Fashion Enter - Made In Britain
After giving a short talk at the Northern Clothing and Textile Network the other week, I decided to take up Fashion Enter's invitation to their half day trunk how in Manchester. The afternoon was a series of short talks, and gave me a nice opportunity to have a change of scenery and get on the train to go somewhere a bit different for the day.
My memories of Manchester are anything but positive, so it was nice to be able to go there and have the chance to wash them away. It was a brisk but mild morning, and I had about an hour and a half to wander around before the talk began. Oh, and the scenery from the train is pretty gorgeous, even though the Transpenine itself is rather hellish.
The street art scene in Manchester is amazing - it makes Newcastle's tired selection of graffiti look a bit dull!
Fashion Enter Director, Jenny Holloway, demonstrates one of their 'star' products. Her company has manufactured and sold over 40,000 of these dresses to their clients. I thought it looked familiar!
The best part about the afternoon, in my opinion, was being able to hear from people who are completely embedded and experienced in the fashion industry.
My fashion education was largely delivered by practicing fashion workers, but who had recently graduated and were therefore still figuring things out for themselves, let alone anyone else. The woman above (I'm sorry, I can't remember her name!) is an experienced factory worker with detailed knowledge about fabrics, cuts, shapes, fits and feels. Hearing her explain why certain garments 'work' for factories and others don't was fascinating.
This dress, for example, was not a good seller for it's eventual stockist. The factory had actually tried to dissuade them from going head with this design, because the material was incredibly difficult to smooth creases out of. The stockist insisted, and naturally, the piece didn't sell because it looked unappealing on the hanger.
Hearing Rosie from the London Fashion Agency was a bit of a #GirlBoss moment too. She explained how, when she started out, she didn't know anyone in Public Relations in London, but managed to build up a business (that now employs 10 people!) from the ground up through sheer hard work and knowledge of the subject.
The visuals for her presentation were a clear reflection of her understanding of branding and product placement, so they were great to see as an example of visual compositions for products. She also runs a PR subscription service for small businesses that is essentially a DIY toolkit for PR: it comes in at just £28/month (you could expect to pay about £1500-1800 monthly retainer for a traditional PR business). This service is particularly tailored to product-based businesses and focuses on product placement (otherwise I would have already signed up, trust me!)
As you know, I love anything that empowers small businesses with the knowledge and agency to make things happen for themselves, rather than just throwing money at problems and outsourcing- find out more on the PR Dispatch website here.
Jenny reassures me that her company is looking at hosting a similar event in our neck o the woods - up (even more) to the north! I will be blogging about it should it happen, and I will give you all a chance to book your tickets early on if I can.
Check out Fashion Enter and the London Fashion Agency online to keep u to date with what they're are doing!