LONDON — The British Fashion Council is flexing its muscles with the creation of a new platform to promote its designers’ pre-collections, and a plan to extend London Fashion Week from its current six days.
This month, the BFC launched London Pre-Collections, londonpre.com, a micro-site on the larger London Fashion Week one, with information on British designers who offer pre-collections. Going forward, the BFC plans to build out the project, with multiple marketing initiatives to promote the mid-season collections.
“We have got to start earlier in the season, and we have to help the retailers and the press,” said Harold Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council and the owner of labels including Jaeger and Aquascutum. “If you are buying a brand, you need to be in there and start earlier.”
Tillman said the aim is to publicize designers’ businesses, and give buyers a chance to place their orders. “We are trying to be as aggressive as our competitors, and to help British designers,” he said.
Designers using the site include Antonio Berardi, Anya Hindmarch, Burberry Prorsum, Erdem, House of Holland, Issa, Hussein Chalayan, Matthew Williamson, Stella McCartney, and Temperley.
In addition to the new showcase, Tillman said the BFC also plans to lobby for more time on the rtw collections calendar. London currently has five days for women’s shows, and one day for men’s shows.
“We’ve gotten bigger and we are still growing. We are quite an establishment now, and we need more time. We’d like to spread out a little, and give the press more time to join us,” he said, but declined to be more specific.
Tillman said he believes that watching live shows is crucial to understanding a collection. “People want to touch and feel. Without a show you lose the passion, the adrenaline. You need to be running around the world to see these shows,” he said.
Tillman said the BFC is already in talks with its counterparts in the U.S., France, and Italy about the London dates.