When I ask new and established designers alike what the biggest challenges for launching a fashion brand are, they time and time again cite the business side. As an industry, fashion still woefully undermines its new talent by failing to help them learn the skills they need to make savvy choices and grow their label from creative premise to functioning enterprise.
It was a trend that Katie Rose, founder of The Bridge Co., identified when she founded her 360° creative fashion agency a few years ago. A fairly prodigious talent herself, she identified a gap in the market that the existing PR firms and branding agencies were failing to fill. While initiatives such as NEWGEN and Fashion East give new designers a platform to showcase their work, there was no-one helping young labels to capitalise on media buzz and monetise their vision. ‘So many designers and other creatives that I meet don’t feel comfortable or engaged thinking about the commercial side of their business,’ she says. ‘We want to show that it’s possible to have fun with it, and actually the balance between thinking creatively and commercially is where fun and success lie.’
Thus, The Bridge Co. has made a name for itself by launching exciting new talent into the mainstream, with recent examples including Estonian-born Roberta Einer and artist and designer Claire Barrow, as well as established talent such as Teatum Jones. And now, faced with the UK’s increasingly unstable future, The Bridge Co. are opening up their expertise throughout a four-day event in East London.
Focusing on the theme of creativity versus commerce, ‘FYI The House Party’ will host a range of talks, workshops and discussions as well as a pop-up store. Each day will focus on a new themes, with highlights including ‘How to get a job or start a business in a post-Brexit Britain as an expat’ and expert advice on how to stay sane as a freelancer. Guest speakers promise to bring a wealth of expertise from across the industry, from AnOther Magazine’s Sophie McElligott to Ellie Lancaster-Smith, HR Director EMEA at VICE to NOWNESS’s Joseph Delaney, and many more.
The pop-up shop will play host to the likes of denim brand I AND ME, Draw Haus and the Copenhagen Candle Lab as well as collaborations between menswear designer Liam Hodges and Ditto Press. Attendees can also unwind with yoga and drawing workshops, or try their hand at baking – yes, you read that correctly. After all, creativity is transient, but carbs are for life.
In short, if you’re looking to get into the fashion industry, or if you’re in it and need some smart advice on what to do next, then head over to FYI, The House Party to get the skills and connections you need to take the next steps.
FYI The House Party takes place from May 12–15, 2017. Buy tickets here.