Michael Ward, the managing director of Harrods and a board member at Walpole, has been named to a second term as president of ECCIA, the European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance. The alliance, an umbrella organization for five national luxury groups including Walpole, Fondazione Altagamma and Comité Colbert, voted unanimously for Ward’s second term. The five bodies represent more than 400 luxury brands and cultural institutions.
Earlier this week, Walpole announced its Brands of Tomorrow mentorship program for emerging labels. Among this year’s 15 winners are the designer Emilia Wickstead, who will be mentored by Jim Sharp, partner and co-founder of Sirius Equity; the London brand House of Hackney, which will be working with Jonathan Heilbron, president and chief executive officer of Thomas Pink; and the footwear company Bionda Castana, which will be partnering with Ward.
Other winners include Mulo, Ltd, a footwear brand, which will be working with Martin Bartle, founder of Arthur Ridley Esq, and Marwood, which makes ties and accessories. The latter will be mentored by Sarah Elton, chair of Debretts. “Essentially they have a mentor but they have access to a pool of experts who can help them in pretty much everything that they do,” Michelle Emmerson, chief executive of Walpole, told WWD. “In a very short space of time, they’re able to open up networks and opportunities that would ordinarily have taken them a long time to do on their own.”
Emmerson said she believes there is a big appetite for new British luxury labels at the moment. “We are seeing the trend change, especially with the Chinese consumer, who’s becoming more discerning. It’s less about the big luxury brands with emblazoned glitzy logos, and more about understanding the story behind the making, the craftsmanship, the quality, the sustainability of that product. So we’ve been encouraging the brands from the very beginning to be thinking about those core values….We need them to demonstrate that and promote that and tell that story, because it’s the story that the customer really relates to.”