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Harold Tillman calls for more support for creative talent

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courtesy of Harold Tillman by Alistair Guy

Harold Tillman, the British Fashion Council’s longest-serving chairman from 2008 to 2014 and the previous owner of fashion retailer Jaeger, is calling on the government to “save the bright, young minds” of our creative industry.

The pandemic has hit the world of fashion, design and creative arts hard, especially those in higher education, expresses Tillman. With unprecedented learning disruptions over the past 12 months and what he calls a “scandal” from the UK and EU failing to resolve the plight of the new post-Brexit visa and work-permit arrangements for UK creatives, to allow creative professionals to work freely in Europe upon graduating.

As one of the fashion industry’s leading voices, Tillman is calling on the government to “invest in, and not squander, the bright, creative minds of the classes of 2021/2022,” in relation to his new role as London College of Fashion’s enterprise and business advisor, to support the next generation as they make the challenging transition into the working world.

Tillman states that the higher education system is currently absorbing the difficulties faced by our young, due to the pandemic induced barren jobs market, while at the same time the government is making savage cuts to London higher education institutions budgets.

“All the indications are, that many of our young people are extending their education further, not only as shown in this year’s intake (2020/2021), but particularly for the coming year (2021/2022), rather than confronting a barren jobs market,” explains Tillman. “This means that our higher education system is absorbing the shock of the difficulties faced by our young, while at the same time the government is making savage cuts to our budgets. At this challenging time, we owe it to the next generation of our bright, creative minds to do what we can for them in a way which adds value to their ‘intellectual capital’ and goes towards compensating for the exam disruption over the past year, and the sustained interference with their education.”

Harold Tillman discusses higher education, Brexit, the pandemic and digital fashion weeks

To ensure that the government realises the value of the creative industries, the fastest-growing part of the UK economy, which Tillman believes have been “overlooked” during the pandemic, he spoke to FashionUnited over e-mail to discuss how to support the next generation of talent, the difficulties being faced by Brexit, and how fashion and retail can move forward.

You are calling on the Government to “invest in, and not squander, the bright, creative minds of the classes of 2021/2022,” what would you like to see being done to support the next generation of talent?

Harold Tillman: We need to encourage and support interest for young people who want a take up creative courses and work in the creative industries. Creativity is such a core feature of our country’s charm and brilliance, and it’s something that Great Britain has always been respected for. We only need to look at the influence and respect that comes with our cultural institutions like the V&A and The Globe to see the vitally important role that creatives and creativity play in our society.

Importantly, I think the Government needs to provide proportionate funding to higher educational establishments which recognise the additional costs of many of the creative industries’ education skills. The fashion and creative industries are huge contributors towards economic growth, and this must not be overlooked. If we successfully support the young who are looking to pursue careers in this space, it will represent the best investment our country can make towards its future.

Fashion creatives have been hit hard by Brexit – do you feel that the government has failed the creative industry?

Covid is sadly an excuse that has got in the way of a lot of things, including Brexit. The fashion and creative industry have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic, and the current Brexit talks, or lack of, for creatives are certainly not helping.

In addition to the custom charges and problems with visas for creatives, the Government’s decision to scrap tax-free shopping for non-EU visitors at the end of the Brexit transition phase presents a real danger that international visitors could be deterred from spending in the UK and go elsewhere to buy high-value luxury goods.

Covid has clearly taken priority, but I hope that over the next few months, Brexit talks regarding the creative industry will be revisited.

How do you think the fashion industry can help ensure that students are not deterred from taking up creative courses?

We must remind and reiterate that there’s a great future after studying creative courses in the UK and the rest of the world. In the UK, we have the world’s best fashion colleges and I was fortunate to have studied at the London College of Fashion. The College trains people up to become the ‘best of the best’ that go on to have fantastic, bright and rewarding futures.

In my new role as London College of Fashion’s enterprise and business advisor, I am working with the College’s business school and helping students make the transition into the working world.

