February 25, 2015 

Working in London’s East End: The Trampery Fashion Hub

Based in London Fields the Fashion Hub is a collaboration between London College of Fashion, The Trampery, and Hackney Community College.
The Trampery is a London-based social enterprise that helps to facilitate entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation. The Trampery opened the first shared workspace in Shoreditch, in 2009, at the heart of London’s “Tech City”.

The Trampery

LCF worked with Trampery, it’s Patron HRH the Duke of York, founder Charles Armstrong, the Barbican Centre and Groupe Publicisto open the Trampery London Fields, Fashion Hub.

Launched to help support the next generation of fashion design talent by providing access to flexible spaces, facilities, expertise and solutions which historically have been scarce in the industry.

“It’s so encouraging to see creative communities working together to strengthen the opportunities for emerging British talent,” said British Fashion Council CEO Caroline Rush. “By creating stimulating and supportive environments, social enterprises like The Trampery are really helping to bolster the strength and future of fashion in the UK.”

The hub is currently occupied by emerging British design talent; Holly Fulton, Lou Dalton, James Long, Ellen Kern, Charlie May and Danielle Foster.

February 23, 2015 

London Fashion Week 2015

The scene for this season’s London Fashion week was set by the memorial service for Professor Louise Wilson OBE who, as head of the MA at Central St Martin’s, had had a seminal influence on the development of fashion talent and the positioning of London as one of the major fashion capitals.

j moon
J Moon – Fashion Shout 2015

Representatives of the global fashion industry as well as her graduates attended her memorial on the first day of LFW. It was a celebration of her contribution to the fashion industry as well as that of fashion on contemporary life.

It also made me reflect on how talent emerges onto the catwalk and into the shops. Attending numerous shows and presentations over the weekend it underscored how well London grows its talent. Talent needs an ecosystem of support to survive. In London you can see recently graduated emerging talent at Fashion Scout. I went to see LCF graduates J Moon and Maryanna Jungman.

Mariana Jungmann
Mariana Jungman

Here designers are provided with a platform to develop their collections and learn how to sustain quality of ideas and production over several collections away from the safer environment that a fashion education provides. Without Fashion Scout nurturing these designers and providing them with this opportunity it would be hard for new talent to gain the necessary and hard won experience of showcasing.

Alongside the young designers are the fresh-faced fashion photographers, PRs, journalists and illustrators all cutting their teeth on supporting and promoting the designers in putting on their presentations and shows. After their time at somewhere like Fashion Scout designers can emerge onto the schedules of for example Fashion East or gain support from NewGen and then ultimately find their way onto the main LFW programme.

Whilst the London factor can be summed up visually as with Sibling’s which was spikey, punk and uncompromising its in material, colour and shape or Sophia Webster’s installation where acrobatic models and cosmic sets provided an extraordinary showcase for her equally arresting shoes. For me it’s how London nurtures it’s talent that sets it apart from other fashion cities.

February 18, 2015 

Working in London’s East End: Centre for Fashion Enterprise

Centre for Fashion Enterprise (CFE) is London’s pioneering Fashion Business Incubator based in Hackney on Mare Street.

CFE facilitates small and medium enterprise development through a considered development strategy.

By way of a four-level programme offering, CFE provides expert guidance in the fields of finance, legal, manufacturing and marketing, strategic advice on progressive business solutions and bespoke mentoring from industry leaders and key influencers.

CFE helps designers to understand their vision, USP and IP, unlocking business potential and supporting SMEs to gain national and international foothold for their businesses. CFE provides the tools for designers, manufacturers and buyers, to ultimately reach economic sustainability.

Successes include Erdem, Richard Nicoll, Peter Pilotto, Meadham Kirchhoff and Mary Katrantzou, all of which have presented at London Fashion Week.

Video: London Collections: Men
London College of Fashion MA 2015 at the The Welsh Chapel.

Which brings me to the LCF MA15 season, which is currently showcasing student work from the Graduate School from December 2014 – February 2015. MA15 is taking place during London Collections: Men and London Fashion Week this year. Find out more on the LCF Channel, a hub for event listings and catwalk livestreams, as well as the latest news and student profiles.

February 17, 2015 

Politics and Fashion

In September last year I spoke with Lois McNay Professor of Political Theory at University of Oxford. We spoke about the intersection of politics and fashion, and investigated what fashion means for the politics of identity, the often difficult relationship between fashion and feminism, and the apparent contradictions between fashion as a vehicle for self-expression and fashion as the commodified product of exploitative global supply chains.

Jiajie Lin
Jiajie Lin. BA (Hons) Fashion Photography 2015

The Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF), a UAL Research Centre based at the college is championing a discussion around politics and fashion.

CSF is co-secretariat to an All Party Parliamentary Group in the House of Lords, and will be hosting a panel discussion there next Tuesday. Read more here…

Read the transcript of my in-conversation with Lois McNay here…

February 16, 2015 

A New Silk Road

This week the college will be showing graduates from its MA courses at Victoria House and graduates from its womenswear MA at The Wallace Collection. They are joining an industry that is now represented in all continents. It is an industry that is linked by fashion weeks and fashion cities that criss-cross our world in what I have come to view as a contemporary Silk Road.
LCF Menswear show 2015
London Collections:Men London College of Fashion at the Welsh Chapel February 2015

No longer a network of roads our 21st century Silk Road is linked by airplanes and social media. The Silk Road was always about a sharing and dissemination of political and cultural ideas and ideologies. It enabled and supported cross-cultural contacts to develop and encouraged different cultures to adapt and adopt different styles and influences.

