Digital competency and a greater opening up of the industry through technology, was at the heart of a briefing delivered by Natalie Massenet ahead of the official start of London Fashion Week tomorrow.
As chairman of the British Fashion Council (BFC), Massenet (who also collects her Damehood from Buckingham Palace tomorrow) reflected on the successes seen in London over the three years of her tenure, weighting much of that towards the digital space.
“It is exciting to see so much talk of a new focus on the consumer, a re-thinking of the platforms we can use to engage with them and an embracing of change. From the outset of my time as chairman we have been championing opening up our world and sharing the experience – so many designers have supported that vision including Burberry’s recent news that shines such a strong light on our leadership in this field. We are very proud that this started in London,” she remarked.
“We were the first capital to live stream our shows from our central venue in 2009 making London now a capital for fashion and technology. As an organisation we are fiercely proud of that reputation – FashTech is essential to growth in our sector and it keeps us well ahead of the competition.
“Living and breathing in the digital world informs everything that we do. As an organisation we amplify our events to a global audience through live streaming, social media and content distribution. This season we will be taking the world of London Fashion Week to outdoor digital screens in London and around the UK thanks to Ocean Outdoor and Land Securities (with viewing figures of beyond 37 million people over the week). Our sponsor Sunglass Hut are powering content into over 3,000 of their global stores and giving our international guests an incredible welcome in Terminal 5.
“In addition to this, the majority of designers questioned in our recently conducted survey are now online compared with a much smaller numbers three years ago. 97% of our designers are on Instagram, 87% on Facebook and 86% on Twitter, reaching millions of fashion fans across the world – importantly they are all starting to embrace e-commerce and via all of their social platforms, engage with and listen to their customer.”
Her focus at the BFC has been to reposition British fashion in the global economy as one that champions creativity, innovation and business, she added. At last official count, the industry was worth £26bn to the UK economy and employed 800,000 people.
“I believe that London is really the greatest fashion capital in the world, the centre of creative talent, a hub of technological innovation and a vibrant business community – with Fashion Week at its creative and commercial heart – attended by thousands and watched by millions worldwide,” she said.
She also announced she will stay on as chairman of the BFC for another year. “We are of course ambitious and there is much more to do.”