September is the best time of year when it comes to fashion, the cities of London, Milan and Paris all get together ready for the fashion highlights, with Iconic brands such as Dior, Gucci, Chanel and many more showcasing the very best within fashion.
As part of London Fashion Week this year Fashions Finest are celebrating their 10-year-anniversary. With the event being moved to Congress Hall, 28 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS earlier this year, where their SS Show will take place on the 14th of September 2019.
It has become one of the most sought-after independent showcases due to its vibrant and exciting atmosphere it is attracting press, buyers, VIP’s from fashion, film, TV, and music from around the world. The event is renowned for discovering and giving opportunities to new talent. The free beauty treatments available to visitors by Berkshire Beauty continue to be a draw for guests – sounds like the place to be for all fashionistas.
We had the honour to interview Deborah St Louis and this is what she had to say;
How are you finding your new location?
We remain excited about working with Congress Hall. The feedback from visitors has been surroundingly positive! We had a record number of wheel chair users and people of varying degree of disability who work in the fashion industry themselves and commented that there is still not enough consideration around access. They loved how easy it was to get around. It has a fresher, more spacious feel with everything being on one level making a lot of our production more efficient and smoother.
This industry is notoriously competitive, and Fashions Finest are celebrating its 10-year anniversary. How do you not only remain competitive but grow?
It’s not easy. It is a challenging environment as the UK is in headlock with Europe over Brexit. We have witness designers struggle to remain afloat, with some scaling back and others having seized to exist or stepped away from their brand to re-evaluate.
There are a lot of things we want to implement but I am not influenced when it is not financially viable at whatever stage we are at. It is more important than ever now to be frugal managing cashflow accordingly, without skimp on the elements that make our event successful. The risks I take are calculated and have to make sense for long-term growth.
Being a small to medium business means we are responsive quick to listen and quick to act. We have been very responsive to what works and what doesn’t. For example, we ventured to New York and hosted events there and while it went well, we quickly realised our timing was off. As of last year, we have expanded to Nigeria, which has been very successful, and the event is gaining momentum fast.
We have tried different strategies over the years and discard what doesn’t works and hold on and leverage on what does. There have been great ideas in the works that had to be put on the backburner, but we will revisit them when the time is right.
I have a core team that I rely on, which is important in this business.
We also make it a viable opportunity for emerging designers to be part of London Fashion Week with our price points. We understand how difficult it is to navigate this industry and build your brand. Our ethical approach in our way of working and pricing, is what have many designers returning over the years. We always had a slightly rebellious streak and have not always operated within the consensus of the fashion industry it meant we were doing things long before it became mainstream, so here we are.
Completing the first decade what notable changes have there been?
These are just general observations, but we are getting increasingly more international designers, members of the press and guests traveling in specifically for our event, including from the Middle East and particularly Asia.
It makes for a very exciting mix of designers and even more so the designs we witness on the catwalks. Of course, it potentially means more opportunity and exposure for our showcasing brands. So, we are actively looking to build on our profile internationally.
Fashions Finest was built on the cornerstones of sustainability, diversity and inclusivity were part of our foundation. And this is where I see another notable difference. This now seems to have become an industry wide trend, but I am hoping it will be more than a trend and that it becomes the fabric of the UK fashion industry. There are some companies that are taking it serious like our partners Fashion Capital / Fashion Enter hence why our partnership happened quite organically. It is a positive move, but we got to remain consistent and it is a process for all of us.