words Alexa Wang
The Guardian, Vogue, Twitter – everywhere you look, all you seem to see is the latest of what’s happening at London Fashion Week 2019. It’s on the lips of the who’s who of the fashion world. The phrase “London Fashion Week” seems to be dripping off the lips of celebs, VIPs, corporate leaders, and of course; yours too! It’s expected that this year’s fashion week will generate over £100 million in clothing orders, now that’s something to talk about!
Those who are lucky enough to be attending London Fashion Week in person are undoubtedly seeing the future of fashion come to life before their very eyes. They are also having a first-hand experience of the power of fashion and that’s a once-in-a-life-time opportunity…actually, it’s a privilege.
Of course, the fashion sector in the United Kingdom is somewhat of a big deal and deserves every bit reverie that it receives. After all, it does contribute a whopping £32.3 billion to the country’s GDP. The fashion industry also employs 890,000 people, which sets it squarely on par with the financial sector. But enough about the facts and figures, let’s talk about who’s there…
London Fashion Week 2019 is showcasing over 250 big fashion brands and designers, such as British fashion designer Molly Goddard, Victoria Beckham, and Rixo to name a few. Who you won’t see there are the smaller brands…the newbies to the fashion world, or those just breaking into their success. And that’s where our idea for our very own Little London Fashion Week – where small independent fashion brands and designers can showcase their work and get the attention they deserve – came to life.
Introducing Little London Week – For Fashion Entrepreneurs, Big Brands and Designers in the Making
As a company that champions small businesses and budding entrepreneurs we thought it was time that we actively got involved by shining a spotlight on those smaller, boutique brands that bring so much unique personality to the fashion industry. As a smaller designer or brand in the industry, London Fashion Week 2019’s coverage can be quite overwhelming. After all, how can you even compete with the international media coverage that the bigger brands are getting? Here’s the good news – you don’t have to. You have something unique to bring to the table and at SME Loans, we are promoting worthy brands as part of our #LittleLdnFashionWeek campaign.
What our campaign seeks to do is throw a few of the lesser known unique boutique brands and independent fashion designers, with something unique to offer, into the spotlight. Does your business fit this description? We found a few!
We spoke to 5 different budding UK based fashion entrepreneurs, whose brands each had their own unique business models and product offerings. We wanted to know what their biggest challenges were and a general theme emerged…
Most of the fashion entrepreneurs on their way to success struggled with raising finance and of course, perfecting their product prototype. One particular Little London Fashion Week contender, Deidre O’Flynn of Alice & Blair said something that rings true for most start up entrepreneurs entering their respective industries,
“Funding is a major barrier, even for successful small businesses, which is a great shame given how many touch points we have in the economy and how many jobs we create! There are some really interesting solutions beginning to be offered in the fintech space which should help lots more businesses like ours grow, so hopefully this opens up more opportunities for others to create beautiful products and of course opportunities”.
We couldn’t agree more!
Boutique Brands Ready to be Loved!
Let’s shine a spotlight on our Little London Fashion Week Contenders:
Calla Shoes, conceptualised and run by Jennifer Bailey, is a comfortable and fashionable range of shoes made for people with bunions. Jennifer’s business idea is close to her heart and when you see her range and read her story, you will know just how much heart and soul goes into her business.
Two Sisters, Laura and Rachel Beattie, were inspired by their Grandmother who in her day, created garments to fit every woman. From this, the Careaux Concept was born where dresses could be made to fit a women exactly based on their unique size and shape. Even if you are a size 6 at the top and a 10 at the bottom, Careaux has a solution to get a dress that fits you perfectly!
Doc Cotton is a unique garment production house run by James Pickard. The online service sells a range of products made from organic cotton. It also allows customers to have custom items made up for them. Fashion designers and new clothing brands can order their garments to be made up by Doc Cotton too.
Alice & Blair
Dierdre O’Flynn was inspired by none other than the character of Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl to create designer head bands and hair slides from exceptional silk and glittering Swarovski’s. Dierdre and her partner juggle Alice & Blair part time and so face many of the challenges that startup businesses do while handling the stresses of a full time job.
Emma by Jane
If you have seen Ireland’s Dragons Den airings, you might have seen Jane Asple pitching her business idea for a luxury Irish-based jewellery business called Emma by Jane. Although Jane won funding on Dragon’s Den, she decided it wasn’t the right move for her unique and special brand.
And that’s just a few of the lesser known fashion brands that deserve to be in the spotlight alongside the bigger brands and designers this London Fashion Week.
Support Fashion Brands That Are Sustainable
At SME Loans we don’t just provide small business loans to entrepreneurs. We like to provide advice and support to budding entrepreneurs just entering the market. We believe that sustainable fashion brands are the way forward and while big brands at London Fashion Week 2019 are worthy of all the praise and admiration they are getting, the “little guys” deserve our attention and support too. Shop small fashion brands that you love and you never know, soon your favourites could be featuring at London Fashion Week too!