The Facebook London office had quite a fashion moment when Alexandra Shulman, Editor of British Vogue magazine, attended the UKFT Rise event.
Ms Shulman, along with UKFT Rise newcomer and award-winner Emma Shipley, were called upon to speak at the UK Fashion and Textile Association’s fourth Rise event last week to inspire the next generation of fashion leaders.
Established only last year, UKFT Rise is a network for up and coming people working in the fashion and textile industry. The event was held in the London Facebook offices where audience members were treated to English prosecco and nibbles before the talks began.
It was a pivotal moment for most people in the audience to hear Alexandra Shulman cover a wide range of topics, from her career in journalism to the increasing growth and importance of London as a fashion capital.
It may have shocked some people to have learned that before she was appointed Editor of Vogue, Alexandra knew very little about fashion. ‘People think I’m making it up but it’s perfectly true that I did not realise that there were fashion collections twice a year and Fashion Weeks in New York and Paris.’ She had never been on a fashion shoot.
What made her the right material to be editor at Vogue then? ‘I was a very good journalist and I am good at hiring people,’ she says in a matter of fact way. She’s certainly right. Under her 21 years of editorial guidance, Vogue has become the successful magazine it is today, with more features as well as fashion spreads.
Now Vogue has a website, app and trending Twitter hashtag (#todayimwearing). Does this mean Vogue’s print editions are going to die out as so many other magazines have done? No, says Ms Shulman. The evolution of digital should not be seen as a threat but an opportunity.
For Ms Shulman, digital will never be able to replicate the ‘luxury’ of holding a Vogue magazine in your hands. She affirms her commitment to print saying, ‘I hope print does not die out before I do.’
Ms Shulman moved on to talk about how fast the fashion industry is changing and the growth of London as the world’s fashion capital. International brands are fighting to gain the smallest space in order to get into London. The high street has done wonders to draw in tourists. People look to London for the next trend and the new talent.
Also speaking was scarf designer Emma J Shipley, who won the hotel indigo UKFT Rise newcomer award earlier this year. She talked about how she set up her own luxury fashion brand and the brands she’s worked with including M&S, Anthropologie, Osborne & Little and Nicholas Kirkwood.
Her future aspirations include breaking into the Middle East market. ‘Because of the Islamic religion, animal prints aren’t allowed on scarves,’ she says. ‘I’d like to explore that side of the world’s fashion culture to see if there’s a way to adapt some of my designs.’
The Rise events are open to under 35-year-olds working in the fashion industry and provide an opportunity to meet, mix and get inspired. Become a member here.