Design & Enterprise Day: Industry Talk: Alison Lowe, Felicities
Norwich entrepreneur Alison Lowe has her own specialist creative business and marketing company Felicities, teaches at London College of Fashion and has just launched a new initiative for up and coming fashion designers. For NFW Alison will talk about ‘Aspiration versus Reality in the Fashion Industry’ – a look at the changing fashion industry and what start up brands need to do to survive.
Tell us a bit about Felicities?
Felicities launched in Norwich in 2003. Originally it was set up as a networking business, but we quickly expanded into the fashion industry.
How did you make the move into fashion?
I fell into fashion. I was asked to do some fashion consultancy by a friend of a friend. I knew nothing about fashion, but had experience of business support and work on the creative side of developing a brand. I was quite upfront about my lack of experience in the fashion industry, so the designer said that I should go to London Fashion Week – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Your work with emerging fashion designers has earned you a place in the Maserati Top 100. This must be quite an honour…
Yes it is. It was a huge surprise. I still don’t know who nominated me, but it’s an honour to be part of a group of entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson and Julie Deane of the Cambridge Satchel Company.
You have just launched an initiative for up and coming fashion designers called Start Your Own Fashion Label. What’s this about?
It’s a spin off from the work we do with aspiring fashion designers. Individual designers require different resources in order for them to launch and develop their label in the marketplace, so Start Your Own Fashion Label is an online teaching tool with webnairs, podcasts and training guides that hopefully address what designers need.
What’s your advice to an aspiring fashion designer?
Don’t rush into starting your own label. Get as much experience as you can so that you understand how manufacturing, selling, retailing and promotion works. This will save you from making costly mistakes in the early stages of your business. Do lots of research and build your contacts first, as once you start your label and are producing collections each season there is very little time to seek other suppliers and you need a good support system around you.
Alison will be talking at the Norwich Fashion Week Design & Enterprise Day at OPEN, Bank Plain on Wednesday 15th March at 11.30am. Entry is free.