The last 12-months have been challenging for international fashion weeks, as a former British Fashion Council chairman, what would you like to see from the BFC in supporting emerging designers? Do you feel enough is being done?

Fashion Weeks are a ‘people facing operation’ – there’s no difference to being at theatres or cinemas, where the whole modus operandi is communication. The digital Fashion Weeks have been different this year, but Fashion Weeks were starting to move part digital anyway. Covid has only accelerated this process and shown the resilience of businesses and designers who have adapted so they can continue to operate in the current digital-focused world.

That said, I think there will always be the need for a physical fashion presence and the British Fashion Council are as well equipped as anyone to bring it back as soon as possible, so we can continue to see and support more emerging designers’ and their work in the flesh.

Are you a fan of digital fashion weeks?

I’m indifferent, although I wouldn’t like Fashion Weeks to be only digital – I think we would lose a huge element of what fashion is all about.

Do you still believe that London’s designers are a global force? Or does more need to be done to promote British fashion?

When I started my position as chairman of the British Fashion Council, London was pretty weak on the global calendar as the destination to visit by buyers and the media. During my term, we upped our game dramatically and became the number one fashion destination to visit in the world. This comes back to us providing quality education for new designers – something which is continuing today, meaning that London automatically nurtures new emerging designers. We’ve got it and we will always continue to produce the best.

You famously gave Paul Smith his first job – are there any fashion talents on your radar at the moment that you feel are ‘ones to watch’?

There is so much fantastic talent which is emerging – I feel it would be unfair to name a name! It’s great to see that even despite Covid, new and exciting designers are continuing to arrive on the scene.

As a previous owner of Jaeger, the high street has been hit terribly by Covid-19, with many retailers set to disappear for good – do you still think that bricks and mortar shops have a place?

Bricks and mortar have a place, but there is a place for them. Harrogate and other tourist attractive cities, as well as destinations of London will always be great retail destinations. I also believe that shops within multi-use shopping centres, which are home to restaurants and cinemas as well, will stay strong as they can benefit from a lot of passing trade.

However, it is vital that bricks and mortar shops recognise and adapt to the new norm. Retailers that offer an exclusive, superior experience will be able to draw people out of their homes in a post-Covid world and compete with the booming online market.

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Womenswear SS22 color trends

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Womenswear SS22 color trends

Colour is key for consumers and SS22 saw fresh palettes that echoed the renewed sense of optimism happening amongst consumers. Soft eco influences, gender-fluid nostalgia and vibrant combinations bursting with positivity sought to reflect broader societal trends whilst still capturing the season’s playful mood.

Trendstop brings FashionUnited readers a first look at the key womenswear colour inspirations emerging on the Spring Summer 2022 catwalks.

Dry Leaf

Dry Leaf sees vintage influences meeting eco outlooks. A beautiful, natural colourway, it illustrates the importance of colour transeasonality. An innovative, emerging yet simultaneously timeless shade of green, Dry Leaf speaks to consumer desire for longevity and versatility and encompasses both feminine and masculine traits. In its merging of seasons and notions of gender, the colour is indicative of the cultural and mindset shifts happening across global society.

Womenswear SS22 color trends

Boyhood Blues

Boyhood Blues, shades often worn by boys in childhood, offer a more playful interpretation on a classic tone, with a touch of nostalgia underpinning the palette. Adopting traditionally boyish tones for womenswear reflects the move towards gender-neutral dressing. As trends begin to move more slowly and transeasonality increases in importance, vibrant spring-like shades transcend the seasons and work equally well into Fall.

Womenswear SS22 color trends

Playful Optimism

A key colour grouping for SS22, playful Optimism with its heightened sense of colour expression reflects the sense of joy entering the market as consumers gain more positive outlooks for the future. Though hues are vivid there is still a high level of curation, intelligence and thoughtfulness put into colour combinations. Although the palette is fun, it is not frivolous, maintaining the artfulness of the designs.

Womenswear SS22 color trends

Exclusive Offer:

FashionUnited readers can get free access to Trendstop’s Spring Summer 2021 Key Colour Directions Report. Simply click the banner to receive your free report.

