Exporting British fashion
London's new fashion expert calls for a wider trend in overseas sales, and says there's never been a better time to export
As the fashion world descends on London for Fashion Week, a new expert has been appointed to help London firms profit from lucrative overseas sales. Jim Pickles is the latest adviser to be taken on by UK Trade & Investment London (UKTI), London's branch of the government's export department. Jim will work alongside a dynamic national team which boasts more than thirty years of specialist experience. The team works with high profile partners such as the British Fashion Council, UK Fashion and Textiles and the British Footwear Association to provide support through trade events as well as grants for international tradeshows.
Jim knows the challenges and opportunities for this industry, having run his own premium menswear brand for five years. Jim exported to key textile and apparel markets across the US, Japan, Scandinavia and Russia. He explains: "Having worked in this fast-paced and constantly evolving industry, I appreciate that London Fashion Week has always offered a globally acknowledged platform for young designers to get noticed and grow their business both domestically and overseas.
"British designs are in real demand, particularly in Asia," he continues. "In high-growth markets like South Korea and China consumers just can't get enough of London and British fashion, so there's never been a better time to export"
He continues: "The combined value of UK textiles and apparel exports is £7.3bn and this is largely down to the universal appeal of Britain's high quality branding, rich textile heritage and the tireless innovation of well-schooled British designers. The schemes UKTI offer, together with our specialist support and industry experience, can provide companies with a robust export plan. We can help research markets, work locally to find business leads and help give any advice and tips on local business culture and etiquette. For example, when accepting a Japanese business card you should do so with both hands, politely bow and then place it neatly on the meeting table in front of you. Never put it straight into your back pocket."
UKTI's brief is to help UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, in British embassies overseas, and other diplomatic offices around the world. UKTI provides companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage.
Jim concludes: "British fashion is one of the most creative in the world and is always ahead of game. Therefore your export plan needs to match this. With UKTI's help and support, your business can grow and target those lucrative markets with a high demand for British products."
UKTI's London regional team is dedicated to increasing the competitiveness of SMEs in the capital through international sales development. A team of International Trade Advisers, part-financed by the European Union, delivers tailored help to businesses who are either exporting for the first time or looking to enter new markets.
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