BFC urges British talent to close creative business gap

The British Fashion Council (BFC) has unveiled a report commissioned in collaboration with London Business School (LBS) highlighting the importance of commercial guidance and specialist business partners for up and coming designers.


The new report, ‘Commercialising Creativity – Creating a Model for Success for British Fashion Designers’, reveals the commercial secrets of success for creative fashion businesses. 

The report’s seven key recommendations to designers are:

  • Behave as a business 
  • Recognise the importance of product development 
  • Develop the brand’s identity and support it with a marketing and communications plan 
  • Understand and address the challenges of production 
  • Develop a focused sales and distribution strategy 
  • Understand the importance of cashflow, funding and financing 
  • Secure specialist business partners 

The report is available online as an industry guide for fashion designers. 

The authors of the report, Alessandra Basso and Alejandra Caro, MBA students from London Business School, say: “The aim of this report is to share the knowledge and experience that exists within the fashion industry with young designers who are starting their own businesses. The enormous support we have received from the British Fashion Council and the industry’s stakeholders further affirms the importance for young creative talents to think about fashion with a business perspective. We hope that our findings will support our creative peers in achieving commercial success.

As part of the BFC’s focus to create the best environment in which to start and develop fashion businesses, this report aims to assist start-up and emerging designer businesses to adopt the mind set of both designer and entrepreneur and to develop focused and well considered business plans.

The report also makes recommendations for the British Fashion Council and the Government, arguing that it should consider tax incentives for fashion design businesses as well as access to funding to help designers grow. The fashion industry, which employs 800,000 people annually and generates £26 billion, has the potential to fill a high-end gap in the market.

Through interviews with a broad range of designers, businesses and industry stakeholders, including Sian Westerman, Rothschild; Andrea O’Donnell, Lane Crawford; Christopher Suarez, Nicholas Kirkwood; Helen David and Jason Broderick, Harrods; Marigay McKee, Saks Fifth Avenue, the report offers recommendations for Designers, the British Fashion Council and Government. 

Caroline Rush, CEO of the BFC commented: “We commissioned this report as a guide for designers who are thinking about or have recently decided to set up their own designer fashion business. It provides a check list for young designers and will help them evaluate the kind of business they want to be and the questions they should be addressing from the start. 

“Our ambition is that future generations of designers will understand how to create a business plan and source investment in the same way the tech industry does.” 

The report includes case studies on the success behind British designers Nicholas Kirkwood and Mary Katrantzou and the authors’ view on how British global brands Jimmy Choo and Stella McCartney found their unique selling points.