Professor Angela McRobbie, Goldsmiths introduces De-Centralising London As Fashion’s Epicentre | Part One – the first of two articles reporting on her research into the key issues facing young fashion designers wanting to set up their own label.
For the last 12 months and as part of our second series of research investigations, the Goldsmiths Fashion CREATe team have been looking at the rise of e-commerce, how it impacts on small fashion designers, how it changes the geography of fashion production and consumption, and what it means for IP and copyright. While at the top end there are plenty of funds available to employ the best tech minds to transform the major luxury labels into social media phenomena and to develop glossy e-retail sites, and while fast fashion has also showed itself well positioned to adjust to the challenge of not just sales but complex processes of delivery (eg Zalando based in Berlin, Net a Porter founded in 2000 in London and now Yoox Net a Porter having been bought over by the Italian giant Yoox in 2015), we wanted to know what the reality was for smaller organisations.
We have been interviewing a sample, across this range of fashion companies, of high end, fast fashion and micro-producers in our three cities, London, Berlin and Milan. As ever with this kind of research, gaining access has been a difficult business, however we met Not Just a Label at a conference hosted by the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and we have since formed a strong collaboration with the London-based company which has pioneered on two fronts, first by setting up e-sales platforms for a tightly curated range of unique independent designers on a global basis, and second through editorial content attempting to transform some of seemingly fixed principles of the fashion sector. The two articles from the CREATe project emphasise the potential for localising fashion while also introducing a radical social agenda.