with important press and buyers. How do you support graduates and emerging designers?
We launched the Graduate Talent Programme since 2015, to promote graduate designers and their collections to our extensive contact of stylists, magazine editors, social media influencers and buyers in order to help them gain media exposure, press coverage and commercial sales opportunities.
After the internal screening, we provide the successful applicants with our complimentary Flagship Online Showcase Service, with two optional add on features:
1. Online Selling For graduate designer to sell their sample pieces or to sell as made to order internationally through e-commerce.
2. London PR Showroom For graduate designers to display their collection in our showroom with more than 300 press appointments opportunity. How does Fashion Crossover scout new designers to represent?
When we are scouting for new designers, we look at their brand story, design and making process, lookbook and business plan. We have the online application form for new designers to submit all the materials that we request. After the internal review, the successful designer shall receive a formal invitation to join our platform.What packages do you offer to emerging talent and what are the price points?
Through our Graduate Talent Programme, we offer the successful candidate the complimentary online showcasing of their collection, for the additional two features of online selling and London PR showroom, the starting price is from £250 per year. Left: Hilary Alexander OBE, President of Graduate Fashion Foundation -Right Zandra Rhodes DBE, RDI and Hilary Alexander OBE, President of Graduate Fashion Foundation.What skills do you think young aspiring designers need in 2020 that might not have been as important when you started out?
Visual presentation skill and content creation skills are vital for young designers, in addition to being able to present the design process and behind the scene story of the collection by using different media outlets. What advice do you have for someone leaving university and entering the industry on how to find their feet as a designer?
As a new joiner to the industry, one has to be open to try new opportunities, be open to position oneself in different roles by working in the industry. A new designer would have to be persistent in promoting his or her graduate collection. It is also advisable to keep creating new collections, even if it means only creating a few new pieces at a time. What are some aspects of the showroom/pr world that might be surprising or unexpected to graduates considering their careers?
Here is a real story of the unexpected celebrity opportunity that just happened in February. Our showroom received two requests from the Lady GaGa’s red carpet and fashion creative styling teams at the same time. You never know who will be approaching you, but you will need to be ready and open to all different type of opportunities, and most of the time in the PR world, you just need one contact to bring you to the fashion elite circle. Left: Fashion Crossover London Designer: Viola Menchini. Right: Anne Marr, Central Saint Martins Programme Director of Textile, Jewellery and Material.Across many industries there has been exponential change in the last 5 years, from representation, awareness of sustainability, and the digital revolution. What is the biggest change in your sector?
In the fashion sector, we have seen that more and more designers are focusing on sustainability from making the sample to presenting the collection. Such as one of our designers, the Dame Vivienne Westwood Sustainable and Ethical Award winner Aurelie Fontan. Her collection has close ties with circular economy and Aurelie follows the bio-couture pioneer, Senior Research Fellow at CSM Suzanne Lee’s footprint on growing her own fabric from living microorganisms. Another designer from our 2019 Graduate Talent Programme, Timothee Gleize Ouali, this Royal College of Art alumnus pursued a more sustainable way of designing through digital method. It allows him to cut down waste, as he mostly did the design, prototyping, and print placement solely on the computer. He created a video game VR movement for his final collection presentation, it allies new ways of designing and presenting VR while respecting the product and craft, which needs to be preserved and celebrated.