Womenswear SS22 color trends

Trendstop.com is one of the world’s leading trend forecasting agencies for fashion and creative professionals, renowned for its insightful trend analysis and forecasts. Clients include H&M, Primark, Forever 21, Zalando, Geox, Evisu, Hugo Boss, L’Oreal and MTV.

AUTHOR: AFP

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Video: Sarah Nouri SS22 collection

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Video: Sarah Nouri SS22 collection

In this video, fashion label Sareh Nouri has presented its SS22
collection at New York Bridal Fashion Week (NYFW).

Watch the video below.

Do you want to see more clothing collections? Click here to view the FashionUnited Marketplace.

Video: VRAI Magazine via YouTube

Photo credit: VRAI Magazine, YouTube

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VF posts revenue and earnings growth, raises outlook

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Image: Supreme

Revenue at VF Corporation increased 23 percent or 21 percent in constant dollars to 3.2 billion dollars. Excluding the impact of acquisitions, the company said in a release, revenue increased 19 percent or 17 percent in constant dollars, driven by the EMEA and North American regions, which experienced a negative impact from Covid-19 in the prior year period.

VF’s wholesale business continues to be materially impacted by the timing of shipments due to port delays and logistics challenges.

“While the recovery has been impacted by further pandemic-related disruptions, we continue to see accelerating demand signals across our business, and our ability to reaffirm our fiscal 2022 revenue and earnings outlook is a clear testament to the resiliency and optionality of our model,” said Steve Rendle, VF’s chairman, president and CEO.

VF reports earnings growth in Q2

Gross margin for the quarter increased 290 basis points to 53.7 percent, and on an adjusted basis, gross margin increased 300 basis points, including a 20 basis point positive impact from acquisitions, to 53.9 percent.

Operating income on a reported basis was 558 million dollars and on an adjusted basis, operating income increased 56 percent or 53 percent in constant dollars to 534 million dollars, including an 8 million dollars contribution from acquisitions. Operating margin on a reported basis was 17.5 percent, while adjusted operating margin increased 360 basis points, including a 30 basis point negative impact from acquisitions, to 16.7 percent.

The company added that earnings per share were 1.18 dollars on a reported basis and on an adjusted basis, earnings per share increased 66 percent or 63 percent in constant dollars to 1.11 dollars, including a 2 cents contribution from acquisitions.

VF raises full year outlook, expects 30 percent revenue growth

VF added that for the full year revenue is expected to be approximately 12 billion dollars, reflecting growth of around 30 percent, including an approximate 600 million dollars contribution from the Supreme brand.

By segment, revenue for outdoor is now expected to increase between 25 percent and 27 percent versus the previous expectation of a 24 to 26 percent increase; revenue for active is now expected to increase between 35 percent and 37 percent versus the previous expectation of a 37 to 39 percent increase; revenue for work is now expected to increase between 19 and 21 percent versus the previous expectation of a 16 to 18 percent increase. International revenue is expected to increase between 24 percent and 26 percent.
By geographic region, in the EMEA region, revenue is expected to increase between 30 percent and 32 percent. In the Asia Pacific region, revenue is expected to increase between 12 percent and 14 percent. And, in the Americas (non-U.S.) region, revenue is expected to increase between 30 percent and 32 percent.

Direct-to-consumer revenue is now expected to increase between 34 percent and 36 percent versus the previous expectation of 39 percent and 41 percent, including Digital revenue growth of about 20 percent versus the previous expectation of 29 and 31 percent.

Adjusted gross margin is expected to be around 56 percent, which represents an estimated increase of around 270 basis points. Adjusted operating margin is expected to increase around 500 basis points to around 13 percent. VF further said that adjusted earnings per share is expected to be around 3.20 dollars, including an approximate 25 cents contribution from the Supreme brand.

VF’s board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 50 cents per share, payable on December 20, 2021, to shareholders of record on December 10, 2021.

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