Darren Black for Femina Magazine
9 October 2018
by Niamh Tuft
The first fashion incubator was founded in Toronto in 1987. In the 3 decades that have followed fashion incubators and business support initiatives have been established across the globe. While there is no comprehensive overview of existing incubators in the fashion sector the International Fashion Incubator Network (established in Perth, Australia in 2010 but no longer active) had 150 members in 2012 and in 2014 a report by Creativeworks London identified 21 initiatives in London alone. These initiatives apply the principals of business incubation - which provides resources, experience and networks to start-up businesses to increase their viability and potential for growth – to new fashion businesses.
However, as fashion businesses adapt to new models of retail and production, embrace new technologies and develop alternative business models the landscape of fashion business support is also shifting.
Since 2011 the British Council have been working with UK and international partners on a series of projects which aim to support fashion start-ups through business development activities. In 2018 we commissioned Jan Miller to write a research report to assess the current provision of business development support to fashion businesses in the UK including the key typologies of this support. The aim of this research was to identify opportunities for UK business support initiatives to exchange knowledge and expertise globally and identify how our Fashion DNA programme could evolve to support this.
An Executive Summary of the research is available here.