The Prime Minister and the London Mayor welcome LFW

The UK is open and ready for business states Prime Minister Theresa May and London Mayor Sadiq Khan as the schedule officially commences…

Prime Minister Theresa May and Chairman of the British Fashion Council (BFC) Dame Natalie Massenet held an industry reception at 10 Downing Street to celebrate the important contribution of the fashion sector and to mark the start of London Fashion Week.

The fashion industry has been quoted as the UK’s success story contributing £28billion to Britain’s economy and supporting nearly 900,000 jobs. London Fashion Week is pivotal to this and promotes designer brands on a global stage generating orders of over £100million each season.

The Prime Minister welcomed apprentices from some of Britain’s leading fashion businesses including Charlotte Olympia, John Smedley, Private White VC and RA Smart Holdings, as well as BFC scholarship recipients and graduate traineeships from the Royal College of Art and Central St Martins.

Prime Minister Theresa May with apprentices and scholarship winners; from L-R: Callum Brooke (Burberry Apprentice), Emma Sheldon (RA Smart Holdings), Mark Glasgow (Graduate Traineeship Winner), Hannah Porter (Graduate Traineeship Winner), Prime Minister Theresa May, Nabil El-Nayal (MA Scholarship Winner), Serena Gili (MA Scholarship Winner), Tom Chapman (Private White V.C Apprentice), Sam Lavelle (John Smedley Apprentice).

Other guests included heads of industry, CEOs, creative directors, entrepreneurs and representatives from global retailers, media, and designer fashion brands.

Prime Minister Theresa May, Natalie Massenet with BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund Winners and Fund Supporter, Christopher Bailey; from L-R: Peter Pilotto, Christopher De Vos, Mary Katrantzou, Prime Minister Theresa May, Natalie Massenet, Christopher Bailey, Sophia Webster, Nicholas Kirkwood.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

  • British fashion is of huge importance to our country, contributing £28bn to the UK economy and supporting nearly 900,000 jobs. I was delighted to welcome representatives from across the industry to Downing Street ahead of London Fashion Week - which is one of the biggest and most influential fashion events in the world.
  • “I was also pleased to welcome fashion apprentices, scholarship winners and graduate trainees who are the future of British fashion. The Government I lead will do everything we can, including providing the right investment in training and skills, to help everyone, whatever people’s backgrounds, to go as far as their talents can take them.
  • “I am proud to say that our British fashion industry is a global leader in trade, creativity and innovation. The value of UK fashion exports was £5.8bn in 2015 with British brands such as Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Sophia Webster in demand by international markets including the USA, Japan, France and Italy.
  • “From our home grown start-ups to international fashion houses – every business in the industry will play a major role in ensuring we make a success of Brexit. By taking advantage of the opportunities that leaving the EU gives us and playing to our strengths as a great trading nation - we can build a build a fairer economy that works for all, not just the privileged few.”

Dame Natalie Massenet said:

  • It was a great honour that our Prime Minister invited representatives from the fashion world to 10 Downing Street last night on the eve of London Fashion Week. This event was a sign of the ongoing value that the government places on our industry as we remain at the heart of the UK's future.
  • “Our designers continue to grow their businesses, embrace technology and innovate. In February, Burberry ignited the movement of "see now buy now" which was seen in NY and will now be seen in London. Our businesses are attracting audiences from 58 countries with further reach through live streamed catwalk shows to 180 countries taking the runways to a truly global audience.
  • “London is unique. It is a great place to live and work. It is a dynamic fashion, business, creative and cultural capital and we have no doubt we will show it at its best over the next few days”.

With London Fashion Week firmly on the radar Mayor Sadiq Khan was keen to add his thoughts:

  • “London Fashion Week begins today, showing that London is open to the world and is an international leader of creativity and entrepreneurship. There’s a fantastic range of designers and talent on the schedule this season, highlighting the very best the industry has to offer – from big brands to independent retailers, the London fashion scene has never been more diverse. The fashion industry epitomises all that is great about the capital and I’m delighted to see the British Fashion Council bring the industry together to support our #LondonIsOpen campaign.”

London is a fashion, business and cultural capital and is open for business. The British Fashion Council is supporting Mayor Sadiq Khan’s #LondonIsOpen campaign.