A Family Affair:
A Conversation With Caroline Rush
For the second phase of our A Family Affair project, we’ve invited the British Fashion Council to guest edit our offering, selecting twelve of the brightest young British talents to support and celebrate. Sharing her expertise on the industry, CEO Caroline Rush chats to us about the importance of British fashion and how we can best support our designers during this challenging time.
Why is young talent so vital to the fashion industry, but also British culture at large?
British talent specifically is known as the global talent pool for the industry. We’re known to have the best fashion and art colleges in the world, and the very best creative talents come here. You go to most territories and there’s a whole alumni of designers that have been educated within the UK and have very fond memories of the impact that’s had on their careers. That of course translates into the businesses that start here. Often it’s international students who have studied here and then been so inspired by the creative industries and culture within the UK, as well as the support and the pathways that we have for talent here, that they’ve decided to stay here and benefit from this.
What inspires you most about working with fresh talent?
That they always have a fresh perspective! It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the industry - you meet new designers who always look at new things through a slightly different lens and have a new take on things. At the moment I think I’m particularly inspired by those designers that put sustainability at the heart of their business. It’s something that we talk about as an industry, but this generation of designers live and breathe it.
BFC New Gen designers
Of the brands selected to participate in our “A Family Affair” collaboration, can you share any particular memorable moments?
You’ve got Richard Quinn which of course is how we got the Queen to London Fashion Week, which was an incredibly special moment. Not even just her being there, but also the run up to it and liaising with Richard through that whole moment. There were only about six people in the whole world that knew that the Queen was coming to London Fashion Week! On top of that, seeing Priya Ahluwalia and Nicholas Daley as part of the LVMH prize shortlisted designers. It was great to see them in that context and to hear so many international opinion formers be so inspired by those two young designers.
What advice would you offer in the current circumstances?
Continue to shop with our British designers. The cash flow from that business is what will sustain them for the future. Buying their collections and being one of their lifetime fans will be the best way that you can support them.
A message of solidarity from Asai
Can you tell us a little more about the BFC’s recently announced plans to host a co-ed digital fashion week? How can designers take advantage of this opportunity?
Absolutely - we launched a gender neutral digital fashion week as a way to bring together designers appealing to all different identities and as an opportunity to tell stories. We’re not expecting it to be all about hardship - although there is a lot of hardship during this time - but also the inspiration and creativity which is what gets us all so addicted to the fashion industry. Our designers have that in bucketloads, so being able to see where their inspiration comes from will be really exciting and engaging.
It’s actually such a progressive strategy - we talk about digital and synthesizing mens and womens, and now our designers are actually going to do this.
Absolutely, and they’re exactly the right generation to do it, and to show that with great creativity what you can do doesn’t necessarily mean enormous budgets. It’s just about having a perspective and a creative view and being connected with your audience, whether that’s industry or consumer, through a digital format. We’re super excited.
Paria Farzaneh’s SS20 show, an Iranian wedding