Now fashion is a central component of a modern metropolis. It is a crucial form of urban expression, our contemporary Silk Road of instagram and twitter, fashion shows and films, achieves the same social and cultural integration and transmission that Marco Polo pioneered at a record breaking speed. Its an extraordinary web of influences that our students are entering and its going to be fascinating to see how their ideas, designs, artefacts and creations will spread around the world.

Follow the story on Twitter #LCFMA15

February 11, 2015 

Working in London’s East End: Green Spaces

As promised, in my post about the V&A Sackler Lecture, I’d like to profile some of the work the college is doing in London’s East End; projects, innitiatives and partnerships we hope to build on. This week is Green Week at the college and UAL so I thought I’d start with the fantastic work the LCF Green Council have been doing over the past few years around our green spaces.

The Cordwainers Community Garden is based at the College’s Mare Street site in Hackney.

Cordwainers Community Garden

Since early 2011 we have built seventeen raised beds which are used as allotments for local people and students at the college. We have also dug a mixed border for wildlife-friendly plants as well as fruit bushes and trees, and planted an Urban Orchard. Heirloom varieties of apple trees planted include, amongst others, the delicious sounding London Pippin, Cornish Aromatic and Barnack Beauty.

LCF students and staff have also worked with the community to build a dye bed to grow natural dyes, which are being used to dye fabrics.

Flax Garment

Since May last year students and staff involved with the LCF Garden have been collaborating with the Cordwainers Community Garden and Seeds of Fashion, with the goal of growing a fashion garment from flax seeds within the M25.

The rear of the garden has been left as a wild space, where we have built a pond to encourage biodiversity. We keep two beehives here and will also be putting up bat boxes, to support the local wildlife and biodiversity. We are in the process of building a shed from recycled materials as well as a plastic bottle greenhouse.The garden is maintained and run wholly by volunteers. Ages range from about 20 to about 70.

Good quality green space is a vital element of a civilized urban environment, and the benefits of green space are so many; for recreation, play and contemplation. The Community Garden is the home of many inspiring initiatives and sparks the imagination of our students and staff.

Recently our Sustainability Coordinator Rosie Willatt ran a competition ‘LCF Green Thoughts’ to inspire students to think about Sustainability in relation to fashion.

If you are interested in joining the LCF Green Council please contact:
Rebecca Doolan r.doolan@fashion.arts.ac.uk
Rosie Willatt r.willatt@fashion.arts.ac.uk

February 3, 2015 

The V&A Sackler Lecture

The V&A Sackler Lecture celebrates the legacy of the Museum’s founding director Henry Cole and explores its implications for museums, culture and society today. This year I was invited to participate in the lecture which was given by Boris Johnson Mayor of London, who expanded on his vision to transform the Olympic Park into a world class hub for culture and the creative industries.

V&A Sackler Lecture 2015

UAL aims to be part of this new creative hub along with the V&A, Sadler’s Wells and the Smithsonian by moving London College of Fashion, to Stratford Waterfront, or as Boris terms it ‘Olympicopolis’.

This will be a wonderful opportunity as it will allow us to bring the College’s activities together for the first time onto one site, and to build on the work that we are already doing. We already have significant connections with over forty organisations in the East London area, which focus on industry, schools and community groups. Over the coming weeks I will profile these projects once a week here on my blog.

January 27, 2015 


Florence is a truly beautiful city. Famous for it’s history, its not just the stunning architecture that reminds us of it’s historical importance as the birth place of the Renaissance. The human scale is something missing in many of our 21st century cities. Not to mention the encircling hills, the river, the quality of light and the enthusiasm and warmth of its peoples, where any aspect of life seems worthy of a proper and full discussion.

Reception Polimoda
Reception area at Polimoda

For me there is an over-riding sense of legacy. It’s a place that is driven by its history, more than anywhere else I have visited, by its unique and extraordinary cultural and creative influence on subsequent generations. What I found interesting was how this legacy of beauty and quality influences all aspects of life; food, wine, conversation, clothes. All seem touched by the idea that if you are going to do anything in life then this should reflect quality however that might be defined. It’s the perfect city for reflection; for ideas, for making you question how and why you do something, to what ends and for what purpose.

In May, Polimoda Florence’s fashion education institution is hosting the forthcoming IFFTI Annual Conference on fashion education.

Utilizing venues throughout the city e.g. Basillica of Santa Croce or the Museo Marino Marini, the conference will allow fashion educators to explore the ideas and concepts of history, tradition, great art and creators’ impact on cultural life both as restrictions and liberators of creativity. It’s a perfect combination.

January 20, 2015 

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

Coco Chanel

January 9, 2015 

London Collections: Men

This week we hosted our inaugural standalone menswear MA catwalk, kicking off the first official day of the autumn 2015 edition of London Collections: Men.

Welsh Chapel

Separating for the first time from the womenswear show, the 12 recent Fashion Design Technology Menswear graduates revealed their collections at a catwalk show held at The Former Welsh Chapel in London, in front of industry figures and key buyers including Browns chief executive Simon Burstein.

Watch the video here…

© 2015 Frances Corner