Is London Fashion Making a Much-Needed Shift Toward Commerce? – New York Magazine
The city draws talent from all over the world: think of Mary Katrantzou, who hails from Greece; Ashish Gupta, from India; the duo behind Ostwald Helgason, who are from Iceland and Germany; Eudon Choi, of South Korea; and David Koma, who grew up in Georgia and Russia. There’s a reason they all elected to settle in the Big Smoke, and it’s not the weather. Central Saint Martins is one of the best fashion schools in the world, and attracts plenty of A+ talent. The British tradition of eccentricity energizes designers to try new, sometimes wacky, things. The British Fashion Council and Topshop both provide amazing opportunities for young labels — the BFC has partnered with Farfetch in the past, and Topshop has recruited Gupta, Katrantzou, and scores of others for collabs. But the focus has historically been either at the very high end, where it’s tough for those experimental types to actually break out commercially, or on the low end — in the form of ephemeral high-street collaborations that provide an injection of cash and notoriety but are a temporary fix. Some lucky young’uns have scored jobs with major luxury houses, like J.W. Anderson at Loewe and Koma at Mugler. But most aren’t so fortunate, and fashion is a tough business anywhere, even in the seemingly paradisal city.