In one extremely busy and fascinating week our 20 Fashion and Design YCE winners from all over the world came together in London to make the most of a programme packed with cutting-edge ideas, fashion icons and exclusive events!
Coinciding with both London Fashion Week and London Design Festival, the YCE Awards gave the young entrepreneurs from 16 countries an opportunity to mix with leading UK creative professionals and to develop their business horizons, with professional advise from those in the know.
Highlights from the week included a master class with Sir Paul Smith, talks from Marcus Fairs (Editor-in-chief, Dezeen), Chris Sanderson (Co-Founder, The Future Laboratory) and Christine Foden (Creative Director, D-ciper FM), and a trip to Tom Dixon Studios (which you can find more about here).
Besides having direct access to high-profile creative industry figures, the YCEs seemed glad to be able to share the experience with other entrepreneurs in a similar position to them. Olga Kosica, a jewellery designer and YCE winner in Slovenia –
‘It was an amazing group and we connected really well. I think the UK is a great market but to meet people who are doing their work in other countries, fields and markets is also really great!’
On the first day of the tour, each YCE made a short presentation to their fellow entrepreneurs at the British Council offices. This gave the group a chance to bond, discuss and circulate their ideas with each other, all working in the same industries but coming from different backgrounds and managing diverse interests.
With business cards exchanged, experiences shared and discussions well underway, the group were led through the rest of the week by programme leaders Sally Denton (for fashion) and Antonia Halse (for design).
The first two days’ activities were programmed for both groups with more specific fashion and design activities scheduled in the final two days. Whilst there was a lot to absorb in one week, the opportunity to attend exclusive meetings, talks and site visits in such a short space of time had its advantages. Artem Kulagin, a contemporary fashion designer and YCE winner in Russia -
‘I have lots of business and lots of art projects and I cannot leave for a very long time… Due to the British Council and this programme I have met so many interesting people that I’m sure will help me in the future… I managed to get lots of inspiration from the events – all spheres were covered by the seminars and lectures’.
During the first joint day of activity, and the most learning-intensive phase of the tour, our YCEs travelled east to the The Future Laboratory - a consultancy for trend forecasting, brand strategy and consumer insight that helps organisations think strategically about their future. Here they received a full day of seminars on branding, new business models, online publishing and online trading from speakers expert in various aspects of the creative industries.
Chris Sanderson (Co-Founder / Strategy Director at The Future Laboratory) gave an invigorating opening talk on 'the anarchonomy decade' (anarchy and economy) and diagnosed that now is indeed a great time to be an entrepreneur!
Talks from Toby Egelnick (Egelnick and Webb) and Marcus Fairs (Dezeen) followed, exploring issues of branding, online publishing and the potential for strong and innovative SME development in the current climate. These were complimented in the afternoon with further insights from Tracy Dorée (Fab UK), Lucy Norris (Pret-a-rever), Joanna Wiggins (ASOS), Nicolas Roope (Hulger/Plumen), Elena Corchero (Lost Values), Farid Haque (Haque & Co), and Nikhil Hirdaramani (Sri Lanka Design Festival).
Isoken Ogiemwonyi, YCE winner in Nigeria and fashion entrepreneur -
‘It’s been really rewarding and I’m really happy with what I’ve learned… [These seminars] are helping me to think about different ways of expanding our business and changing the way we think’.
With the weekend came the opportunity to explore London’s various creative hubs in Shoreditch, Spitalfields and Dalston, as well as other innovative and iconic stores in the West End.
On Monday, for the group’s final joint venture of the tour, there were visits to Material Lab and Mode Information, where Christine Foden (Creative Director at D-Cipher FM) discussed her work in deciphering the future of colour, design and style. Then came a special tour with Paul Smith, where the man himself showed the YCEs around his studio and answered questions on his entrepreneurial journey and views on the fashion business today.
A well-earned tipple and a technology class at Tom Dixon Studios concluded a show-stopping first half of the week.
*** Blogs & Interviews
You can find more images from the week on Flickr...