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IS ANYBODY LISTENING?: The British designer fashion industry is tooting its horn at last — and hoping the state and local government will listen. The Centre for Fashion Enterprise, a business development platform that helps emerging designers, and NESTA, Britain’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, this week have released a 60-page report on the state of the 1.6 billion pound, or $2.5 billion, sector. “The U.K. designer fashion industry is neither recognized nor understood by those outside it,” said Wendy Malem, director of the CFE, in “The U.K. Designer Fashion Economy.” “The designer fashion economy is a high-end luxury industry; it is very different from the wider U.K. fashion industry, which embraces retail, clothing and fashion, as well as beauty products.”
The report, based on interviews with labels including Peter Jensen, Shirin Guild, Richard Nicoll, Erdem, Todd Lynn and Orla Kiely, not surprisingly calls British fashion designers “the most influential global players of all,” but adds that smaller businesses are struggling to grow because of lack of funds and inappropriate understanding of the value of these creative businesses.
A spokesman said the report — which has been handed to London Mayor Boris Johnson; Barbara Follet, Minister for Culture and the Creative Industries, and the London Development Agency — is aimed at formally defining the industry and securing government support and funding. Not that it hasn’t been tried before.