Prime Minister Theresa May and Chairman of the British Fashion Council Dame Natalie Massenet welcomed representatives from across the British fashion industry to a reception at 10 Downing Street last night.
Ahead of London Fashion Week, Theresa May emphasised the importance of the UK’s fashion industry, one of the country’s greatest success stories which contributes £28billion to Britain’s economy and supports nearly 900,000 jobs. London Fashion Week is a global showcase which welcomes guests from over 58 countries, promotes designer brands to an international audience of trade and consumers and generates orders of over £100million each season.
The Prime Minister welcomed apprentices from some of Britain’s leading fashion businesses including Charlotte Olympia, John Smedley, Private White VC and RA Smart Holdings, as well as British Fashion Council scholarship recipients and graduate traineeships from the Royal College of Art and Central St Martins.
The Prime Minister said she was delighted to meet some of Britain’s up and coming talent and talked about the Government‘s commitment to support apprentices – in the fashion industry and beyond - to go as far as their talents can take them, whatever their background.
Other guests included heads of industry, CEOs, creative directors, entrepreneurs and representatives from global retailers, media, and designer fashion brands.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “British fashion is of huge importance to our country, contributing £28bn to the UK economy and supporting nearly 900,000 jobs. I was delighted to welcome representatives from across the industry to Downing Street ahead of London Fashion Week - which is one of the biggest and most influential fashion events in the world.
“I was also pleased to welcome fashion apprentices, scholarship winners and graduate trainees who are the future of British fashion. The Government I lead will do everything we can, including providing the right investment in training and skills, to help everyone, whatever people’s backgrounds, to go as far as their talents can take them.
“I am proud to say that our British fashion industry is a global leader in trade, creativity and innovation. The value of UK fashion exports was £5.8bn in 2015 with British brands such as Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Sophia Webster in demand by international markets including the USA, Japan, France and Italy.
“From our home grown start-ups to international fashion houses – every business in the industry will play a major role in ensuring we make a success of Brexit. By taking advantage of the opportunities that leaving the EU gives us and playing to our strengths as a great trading nation - we can build a fairer economy that works for all, not just the privileged few.”
Dame Natalie Massenet said, “It was a great honour that our Prime Minister invited representatives from the fashion world to 10 Downing Street last night on the eve of London Fashion Week. This event was a sign of the ongoing value that the government places on our industry as we remain at the heart of the UK's future.
“Our designers continue to grow their businesses, embrace technology and innovate. In February, Burberry ignited the movement of "see now buy now" which was seen in NY and will now be seen in London. Our businesses are attracting audiences from 58 countries with further reach through live streamed catwalk shows to 180 countries taking the runways to a truly global audience.
“London is unique. It is a great place to live and work. It is a dynamic fashion, business, creative and cultural capital and we have no doubt we will show it at its best over the next few days”.