MBA students from London Business School have teamed up with the British Fashion Council to develop business strategies that will help new British design talent establish independent brands.
Five teams of MBA students paired with five entrepreneurial young British Fashion Council-sponsored designers: Osman, Zoe Jordan, Georgia Hardinge, Jonathan Sauders and Christopher Raeburn. During a two-week programme, the students helped the designers to address their main business challenges and consider the best solutions to help them to sustain and grow their independent brands.
Students worked with the designers to understand aspects such as supply chain management, distribution channels, financing and marketing, particularly looking at areas to scale their business. At the end of the programme, students presented their business recommendations in a session held at London Business School.
Many of the students and designers have now formed longer-term relationships to continue the development of their exciting fashion brands.
Meghana Gandhi, an MBA2016 student at London Business School, is one student that took part in the programme. She says her team is planning to continue working with the designer Christopher Raeburn. “I think the more projects like this, the more we [MBAs] can prove to the [fashion] industry that we can add a tremendous amount of value to their businesses. I hope that the designers who participated in this programme (and others) look at the areas where they need support and involve MBAs in some of those areas. It’s a partnership that benefits both parties.”
Jeff Skinner, Executive Director, Deloitte Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, London Business School, said: “The partnership with the British Fashion Council has provided an opportunity for students with an interest in the luxury sector to gain experience by applying business principles to the fashion industry. In return, designers gain business-critical insight from commercially-minded MBAs. This is an invaluable experience for both parties. We hope many of the partnerships formed will continue.”
Amanda Dargan, another London Business School MBA2016 student involved in the programme, says the opportunities presented by the experience have given her and other MBAs the chance to put classroom theory into practice: “We were able to use the knowledge from our operations management classes to recommend production and process improvements, as well as apply the frameworks and skills learned in our marketing core class and brand management elective.”
This is the second project London Business School and the British Fashion Council have collaborated on together; the programme was created in response to London Business School and the British Fashion Council’s ‘Commercialising Creativity’ report, which highlights the importance of commercial guidance and specialist business partners for up and coming designers.