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British Fashion Council Hosts Inaugural Fashion Forum

The event was designed to draw together creative design talent, ceo's, entrepreneurs and politicians in a think-tank environment.

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ART MEETS COMMERCE: The British Fashion Council hosted its inaugural Fashion Forum event at Syon House in West London on Tuesday, designed to draw together creative design talent, chief executive officers, entrepreneurs and politicians in a think-tank environment.

There, speakers including designer Anya Hindmarch; Natalie Massenet, the BFC’s chairman; Jonathan Akeroyd, ceo of Alexander McQueen, and Andrew Rosen, ceo of Theory, gathered to discuss everything from the challenges of hiring a ceo to creating a sustainable business to breaking into the U.S. and Asian markets.

In a speech to wrap up the day’s events — which were held under Chatham House Rule, on an off-the-record basis — Massenet said the most “striking” observation of the day was that success “came down to culture, innovation and product,” she said. “So for everyone who got scared by digital disruption, just please remember that innovation can take many forms.” She also shared that the maxim “If you don’t have vision, you don’t have a business” was one of the day’s takeaways.

On the subject of fashion and technology, it was suggested that fashion schools should be teaching technology elements alongside fashion.

Closing the talks, Massenet said one of her goals of the day was “to change [designers’] mind-sets from designers to entrepreneurs — so designers, you are officially entrepreneurs,” she said. She added that the BFC plans to hold a similar forum “every couple of years.”