Last week saw the Shopping & Style team venture to Facebook HQ for an evening of fashion talks hosted by UKFT Rise. I wasn’t familiar with the organisation (UKFT Rise that is – not Facebook; I haven’t been living under a rock) so I was rather curious to see what they were all about.
The evening was marketed as a ‘networking event’ (a vaguely terrifying prospect on paper) but turned out to be a great mix of talks, Q&As and some excellent mingling with some interesting people.
Once we were all settled on a comfy sofa in the vast expanse of Facebook’s Covent Garden offices, the talks were kicked off by Head of Fashion, Luxury and Retail for Facebook, Tracy Yaverbaun, who spoke about the importance of partnerships.
Next was the CEO of Austin Reed, Nick Hollingworth, speaking about the more traditional side of fashion retail and the impact of the recession.
To finish was designer Christopher Raeburn whose self-deprecating manner and constant reminders to us all that he is always ‘completely broke’ were charming and funny and a crowd of aspiring young designers formed around him the second he’d uttered his final word.
Eager to find out more about UKFT Rise I spoke to some of the committee, who told me the organisation was set up by the Fashion and Textile Association and is run by a team of under 35s working across fashion. The team put on talks throughout the year in London and offer membership for free access to events and other opportunities – perfect if you’re setting up your own fashion business or trying to get into fashion. We met stylists, buyers, models and designers, and business cards were flying around all over the place – this is a must for anyone wanting to break into the industry.