Caroline Rush on London show Rooms' latest edition in Tranoï Men
Few fashion incubators have as good a track record as London show Rooms, which unveils its latest edition this week in Paris. Featuring a dozen and a half young talents, including Abigail Ajobi, Carlota Barrera and Charlie Constantinou, London show Rooms will open in Tranoï Men, the well-respected, fashion forward trade salon, known for attracting a wide array of international buyers and editors.
Tranoï Men starts Thursday, January 19 for four days inside Garage Amelot in the Marais quarter of Paris.
“I am very proud to welcome London show Rooms at Tranoï Men. We have the same commitment to young creation, and our partnership allows us to present international buyers and fashion professionals with an original and strong selection. Tranoï Men is the must-attend event of the Paris Fashion Week” says Boris Provost, CEO of Tranoï.
The British Fashion Council first brought London show Rooms to Paris back in 2008. However, this season marks its first edition in Paris since the beginning of the covid pandemic.
So, we caught up with the chief executive of the British Fashion Council, which organises London show Rooms, to hear her take on this unique project, and how Brexit is impacting emerging brands from the UK.
FashionNetwork.com: What role does London show Rooms play for emerging UK designers?
Caroline Rush: The BFC London show Rooms provides an exclusive opportunity for emerging British designers to showcase their work to an international audience of press, buyers and industry professionals. We are so proud of the creative talent that London is known for and to be able to bolster fresh perspectives and promote sustainable British designers in an overseas showroom environment. Since 2008, 200 designers have been supported by the showroom.
F.N: Which audience do you hope to reach by staging London show Rooms in Paris? Buyers, Editors or Influencers? And in which ways?
C.R: Access to London show Rooms is exclusively reserved to buyers, press and fashion industry professionals. By showcasing in the Garage Amelot, we hope to fast track our emerging designers by connecting them directly to international buyers, who are able to discover and select the products and collections that reflect London’s amazing creativity. The aim is to provide them with a seamless and professional environment to purchase from the best British creative talent that London is known for.
F.N: What lessons do young brands learn from coming to Paris to show in London show Rooms?
C.R: The pop-up showroom is a strategic element of the BFC’s support and mentoring scheme. Selling in a showroom environment is a unique opportunity for buyers and designers to meet in person and this personal exchange is truly what sets our showrooms apart. It is a brilliant occasion for designers to network with buyers and provides invaluable exposure to industry insiders, who have previously seized the occasion to headhunt promising designers. Further, designers can promote their brand identity and integrate personalised feedback from professionals, which then inform both their future artistic and commercial decisions.
F.N: Why did you decide to work with Tranoi?
C.R: Tranoi is the Paris Fashion Week trade show partner and moving to the Garage Amelot is a fantastic opportunity, well known to French and international buyers. Our last showroom with Tranoi was at the Atelier Richelieu in 2020, and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship. This year in coordination with the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, the space will showcase 50 curated designers and daily catwalks in addition to the 18 emerging British designers. Its unique positioning as a designer show allows flexibility and exposure to international retailers through a dedicated live streaming service, increasing the legitimacy and exposure of our brands.
F.N: On your website, I see that London show Rooms is supported by the European Regional Development Fund. How is that possible after Brexit?
C.R: ERDF funding ended in 2022. With some support from the Department of International Trade, we have been able to move forward with this season’s London show Rooms, and we hope to secure ongoing funding for this crucial element of support for the UK’s most creative new businesses.
F.N:What more can the UK government do to aid fledgling fashion talent?
C.R: It is essential that the UK’s emerging talent is able to have access to international markets as well as business mentoring support. While the British Fashion Council raise funds through our charity to support this work, ERDF funding has been essential to support UK businesses to grow and we are in dialogue with the British Government to secure funding to continue this support. It is essential to the UK Creative economy that our government understands the challenges facing our industry from major skills shortage and gaps in technical education, the steady decline in arts education and impact this has on creative opportunities for young people. We have concerns with the immigration system and need to bring talent and workers to the UK to fill the skills shortage, as well as the lack of fashion roles on the government’s Shortage Occupation List and post Brexit the additional complications, delays and extensive additional paperwork for models, stylists and freelancers in the industry.
F.N:How has Brexit impacted emerging UK talent?
C.R: There has been a marked decline of applications from European students to study in the UK due to post study rights to work in the UK. However, we are confident that UK students will continue to bolster the sector and that the creativity and energy from our own universities, colleges and higher education establishments will continue. There are many issues from Brexit that are impacting the fashion industry and the BFC continues to discuss this directly with the government. As we enter 2023 and see the 30th anniversary of NEWGEN we remain excited about future talent from the UK.
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