FASHION’S LEADERS HOLD COLLABORATIVE CONFERENCE WITH ‘THE INDUSTRY’

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Photos from “The Industry” events London

Leaders in the fashion world now find collaborative solidarity in The Industry, London’s premier private networking group for fashion. This comes after six years of regular meetings involving fashion’s most influential players, meeting regularly in just about any space they could find in London.

The group now meets quarterly in the upstairs lounge of SWAROVSKI CRYSTALLIZED in London’s main retail district, and its mission is to create and evolve a community of global fashion professionals by providing a platform of innovative experiences and powerful collaborations. Master classes are also put on twice per year at the V&A Reading Rooms to discuss topics including intellectual property, updates in human resources, design rights and return on investment for creative assets like films.

“I wanted a professional, but comfortable environment for those working in fashion to come together to talk about the highs and lows of the business. It’s one of the most challenging industries to succeed in. I wanted to see people working together and learning from and being inspired by each other and by those doing it best,” says The Industry’s Managing Director Courtney Blackman.

The Industry is under the direction of renowned fashion entrepreneur Courtney Blackman and the advisory panel is made up of select group of powerhouses including: Paris-based Designer, Illustrator and Author, Daisy de Villeneuve; VOGUE.COM UK’S Editor, Dolly Jones; fashion business expert, Frances Card; WGSN’s Lauretta Roberts; Bally’s Creative Director, Michael Herz; Fashion Director and Stylist, Rebekah Roy and probably the world’s most famous Retail Consultant, Creative Director and Trend Forecaster, Yasmin Sewell.

“I hope to bring in new members and create relationships and synergy with other fashion organizations. It’s important for professionals to have a community and being a freelancer can be quite lonely. The Industry really creates a very friendly professional fashion community,” says advisor Rebekah Roy.

Bringing in the cream of the fashion crop to be interviewed live—normally by one of the group’s esteemed advisors, The Industry has seen the likes of Alexandra Shulman, Editor of British Vogue; Harold Tillman, Chairman of the British Fashion Council; Founder and Creative Director of my-wardrobe.com, Sarah Curran; fashion designers Markus Lupfer and Jonathan Saunders; model and writer, Laura Bailey; W Magazine’s Edward Enninful; singer, songwriter and style icon, Kate Nash; Donna Ida Thornton, Founder of the world famous denim empire, Donna Ida; Founder of the Business of Fashion, Imran Amed; Founder & CEO of Matches, Tom Chapman and one of the most photographed women in fashion, TANK’s Fashion Director, Caroline Issa.

Through these rare and exclusive interactions The Industry aims to unite those working in fashion to share ideas and work together toward shaping fashion’s future. “The Industry has so many inspiring and talented members, I feel very humbled to be part of such a group.” Industry member and fashion designer Vanessa Knox. Industry member and business manager of fashion logistics company Amethyst Group, Claire Muir adds, “I am eager to make friends with other members, to understand their roles and the strategies behind a range of fashion companies in an effort to keep my finger on the pulse. I also hope to be a source of support and advise on any logistics matters if anyone might need it.”

All of the meetings are business-focused and they are filmed by The Industry’s film partner, A Pale Horse. Highlights of the meetings are then shared with the greater fashion community via IND-TV on its own website, on VOGUE.COM UK and other select media.

To the outside observer – it has a lot of followers on its social media outlets – it would seem a tough group to get into, but it is not elitist in the slightest. Anyone who is currently employed in fashion and has a minimum of two years working in fashion is welcome to apply for membership.

“Working in fashion can be very solitary and insular”, continues Courtney. “Often a designer, a photographer, a blogger or a stylist is a one-man band, working by themselves. Having a place to go regularly and meet people that are in the same industry and perhaps the same singular work arrangement is really important. Also, we’re all so hyper-connected digitally, we often forget the importance of seeing each other and interacting face-to-face.”

Who are some of the members? Fashion Director of Harrods, Marigay McKee; renowned London Fashion Week designer, Corrie Nielsen; Founder & Creative Director of my-wardrobe.com, Sarah Curran; the Editor-in-Chief of PHOENIX magazine, Hannah Kane; the Managing Director of globally stocked cashmere company N.PEAL, Adam Holdsworth; Liberty’s Market Manager, Hollie Maddox; Jaime Cooke, the Managing Director of global footwear brand MUKS; jewellery designer Maria Lau; the Fashion Features Editor of VOGUE.COM UK, Jessica Bumpus; bloggers Sasha Wilkins of Liberty London Girl and Navaz Batliwalla of Disney Roller Girl; Partner of fashion-focused law firm, Taheer Bashir; Managing Director of Matthew Williamson, Joseph Velosa and design duo Annette and Daniella Felder of Felder Felder, to name but a few.

“I feel lucky to be a part of such a unique network of people and have found it invaluable for my label. There are all these amazing, incredibly achieving people within our industry. Sometimes it’s a bit daunting seeing them all in one place, but everyone is so nice and open at the meetings. Also knowing that everyone has been vetted makes it feel like a very safe place to contact and engage people to work with me in my business.” Corrie Nielsen, fashion designer.

The Industry is indeed a space for members to foster relationships and work together. Fashion GPS’s UK Managing Director, Gillian Harding-Moore says, “Fashion GPS is working closely with Industry member Hannah White from Fashion Monitor on some great initiatives they’re launching in 2012/13. We have also been working with Industry member Martyn Roberts as a partner of Graduate Fashion Week, providing registration to the event and industry check-in at the entrance. We also worked with Martyn for Vauxhall Fashion Scout last season.”

Aside from the meetings, The Industry has a digital space called Industry Intelligence that shares members’ news and keeps members up to date with happenings industry-wide including new regulations for staffing, how to set up a pop-up-shop and tips to break into emerging markets. The Industry’s online Directory is like a digital Rolodex to ease communication and business flow amongst the membership base.

The jewel in the crown: the quarterly meetings, are relaxed and friendly, with music piped in by The Industry’s house DJ, Disastronaut; inventive food supplied by guest catering companies like Nomad Food & Design…and, in keeping with fashion, the odd glass of bubby.

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