BFC Digital Mentoring

Above: The BFC's Peter Fitzgerald  at a digital mentoring day. Photographer: Shaun James Cox.


Digital innovation was celebrated at London Fashion Week as a schedule of more than 80 designers offered the international fashion world a glimpse of UK creativity.

The week included technical breakthroughs such as Twitter’s use of the “buy” button with Burberry and a tie-up between House of Holland and Metail that enabled consumers to try and buy clothes in real-time using a digital avatar.

Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council, said British designers were “pushing the boundaries of social and digital media to bring UK fashion to a wider audience.

The hi-tech focus reflects the growth among UK consumers of online browsing and buying of clothing and footwear, and the investment made by UK fashion designers in digital channels.

Digital and innovation is one of the five strategy pillars of the British Fashion Council (BFC) to grow UK fashion, and the organisation recently held an event to show designers involved in the week how they could exploit digital technologies.

Data released by the British Fashion Council during London Fashion Week (LFW) showed that the percentage of LFW designers with e-commerce sites had risen from 33% in February 2013 to 43% in September 2014.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson added: 'I am delighted to support British fashion, which continues to be at the forefront of innovation. London is developing a reputation as one of the tech capitals of the world, but it is already a global leader for fashion.

“From how our designers are working and presenting their collections, to the fast-paced dynamism of the retail sector, fashion is utilising the latest technologies to ensure this important industry continues to generate billions for our economy."

 Market research firm Mintel estimates that:

  •  Since 2013 UK sales of online fashion have increased by an impressive 14.5% to reach £10.7 billion in 2014.
  •  Online sales in the UK account for approximately 17% of total spending on clothing and footwear, up from 13% in 2011. They are forecast to reach £19bilion by 2019.
  • 20% of online shoppers in the UK purchased clothing via a tablet in the last 12 months

The London Fashion Week schedule included 58 catwalk shows and 24 presentations over five days. Over 170 UK and international emerging and established, ready-to-wear and accessory designers were involved in the Designer Showrooms at London Fashion Week.

Over 5,000 visitors were expected, including buyers, TV & radio crews, journalists and photographers. It is estimated that orders of over £100m are placed during London Fashion Week each season; the International Guest Programme alone generates over £65m of orders.