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Young designers flock to UKFT Rise StartUp Fashion event
Jan '14
Over 200 of the brightest entrepreneurs in UK fashion gathered to hear invaluable advice from some of the most influential figures in fashion, including representatives from Karen Millen, Ted Baker, Orla Kiely, Stylist magazine, Etsy and Harrods.

Organised by UKFT Rise in collaboration with StartUp Britain and held at RBS headquarters, the day was designed to cover all aspects of growing a business in fashion.

The ambitious group heard invaluable advice and tips, from building a team and developing strong supplier relationships, to sourcing finance and brand marketing.

Patrick Grant gave the audience a fascinating insight into his journey from purchasing the struggling Saville Row tailor Norton & Sons, to reviving the business as fashion’s go-to bespoke suit service, and launching ready to wear range E.Tautz. Captivated, the crowd listened to his honest account of the many challenges, as he urged them to keep pursuing their passions.

With a wealth of experience in the retail industry, Mike Shearwood, CEO of Aurora Fashions and Karen Millen shared his insight: “Don’t let your customer dictate your product because they won’t know what they want until you put it in front of them,” he said. On the topic of collaborations and celebrity endorsements, he advised: “Be careful with who and what you associate your business with.”

Rob Forkan, Co-Founder of Gandy’s Flip Flops had the audience gripped with the compelling story of his brand, which was launched following the tragic death of his parents in the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. “You can take a negative and turn it into a positive,” he told the crowd of the work his company are doing to help orphans around the world.

Dermott Rowan, Co-founder and CEO or Orla Kiely urged the audience to put pressure on Government for funding, as they did when he and his wife first launched the now iconic brand. He also stressed the importance of reaching out to others in the industry, including the UKFT who he said can provide a wealth of knowledge and support. 

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UK Fashion & Textile Association

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