London Fashion Week shows off UK industry that can compete with the world

London Fashion Week shows off UK industry that can compete with the world

Beyond, the statistics, Christopher Kane itself is evidence of the global standing of London Fashion Week.

Christopher Kane, a Scot, founded the business after graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2006.

Since then, his shows have become one of the highlights of London Fashion Week, which provided the platform for a major deal with Kering earlier this year.

Kering, the giant French luxury group which also owns Stella McCartney, Gucci, and Puma, bought a 51pc stake in Christopher Kane in January.

The financial power of Kering looks to have already had an impact on the Scottish designer. Alongside the fashion show on Monday, Christopher Kane announced plans to open its first ever store, which will be based on Mount Street in London.

Alexis Babeau, head of Kering’s luxury division, said: “Our goal was to take the brand to the next to the level, to protect the brand, and to protect the creativity of Christopher and his sister Tammy.”

The tie-up between a French luxury conglomerate and a Scottish designer from Motherwell is an example of the high-regard that the British fashion industry is held in.

“London Fashion Week is a unique opportunity for the talented British designers to show their designs to the world, and trigger investments from companies such as Kering,” Mr Babeau added.

According to the Kering boss, the UK is a “fantastic place” for fashion education thanks to the likes of Central Saint Martin, the Royal College of Art, and the London College of Fashion. He also claimed that Government backing for the sector is “conducive” to its success, a rare type of praise for a UK industry.

The UK fashion industry is now worth £21bn to the economy and supports 816,000 jobs. Over the last decade, sales of UK designer clothing have risen 20pc a year thanks to the success of companies such as Burberry and growing demand from emerging middles class populations in Asia.

However, the focus on London as a centre of fashion is not just based on the designers based in the city, but the customers who spend their money in it.

Wealthy Middle Eastern, Russian, and Chinese shoppers are pouring money into designer stores in London’s most exclusive retail destinations, such as Mount Street and Bond Street.

As a consequence, companies such as French handbag maker Longchamp are choosing to open their biggest store in Europe on Regent Street.

Jean Cassegrain, chief executive of Longchamp, said: “London is London but it is also the UK and the world.”

London is always likely to be a key focus for Burberry, given how pivotal its British heritage is to the brand.

However, speaking after the company’s star-studded London Fashion Week show at Kensington Gardens, even Burberry’s chief executive Angela Ahrendts acknowledged the importance of retail tourists to London

“London is still where people want to travel to,” Ms Ahrendts said.

The Burberry boss said that the economy “seems to be turning a corner”, but accepted that Burberry may not be the best indicator of this because “so much of our business is tourism”.

In London, much of that retail tourism heads for the famous department store based around the corner from Burberry’s fashion show, Harrods.

In a further example of the standing of Britain’s luxury brands, it is understood that the woman who runs Harrods is poised to take control of one of New York’s best-known shops, Saks Fifth Avenue.

According to reports in the US, Marigay McKee, chief merchant at Harrods, will be named president of Saks Fifth Avenue.

After the success of London Fashion Week, her appointment would be a further sign that in fashion at least, Britain has an industry that can compete with the world’s best.

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